Can CBD Help Muscle Recovery? Here's the Deal
Sponsored by our partner, Lazarus Naturals
Cannabidiol (a.k.a. CBD) has taken off like wildfire in the workout-recovery world. It’s the latest (and greatest) all-natural supplement for total-body wellness—and perhaps for good reason.
Internationally renowned athletes like NBA-star Jay Williams and boxer Mike Tyson swear by CBD to help support a sense of ease and soothe day-to-day body aches. Many endurance pros, like Tour De France rider Andrew Talansky, prefer taking CBD to ease normal soreness from training. And Spartan nutritionist Anne L’Heureux, R.D., L.D. says she often works with OCR athletes to evaluate their nutrition, sleep, stress levels, and training plan to determine if CBD is an appropriate addition to their training regimen.
CBD has blown up worldwide, and in the U.S., we’re catching up. While the U.S. government’s position on CBD is confusing, it seems there’s clarity coming down the pipeline. In 2018, the FDA approved Epidiolex, the first-ever cannabis-derived medicine (a CBD oral solution) for children with epilepsy syndromes. And studies and clinical trials are well underway. “We need more research, but CBD may prove to be an option for managing anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain,” writes Peter Grinspoon, MD and contributor for Harvard Health Publishing.
You see it everywhere these days, in a variety of forms. You can find it in tinctures, balms, supplements, gummies, teas, cookies, cocktails and more, and even order it online right to your doorstep. Though the FDA has yet to establish regulations, scientists across the board are discussing the possible health benefits of CBD. A market analysis published by Technavio last year estimated that the global CBD market will grow by 3.5 billion USD over the next five years.
No matter what form you take it in, CBD could be a game-changer in your overall wellness. Especially, as a serious endurance athlete.
Julie Ann Aueron, senior therapist at MotivNY, a physical therapy studio for urban athletes in NY, says she introduced CBD products into her life two years ago when she started training for the New York City Marathon. She said it worked wonders in supporting her mental clarity and restful sleep. Since then, Aueron vaporizes CBD before bed and takes a sublingual tincture to help recover from workouts. She also recommends it to some of her patients. “I do think it can be helpful in conjunction with other athletic recovery modules following sporting activity,” says Aueron.
CBD For Muscle Recovery: Here's What You Need to Know
What Is CBD? Does It Get You High?
CBD is a naturally occurring compound found in all variations of the cannabis plant. It’s one of the most well-known cannabinoids, alongside THC—the compound in marijuana which gets you high. But unlike THC, CBD isn’t intoxicating. (Repeat, CBD does not get you high.) A World Health Organization report confirms, “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential… to date, there is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”
In fact, you actually manufacture cannabinoids, too. Similar to a plant, your body produces its own version, called endocannabinoids, which aid your natural stress and immune responses, provide neuroprotection and also impact appetite, metabolism, sleep and pain.
CBD & Workout Recovery: It’s All About Inflammation
Mike Tyson calls CBD a “miracle oil”. Sure, it’s a stretch, but using CBD as a supplement to enhance your nutrition and wellness routine, help stimulate a healthy inflammatory response and manage aches and pains from working out, may be just what you need.
Here’s the deal: a little inflammation is a good thing. It naturally occurs when you workout. As you exert effort, your muscle fibers slightly tear, which can leave you feeling achy and sore. Inflammation is your body’s natural response to heal those areas. Therefore, the recovery process—aided by techniques from foam rolling to cryotherapy to CBD—is all about managing your body’s response to inflammation, so your muscles heal properly and rebuild stronger. “Inflammation is a normal part of training,” says Aueron. “But too much inflammation, as a result from many hard workouts and not enough focus on recovery, can negatively impact sport performance and can potentially compromise immunity.”
Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, which can occur from things like injury, poor diet, and an unhealthy gut-microbiome, is no bueno. According to a study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, chronic inflammation can lead to many non-infectious diseases like heart disease, cancer, Type 1 Diabetes, and even some autoimmune diseases.
The good news? Though soreness is inevitable to some degree, cannabinoids may be able to
help support the body’s natural inflammatory process, according to Aueron. The trick (as always, with inflammation) is to manage it, so you can recover well and bounce back stronger from your workouts. In other words, consider adding daily doses of CBD to your wellness routine in conjunction with other proven recovery methods.
Stoked to Try It? Beware: All CBD Is Not Equal
That said, as a Spartan athlete and conscious consumer, it’s important to note that the FDA is still working to establish CBD regulations. And there's a lot of junk on the market. (Make sure you are getting what you paid for!) It’s more crucial than ever to use CBD products sourced from hemp farms which grow pesticide-free, herbicide-free, vegan, non-GMO hemp, like our partner Lazarus Naturals, in Oregon. Bonus: Lazarus Naturals sends its CBD products to a third-party testing facility to reaffirm quality—and give each CBD user double peace of mind.
Do your research, and ensure your CBD is responsibly sourced, from plant to package. (You wouldn’t buy an après-workout smoothie without knowing where the ingredients came from or how it was formulated. That’s just lame. The same Spartan principle applies to the CBD products you choose to use.)
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.