Athletes in the NFL, NHL, NBA, and UFC are using CBD, why? They use cannabidiol to help them recover faster between workouts and faster recovery means they are back into the gym to continue training.
Benefits of CBD for muscle recovery:
CBD is one of the 100 active ingredients found in cannabis plant. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) CBD is a non-psychoactive compound that does not cause its user “high.” Most of the CBD companies derive cannabidiol from hemp which is the same species as marijuana but does not produce more than the trace amounts of THC.
CBD has a variety of benefits and many of them are backed up by scientific studies and anecdotal evidence. CBD products are being used to alleviate cancer related symptoms, seizures, inflammation, and many many more. Some studies suggest that CBD may help treat anxiety, epilepsy, insomnia, chronic pain, and common heart ailments.
CBD is said to have the ability to interact with a regulatory system instead of affecting one specific organ. This allows cannabidiol to affect many organs directly and indirectly including the muscular system.
Endocannabinoid system (ECS) is common in all mammals and it is responsible for keeping the body in homeostasis or in balance. Everything in the body from temperature to hormone levels need to remain in balance or within a specific range. CBD does not stimulate the ECS but helps up-regulate the system we already have in place.
In this part of the article we are going to discuss briefly how CBD can help with muscle recovery.
The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD play a vital role in the process of muscle recovery. Applying ice to the affected area is one of the most common methods of reducing inflammation. There’s some debate around this method. While some studies suggest applying ice may improve recovery time , other studies found that icing offers no benefits .
The role of inflammation during the recovery process is still a confusing fact.
The process of inflammation helps muscle fibers recover. Moreover, it brings blood flow to the area delivering nutrients and oxygen along with it. Consequently the increased blood flow clears out the cellular debris, damaged proteins, and byproducts (lactic acid) of muscle contraction from the area. On the other hand, Inflammation encourages satellite cells in the muscle to turn into new muscle fibers.
However, sometimes inflammatory process may affect larger groups of muscles and joints that have not been affected. This may cause collateral damage to these regions and lead to a slower recovery process.
This is a reason why athletes use anti-inflammatory medications like Aspirin and Ibuprofen or ice after workout or injury. Alleviating inflammation limits damage caused to nearby muscles and joints.
So what does CBD do? CBD offers something even better. CBD may be able to reduce unhelpful inflammation without compromising its benefits towards the recovery process.
IL-10, TGF-β, TNF-α, and NF-κB are known as inflammatory markers. They are thought to stimulate the stem cells after an injury that leads to faster recovery. CBD has been found to restrain inflammatory molecules. On the other hand, cannabidiol has a little effect on reducing IL-10 & TGF-β.
However, some studies suggest, CBD has been found to increase IL-10  and its role in the activation of new muscle cell differentiation may have a big impact on the muscle recovery process.
This explains how CBD works for alleviating inflammation in the muscle tissue without affecting the recovery times.
Muscle tension is one of the characteristic symptoms of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). When it comes to injury, muscle tension worsens the situation and increases pain in the affected area. This is why muscle relaxants are popular for diminishing pain during recovery from exercise or injuries.
Muscle relaxants work through the gamma-aminobutyric acid also known as GABA receptors which are the key regulator of muscle relaxants . Muscle relaxant medication like Benzodiazepines are powerful medications that may cause adverse effects  and even addiction to the drug.
Cannabinoids like CBD have the same effect as Benzodiazepines on GABA. But CBD is said to have a few (if any) side effects. Therefore, cannabidiol may work as a muscle relaxant following an injury or workouts.
Some anecdotal and scientific research suggest that CBD may work as a powerful pain killer. This allows CBD to be used as a symptomatic support for muscle injuries and post workout recovery.
The three main mechanism by which CBD is thought to stop pain are:
When we sleep, most of the recovery processes become active. Some of the important processes that take place while we sleep are:
Lack of sleep can cause negative effects on the recovery process in a few areas including:
A combination of CBD and THC has been tested to find out its effect on sleep. Researchers concluded that the combination improved overall quality of sleep and the duration as well . Other studies conducted on rats using only CBD found the similar effect. They suggested that CBD alone improved the ability of falling asleep and sleep time .
Your muscle cells are made up of millions of tiny proteins and when you exert your muscles, it causes damage to those proteins. This damage causes inflammation resulting in aches, pains and stiffness.
Usually it takes a day to start pain after a workout. It is also known as DOMS. It happens when you push your muscles harder than usual or in a different way that you haven’t done in years.
DOMS usually goes away in 3- to 5 days but athletes can not wait that long. Here are some of the most common treatments for delayed onset muscle soreness:
CBD is available in a variety of forms. You can simply choose one that you find the most convenient. Here are some of the common ways you can add CBD to your recovery regimen:
Choosing a CBD delivery method is not the hardest part, but figuring out the right dosage is. In this case, you always can start with a dose as low as 5mg and then increase it gradually. This will help you avoid the potential side effects and the risk overdosing.
Here are some of the simple advice for getting more out of cannabidiol for recovery:
Sometimes pain caused by workout can be more than delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). If you feel sharp pain or a pain accompanied by fever, visit your physician immediately.
The World Anti-Doping Agency removed CBD from its banned substance list in 2018 which means cannabidiol is not considered as a performance enhancing drug. This is why athletes like Nate Diaz are able to use CBD and do not get banned.
Most drug tests for cannabis use synthetic antibodies to look for THC. Therefore, you may fail in a drug test if you have taken a product that contains THC. If you are a professional athlete and also interested to try CBD always look for the products that do not contain THC. You can use CBD isolate products instead of a full-spectrum which may contain a trace amount of tetrahydrocannabinol.
CBD has shown some benefits to the recovery process by alleviating inflammation in the affected area that may cause damage to the surrounding muscles. It is thought to improve the quality of sleep and the duration of sleep which is an important part of the whole recovery process. All these benefits may explain why athletes report improved recovery times after using CBD.
To get the most out of CBD drink a lot of water to remove the released waste into the bloodstream. Try to build up a healthy dietary habit, take other vitamins and minerals, and ensure you get enough rest.