As an athlete, you’re always pushing your body to perform to its limit to be the best you can be; and working out isn’t always enough. How you recover is just as important in determining how well you train and perform, and to some, even more important. 

Additionally, going hard in the gym or performing whatever sporting activity you do can leave you with some serious unfortunate injuries that need effective pain relief so you’re back up and on your feet as quick as possible. 

That being said, did you know that CBD is able to help with your sports recovery?

Whether you lift weights, run marathons, or play football, in this blog we’ll explain how CBD oil products just like those that we sell at OneSoul should be your go-to choice for sports recovery. 

What happens to your body during exercise?

To help you understand how CBD can help with recovery, let’s first take a look at what happens in the body when we work out.

When you exercise a particular muscle, you’re basically exposing it to stress. This stress causes microscopic damage to the muscle fibre. And although it sounds bad, damaging your muscles in this way is actually really healthy.

After a workout, your body’s immune system kicks into gear to start repairing the microscopic muscle damage you created when exercising. Over time, this constant cycle of damage and repair is what helps you build bigger, stronger muscles and adapt to the demands of your exercise regime.

Eventually, your original workout routine will get progressively easier. To keep building and strengthening your muscles, you’ll need to push them further by increasing their workload during your workout. This process of muscle building is called hypertrophy.

How does your body recover from a workout?

There’s a lot more that goes on behind a workout than just muscle damage.

When you exercise, your body also burns energy stores, undergoes complex hormonal changes, and loses fluid. Once we stop exercising, our body needs to deal with all these changes. That’s where recovery comes in.

There are many different factors that help us recover from a workout, but sleep is, without a doubt, one of the most important. That’s because when you sleep, your body is able to focus almost entirely on recovering.

This recovery process is multifaceted and involves restoring balance to your system.

This involves repairing damaged muscle, restoring hormonal balance and creating new energy stores for you to use when you wake up.

Most of the muscle repair that your immune system performs post-workout, for example, happens while you are asleep. Your body also produces higher amounts of muscle-building hormones, such as testosterone and IGF (Insulin Growth Factor), while you sleep.

At the same time, it reduces the levels of cortisol, one of the main culprits of catabolism (muscle breakdown).

Nutrition and hydration are also extremely important factors for sports recovery.

Water is vital to all our bodies functions, and staying hydrated during recovery is key for helping your body recover as quickly as possible.

Nutrition is just as important and, as an athlete, you’re probably already well aware of how some foods (like protein, for example) can help with recovery processes.

Other aspects that can influence how our bodies recover from a workout include:

  • Heat, Ice, and Compression: These treatments can help with injury as well as pain from lactic acid buildup.
  • Stretching: A combination of dynamic and static stretching can help relieve muscle soreness and improve flexibility.
  • Self-Myofascial Release: Self-massage, like foam rolling, has also been shown to alleviate soreness and help speed up post-workout recovery.

How can CBD oil help with sports recovery?

Although most people after having an intense workout tend to buy Ibuprofen or drink a bottle or two of beers to feel good, the risks that you expose yourself to by taking these NSAIDs is extreme, especially if you make it a habit. In fact, the deaths that are as a result of taking NSAID drugs are countless.

That’s why it is advisable for people to use a more powerful, less toxic and a natural supplement like CBD oil.

Now that we have a basic understanding of how our body experiences exercise and recovers from it, it’s time to look at CBD.

Below is a basic overview of CBD, what it is, how it acts once it’s in the body, and what benefits it can have for sports recovery:

What is CBD and how does it work?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of over 400 active compounds found in cannabis plants. That includes both the psychoactive plants used to make marijuana as well as hemp plants grown for industrial purposes all around the world.

When CBD enters the body it interacts with our Endocannabinoid System.

This system is made up of 2 receptors, known as cannabinoid receptors 1 (CB1) and 2 (CB2), that are designed to process endocannabinoids like anandamide and 2-AG (which the human body produces naturally).

Research shows that the Endocannabinoid System is involved in regulating many different bodily processes.

