Cannabidiol is on the fast-track to becoming a household name. It’s no mistake everyone and their mothers are talking about CBD. Entering the world of fitness, CBD is a fantastic supplement for athletes, bodybuilders, health aficionados and even the casuals in-between. Let’s talk about the benefits of CBD in muscle recovery.
First things first - CBD is one of many many compounds in the cannabis plant that is not psychoactive. So for those who are worried, no CBD will not get you high at all, ever.
Although CBD is not readily available to the public in Australia, it already has a lot of scientific evidence to back its claims from use & research around the world. Everything from helping cancer patients fight nausea, to acting as a sleep aid for people with insomnia, to reducing seizures in children with a severe form of epilepsy known as Dravet Syndrome.
While this is huge, CBD is also said to help out with smaller stuff, like helping you recover way faster from your workouts. This is all thanks to the powerful anti-inflammatory properties in CBD.
Why Am I Sore After Working Out?
Let’s say you really smashed it at the gym yesterday. It doesn’t matter how fit you are, sometimes you just feel stiff and tender afterwards. Especially if you haven’t used those muscles in a while thanks to your job or lifestyle, you could be walking funny for days.
This is all because working out causes microscopic damage to muscle fibers which in turn encourages the muscle to repair itself, coming back stronger than it was before (that’s why they say ‘no pain no gain’). It’s like if you’ve broken an arm, your body will blow that arm up all red. This is called inflammation, and it happens anytime there’s damage in an isolated area of the body. This is a totally normal process and is specifically how you make your muscles stronger, but the inflammation itself will make you feel stiff and sore.
Great. How Does CBD Help Inflammation?
Generally, CBD will decrease inflammation when the oil or ointment is rubbed on the affected area, or taken orally. This is because of your very own branch of the nervous system appropriately named the endo-cannabinoid system, or the ECS. And yep, you definitely have one.
The ECS works with your body to produce cannabinoids within you to fight inflammation and other issues – it deals with keeping all things ‘in balance’. Without you ever touching cannabis, your body has definitely and absolutely used cannabinoids before.
The CBD you get from the plant is chemically close enough to what you produce internally that it works just the same, except you’re able to monitor your own dosage for faster results.
And it isn’t just in humans. If you want to learn how this will affect your furry friends, check this out.
Can CBD Really Help Fight Post-Workout Inflammation?
“As a personal trainer and someone that works out every day and really pushes myself a lot, I noticed the biggest difference in inflammation and stress after a workout,” Tara Laferrara, a former sprinter and a NASM certified personal trainer, told MensHealth.com about her personal use of CBD.
Laferrara was introduced to CBD via friends in the fitness industry who tried it after cannabis was legalized in Colorado in 2014. Now, she’s a devoted user. “It basically manages and prevents my joint inflammation, that aching kind of feeling, that I'd get after a heavy lift day,” she says.
Is There Scientific Proof?
While Laferrara’s anecdote is interesting, you could still be skeptical. But we have findings for those doubts too:
According to a 2018 review of 132 original studies published in Frontiers in Neurology, CBD can indeed reduce inflammation in the body and help improve pain and mobility in patients with multiple sclerosis. “It is anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, antiemetic, antipsychotic, and neuroprotective,” the review study’s authors wrote.
“Broadly speaking, it does decrease inflammation when it's rubbed on muscles as an ointment or taken orally,” Dr. Perry Solomon, previous chief medical officer and founding member of HelloMD, told MensHealth.com.
Can I Start a CBD Regimen?
A study wrote “High doses of up to 1,500 mg per day and chronic use have been repeatedly shown to be well tolerated by humans.” You probably won’t need that much, but it won’t kill you, technically speaking. Just start conservative.
One rule of thumb is 1-6 milligrams of CBD for every 10 pounds of body weight based on pain levels. Another is to start with 5-10mg per day and increase by 5-10mg until you feel relief.
While CBD is proven to be less dangerous than the likes of supermarket painkillers, you won’t be able to get yourself low-dose over the counter CBD in Australia until Feb 2022 at the earliest. But hasn’t Australia just changed its laws on CBD in pharmacies, you say? True – but there are a fair few hoops for manufacturers and brands to jump through before they are shelf-ready. You can read more about CBD being down-graded to a pharmacist-only medicine here.
For now, to access CBD you will need to speak to a doctor about it – bare in mind the Australian Special Access Scheme lists specific conditions and diseases that may be treated by specific medicinal cannabis products and as yet, DOMS and tight hammies are not on the list.
How Should I Use CBD for Recovery?
This stuff ain’t yet legal in Australia so you’ll need to clutch onto those gold medals tight if you’re on it. Unless you know the right doctor.
However In the case you do get your hands on it, it comes in oils, capsules, edibles, tinctures, ointments or raw cannabis. You’ll basically need to decide on what you’re comfortable with; ingesting or rubbing it on your skin.
To wrap it up, if your doctor is cool with it, check it out. Try it. See what works for you and who knows, maybe you’ll have 1 less excuse to skip leg day.
Where Can I Buy CBD?
Unfortunately it isn’t legal in Australia without a prescription.
The next best thing, which is still quite potent is hemp seed oil you can buy online here.