Aug 15, 2022
What is the Effect of CBD for Exercise Recovery?
The importance of exercise can’t be understated, but certain barriers prevent some people from developing a regular exercise routine. Whether it’s a lack of motivation, equipment, or time, there are plenty of obstacles inhibiting training.
One such barrier, delayed onset muscle soreness, often stops people from continuing an exercise regime after day one due to pain or discomfort. When muscles cannot recover after training, that also means the athlete or exerciser is unable to perform at their full ability, regardless of their feelings of soreness.
A new study in the academic journal Nutrients evaluated the potential of cannabidiol (CBD) on performance and muscle recovery after exercise. Its significant findings show a future for cannabidiol research, and for consumer usage.
Importance of Exercise
For decades, doctors, scientists, and wellness professionals have emphasized the importance of exercise for mental and physical health, and every piece of new research seems to reinforce this idea. A regular exercise schedule is known to lower the risk of a range of diseases and problems related to aging and improve quality of life.
Most people feel the benefits of exercise for brain health almost immediately after a session. For adults and children, it can quickly decrease anxiety and improve cognitive function. In the long-term, exercise can prevent risk factors that affect the aging brain, such as cognitive decline and challenges in learning and judgment. Training is also essential for lowering the risk of mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders.
Perhaps most significantly, a regular exercise regime can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death for adults in the U.S. Its ability to lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, and prevent diabetes also works against early death in adults who exercise regularly. Not only that, but habitual physical activity can even decrease the risk of developing certain common cancers.
Barriers to Regular Exercise
Lack of exercise in the general population is often blamed on a set of barriers, specifically minimal time, motivation, and equipment. Last on that list, but still significant is the regular soreness experienced after a workout that makes the next day’s exercise that much more difficult.
Three of those barriers have practical solutions that come down to mindset and schedule. Professionals recommend finding a regime that works for those who struggle to start a routine due to work responsibilities and limited time. Training outside by going on a run, walk, or bike ride or simply using body-weight exercises allows participants to work out without any necessary equipment. Lack of motivation can be solved similarly by finding an activity that inspires the person to get moving, whether it’s dance, yoga, workout classes, or other non-traditional options.
Finding solutions to the regular soreness exercisers feel is a million-dollar industry. There are limitless options on the market that claim to prevent or treat soreness from supplements, proteins, fortified foods, and deep stretching.
A possible new option for combating muscle soreness is appearing in recent experimental research. Cannabidiol (CBD), a compound derived from the Cannabis sativa plant, has been found to offer a variety of possible benefits that are still being studied. From enhanced relaxation to calmed discomfort, CBD is an exciting new factor in wellness. In the case of post-workout soreness, CBD might offer an additional benefit that can be researched to provide the highest efficacy.
New Study on CBD for Post-Workout Muscle Recovery
A recent study from 2021, titled Effects of Cannabidiol Supplementation on Skeletal Muscle Regeneration after Intensive Resistance Training, took a closer look at how CBD may affect certain aspects of muscular recovery after exercise. The randomized, double-blind study used CBD-infused drinks and a placebo to test the ability of the compound to prevent muscle damage and improve performance in specific exercise tasks.
Researchers assessed muscle health and damage of each participant through serum creatine kinase (CK), myoglobin (Myo), and physical performance before and at three intervals after the exercise. Each participant was given a drink containing 60mg of CBD or a placebo drink directly following the intensive resistance training (IRT), with no other food administered in the three hours following.
Blood samples and performance evaluation were taken after 24 hours, 48 hours, and 72 hours following the IRT and CBD or placebo, which were then assessed for the CK and Myo. Specifically, participants were evaluated on their ability to complete a series of squats. Then, after a two-week period to allow for a “wash out” of the CBD, the trial was repeated.
The results of this study showed interesting findings that other widely known studies have not yet found. Namely, CBD showed “small but significant effects on muscle damage and recovery of squat performance” after 72 hours.
The study noted that if CBD is intended to affect significant results in recovery after intense training, it would need to be added continuously and repetitively. In other words, CBD would likely have more substantial effects if used regularly and for longer intervals due to the absorption process of the compound.
Similarly, the study authors commented that using CBD post-exercise may be less effective than adding it before training. With that administration process, the CBD may reach maximum absorption closer to the end of and after exercise, when muscles benefit the most.
Last, the study concludes where future research will hold the highest benefit. The authors suggest further studies should focus on well-trained athletes, endurance training, and regular use of CBD. It also recommends that future experimentation considers inflammatory, immune, and antioxidative biomarkers for a more thorough analysis.
While this study had notable limitations, it speaks to the potential application of cannabidiol for muscle recovery in exercise and where we can pursue future research. As stated by the authors, the findings were slight but notable, and prospective research can further examine how this may affect everyday customers of CBD products, not just those with athletic training.
CBD research is thriving, with dozens of studies currently underway. We closely follow new research on cannabidiol and other cannabinoid compounds to keep you up to date. Follow along at Science-Rite CBD™ to learn about the growing research behind CBD and what that means for you.