These can include:

  • Inflammation
  • Pain
  • Sleep
  • Mood
  • Appetite
  • Metabolism
  • … and more

Stimulating the Endocannabinoid System using CBD can affect many of these processes in ways that help promote general wellbeing and treat diseases or medical symptoms.

But besides helping with particular medical conditions, CBD can also help your body recover from a workout. Here’s how:

CBD for athletic recovery

CBD oil and various other forms of CBD products can help athletes recover from a workout or injury in a few ways. It can help reduce overall muscle soreness, help you sleep much better at night, and target specific pain from sports injuries. All these things factor into your recovery.

1. CBD can help with muscle soreness and post-workout pain

Inflammation and stress are some key aspects to building muscle. The stress you put on your body when you work out essentially causes it to break down, then build itself back up to be bigger and stronger than before.

When this happens, your immune system activates inflammatory processes that help deal with the damage from your workout. This muscle damage and inflammation combine to leave your muscles feeling sore and tender the day after you exercise.

Thanks to its strong anti-inflammatory effects, CBD is able to reduce some of these symptoms. The Endocannabinoid System plays a key role in regulating inflammation, and numerous studies have shown that CBD can help lower chronic inflammation caused by conditions like arthritis, IBD, and even Multiple Sclerosis.

We know, for example, that the human body produces endocannabinoids after exercising. You know that euphoria you sometimes feel after a particularly good workout? That’s caused by the release of endocannabinoids like anandamide, sometimes called the “bliss molecule.”

That’s right: anandamide might be behind that iconic “runners high” you feel after exercising.

That’s because some types of exercise directly activate the Endocannabinoid System.

Besides these studies, there’s also plenty of evidence from professional athletes showing that CBD helps them recover.

2. CBD can improve sleep

As mentioned before, CBD can help you get a good night’s shut-eye. That’s because the Endocannabinoid System is directly involved in moderating sleep.

A 2016 study by researchers from the US National Institute of Health and Northeastern University looked at the effects the system has on sleeping rats. It found that endocannabinoid signalling directly affected the rats’ sleep stability.

Other studies in this area show that CBD can not only increase sleep time but also improve sleep quality.

As a result, people suffering from sleep disorders are increasingly looking towards CBD products for relief. 

The way CBD can promote better sleep varies. Patients with anxiety, for example, might find that CBD can help them get to sleep faster as well as reduce the effect of their anxiety on their REM sleep cycles. People with chronic pain, on the other hand, might find that CBD prevents their pain from interrupting them as they sleep.

CBD can also help reduce REM disorders in Parkinson’s patients, a condition which leaves them physically acting out during their dreams.

Studies also show that CBD can help increase total sleep time and possibly increase alertness in the morning. All of this is great news for athletes.

If you find you struggle to get to sleep in the evening, wake up feeling groggy or tired, or struggle to sleep without interruptions, CBD can help. It could also help you get a better night’s sleep if you suffer from pain or soreness from a workout or injury.

It’s recommended that you take CBD oil roughly 30 minutes before bed to help you get to sleep faster, stay asleep for longer, and wake up feeling relaxed, rested, and ready to go.

3. CBD can help with injury recovery

One final way CBD can help athletes is by speeding up recovery from injuries.

That’s because it can help reduce inflammation and pain which, according to exercise experts, are the hallmark of countless sports injuries.

Best of all, CBD doesn’t produce any of the side effects associated with prescription analgesics or even anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen, which can have devasting effects when used regularly.

Pro athletes using CBD

All these reasons listed above is why so many professional athletes use CBD and cannabis to deal with injuries. Here a few who swear by using CBD oil for their sports recovery:

At Saracens, England international George Kruis and his Wales club-mate Dominic Day take cannabis oils, capsules and balms which they say help “put our bodies back together”.

In the UFC, Nate Diaz (pro-MMA fighter), for example, says CBD helps him relieve the pain and inflammation after a fight, as well as recover faster from injuries.

NFL players such as linebacker Derrick Morgan and defensive tackle Eugene Monroe, also use CBD to treat pain, promote brain health, and more.