Working out can leave you sore, making you reluctant to head to your next workout session. The good news is that science says CBD could help boost your post workout recovery. Best of all, new innovative CBD brands have created CBD products that are more bioavailable, supporting your recovery to help you get back on the court, in the gym or on the trail even faster. There’s a reason so many professional athletes are advocating for CBD. Here’s everything you need to know about CBD and post-workout recovery.
In This Article
- 1. Look for an emulsion formula (rather than an oil)
- 2. Know that more CBD isn’t a fast track to faster results
So what is actually causing that post-workout soreness? Post-workout soreness happens because of swelling in your muscle tissue. When you do a workout that involves significant impact and eccentric lengthening of your muscles, like running and weight training, you’re more likely to get sore. This kind of activity causes microscopic breakages or tears in the connections within muscles, which lead to swelling.
In a nutshell, post-workout soreness is experienced when:
- You do a harder workout than usual.
- You train muscle groups you don’t often use.
- You do exercises that lengthen the muscles as they strengthen (eccentric), such as weight-bearing exercise.
- You do impact exercise.
No, as long as it’s soreness, not pain. The adaptation and repair processes that occur during recovery are important, and are likely to lead to increased strength and endurance of your muscles. If you don’t get to that point of soreness, you’re unlikely to create change in the muscle.
There is a difference between soreness and pain, though. The main thing to consider is the exact area of soreness — for instance, is it right over a tendon? If so, it may be the start of an overload injury. This is different from the widespread ache after a workout. Assess the quality of the sensation; is it more than 4 out of 10 on the pain scale?
Additionally, post-workout soreness is usually in the muscle tissue and is an important part of any workout or rehabilitation program. Soreness is that bridge between where you are now, and the strength and ability of where you want to be. Annoyingly though, post-workout recovery can get in the way of your workout goals. If you’re too sore to head back to the gym or run that trail you love a day or two after your workout, naturally enhancing your recovery is key to reducing your risk for injuries later.
Your body's endocannabinoid system regulates many important processes to do with the nervous system, metabolism, immune system and virtually all your body’s key systems. It’s made up of cannabinoid receptors and cannabinoids (either originating within your body — endocannabinoids, or externally introduced — phytocannabinoids). When consumed, CBD (a phytocannabinoid) is thought to help your endocannabinoid system maintain normal responses to various daily stressors (such as increased movement). It works with and to support your body’s natural response.
With that in mind, research has shown that CBD may help prevent an overreaction in your body when it comes to swelling and soreness after increased movement by supporting the endocannabinoid system’s ability to keep an even keel. This may help decrease discomfort and help you get back to working out faster. But formula matters.
Research published in the scientific journal Phytotherapy Research found that water-dispersible CBD (often referred to as water-soluble CBD) may be more effective at supporting a normal response to increased activity than lipid-soluble formulas because of its higher bioavailability. And with more research developing around how traditional painkillers may counteract the muscle growth that you’re working to develop through exercise, CBD may offer an alternative approach to dealing with soreness.
Inflammation after increased movement happens at a cellular level, and CBD has been found to decrease immune cell accumulation (which means less of an inflammatory response) as well as stimulate production of inflammatory-related proteins called cytokines. Even better, a number of studies found CBD may inhibit the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines to decrease the overall inflammatory response.*
One way to try supporting your recovery is to start by taking 10 mg of CBD everyday, and increasing by small increments until you feel relief. Since everyone’s body is different, there’s no standard dosage, but if you start slow you’ll find what works best for you.
CBD is an exciting new product on the market, making it easy to be swayed by convincing statements that just don’t have the science to back them up. To avoid getting swept up in the hype, look for a few solid features when choosing a CBD product:
1. Look for an emulsion formula (rather than an oil)
Did you know your body flushes up to 90 percent of oil-based CBD formulas? This happens because oil isn’t very bioavailable, meaning your body can’t access it and use it easily. In fact, in the Phytotherapy Research study mentioned above, non-oily CBD was 4.5 times more bioavailable than the lipid‐soluble form.
So, when choosing a CBD product, look for a CBD product formulated with emulsion in mind. One study at Colorado State University found that CBD formulas with bioavailable ingredients may be absorbed into the bloodstream faster than formulas that leverage other ingredients with poor bioavailability. Getting into your bloodstream quicker means your body can use the CBD right away and make for a more impactful result.
2. Know that more CBD isn’t a fast track to faster results
If your muscles are aching after a heavy weightlifting session, don’t automatically think that more CBD is better. It all comes down to how the product was formulated; if it’s not emulsion based, your body is still likely to metabolize much of that higher dose before it’s able to actually use it. The Colorado State study mentioned above found that a formula with higher levels of CBD that contained other less bioavailable ingredients was not absorbed as quickly as an emulsion formula with less CBD. In this case, less may truly be more impactful.
The increased acceptance of CBD overall is opening new doors in wellness, supporting our bodies’ everyday functions. But like any new ingredient in the health space, it’s important to take a close look at the individual products you choose, ensuring the quality and efficacy behind the formula. Before you reach for just any CBD product, do some research. Make sure the science behind their exact formula is sound. Just because it contains CBD doesn’t mean your body can access the CBD and actually use it.
NextEvo uses a formula proven to be more bioavailable to your body. SmartSorb technology allows your body to absorb CBD up to four times faster than oily CBD products so your body can put CBD to work before it’s metabolized and loses the chance to be effective. You can learn more about the science here.
*NextEvo is not making any health claims and our product is not intended to treat or prevent disease. The data discussed herein is based on reviewing the scientific literature only.
Caitlin Reid is a freelance journalist with over ten years of experience. She is also a Physiotherapist with a special interest in blending the realms of evidence-based medicine with inspiring holistic health.
Journal of Pharmaceuticals - “Comparison of Five Oral Cannabidiol Preparations in Adult Humans: Pharmacokinetics, Body Composition, and Heart Rate” Variability”
MensHealth - Meet the Pro Athletes Advocating for CBD
Phytotherapy Research Journal - “Evaluation of pharmacokinetics and acute anti‐inflammatory potential of two oral cannabidiol preparations in healthy adults”
Business Insider - There’s new evidence that painkillers might be sabotaging your workout
International Journal of Molecular Sciences - “Cannabinoid Receptors and the Endocannabinoid System: Signaling and Function in the Central Nervous System”