Sunday, September 27, 2020 • 8 minute read
Why do my muscles ache?
Feeling sore after the gym or that morning run? CBD can offer a helping hand! Studies show CBD may assist with muscle recovery, so you can get back in the gym quickly, spending less time hobbling up the stairs or struggling to put your socks on.
The technical name for this soreness after exercise is ‘delayed onset muscle soreness,’ or DOMS for short. During a workout you force your muscles to work harder than normal and this added stress causes microscopic damage or tears within your muscle fibres. There are six theories of action that have been suggested as causes of the DOMS, including lactic acid build up, muscle spasm, connective tissue damage, muscle damage, inflammation, and enzyme efflux.1
DOMS may sound intense and a little scary, but it is nothing to worry about! If it is not debilitating, it’s actually the sign of a good workout. Pushing yourself further each time and tearing your muscles at a microscopic level induces muscle growth, and over time allows you to become fitter and stronger.
The dreaded DOMS do typically go away on their own after resting for 2 to 5 days, depending on how hard you pushed. However, this waiting game to recovery might not be an option for an athlete or someone with limited workout time. Luckily for you gym rats, CBD is believed to speed up your recovery and give you an edge!
How may CBD help with muscle recovery?
There is evidence that CBD may have strong anti-inflammatory properties to assist with a smoother and faster recovery after strenuous exercise. This area requires more research, but some early studies have provided promising results. A review published in Frontiers in Neurology in 2018 found CBD
helped people suffering from Multiple sclerosis (MS), reducing fatigue, pain, spasticity, and ultimately improving mobility by decreasing inflammation.2 Another Study highlights CBD’s potentially strong anti-inflammatory properties, discovering that CBD downregulates cytokine and chemokine production and upregulates T-regulatory cells, the two mechanisms that affectively suppress the inflammatory response.3
How do I take CBD to aid my muscle recovery?
Let’s begin with dosage. The question of how much CBD to take to assist with muscle recovery is not clearly defined and research is ongoing. Use the CBD Element dosage calculator to provide you a low, medium, and high estimated daily total dosage based on your weight, that can be adjusted depending on the results you feel.
CBD Edibles are a great option for gym-goers. CBD gummies or CBD Capsules are discreet to take and can be easily stored in a gym bag, without the risk of smashing like a glass bottle of CBD oil.
CBD muscle balms and rubs enable you to target sore muscles effectively, by applying CBD to a localised area of discomfort to get maximum relief.
What else can I do to speed up muscle recovery?
To speed up the recovery process it is common to incorporate anti-inflammatory measures other than CBD into your routine.
CBD Element’s top tips for quicker muscle recovery are:
Good old-fashioned rest! Your muscles need time to repair from the damage inflicted by your last workout. Remember that to see real gains it is important to not over-train. Whilst just relying on rest without other strategies is the slowest approach, it’is vital you balance sufficient rest to keep on progressing.
Ice baths, cold showers or ice packs are used by athletes spanning all sports to deal with injury. Cold exposure reduces blood flow to muscle tissue, reducing the inflammatory response and swelling.
Heat dilates blood vessels and increases blood flow, delivering increased oxygen and energy to your muscles and removing lactic acid.4 The general rule of thumb is use heat therapy as treatment for DOMS, and cold therapy as treatment for an injury.
Massage is a powerful tool to add after a workout. Massage has shown to be effective at alleviating DOMS by approximately 30% and reduce swelling.5 Massaging stimulates blood and lymph circulation, bringing in reinforcements to speed up the recovery process.
If the DOMS hits hard then another option is to take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen. This reduces the pain and inflammation but beware that taking painkillers has other undesirable side effects and should not be used habitually.
We know you’re all busy people, but a solid stretch before and after a workout also helps and prevents injury and loosen you up. Why not try incorporating Yoga into your weekly routine!
Never compromise on sleep! Most people need 7.7 hours of sleep per night, so aim for 8 hours to give yourself time to recover and heal. CBD is the perfect all-rounder, as it has been shown to help with sleep as well as muscle recovery.
Is CBD a legal supplement for athletes to take in competitive sport?
Drug tests focus on THC, so if you are concerned about getting a false positive, we recommend an isolate CBD product as these contain 0% THC or a BCSG-certified broad-spectrum product. Check out our Deep Dive on the different kinds of CBD products.
Anything else I should know about CBD and muscle recovery?
Research into CBD’s effect on muscle recovery is in its infancy, and most studies researching the potential CBD benefits focus on sleep, stress, and anxiety. However, many athletes from around the world are taking CBD to improve their muscle recovery time.
By choosing one of CBD Element’s carefully selected premium brands that guarantees you are taking a safe, third-party tested product.
At CBD Element we keep you updated with all new developments surrounding this exciting new area of CBD research, so check back here or on our social media for any updates!
 Karoline Cheung, Patria Hume and Linda Maxwell. ‘Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness: Treatment Strategies and Performance Factors’. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12617692/) (2013)
 Thorsten Rudroff and Jacob Sosnoff. ‘Cannabidiol to Improve Mobility in People with Multiple Sclerosis’. (https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fneur.2018.00183/full) (2018)
 Prakash Nagarkatti, Rupal Pandey, Sadiye Amcaoglu Rieder, Venkatesh L Hegde, and Mitzi Nagarkatti. ‘Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs’. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2828614/) (2010)
 John M Mayer, et al. ‘Continuous Low-Level Heat Wrap Therapy for the Prevention and Early Phase Treatment of Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness of the Low Back: Randomized Controlled Trial’. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17023239/) (2006)
 Zainal Zainuddin, Mike Newton, Paul Sacco, and Kazunori Nosaka. ‘Effects of Massage on Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness, Swelling and Recovery of Muscle Function’. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1250256/) (2005)
 World Anti-Doping Agency – Cannabinoids (https://www.wada-ama.org/en/content/what-is-prohibited/prohibited-in-competition/cannabinoids)