CBD & Exercise

As cannabidiol, or CBD, becomes increasingly popular for relief from things like anxiety, insomnia, and pain, there is a particular interest from athletes and those who exercise regularly. CBD is an anti-inflammatory and this is the most important reason why it is used among the athlete community.

Inflammation is your body’s defense mechanism to fight off damage from things like injuries, toxins, and infections. There are two types of inflammation: acute and chronic. Acute inflammation occurs when you get stung by a wasp or slice your finger open. The immune system sends white blood cells to the affected area in order to protect it. Whenever you have a bacterial or viral infection, your body also requires inflammation to heal. Chronic inflammation is different, because it is long-term. The causes of chronic inflammation range from prolonged exposure of air pollutants to autoimmune disorders. Other causes can include obesity, untreated acute inflammation, and stress.



Many people treat inflammation by using both steroid medications and non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). However, these types of drugs can have serious side effects--which makes CBD an excellent holistic alternative. You might be wondering how CBD works to combat inflammation. According to scientists, here are a few of many ways:

  • CBD interferes with the production of inflammatory prostaglandins by inhibiting the COX-2 enzyme that produces it. Prostaglandins are one of the most notable contributors to inflammation, but also serve many other purposes throughout the body.

  • CBD reduces the amount of inflammatory tumor necrosis factor. Tumor necrosis factor is a protein in the body that assists in the production of inflammation.

Almost always, pain is associated with inflammation. With this knowledge, it makes sense that many athletes use CBD to combat inflammation and pain. Exercise can often lead to muscle soreness and even joint pain. Following workouts, CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties can reduce muscle soreness and joint pain, easing the pain caused by the body’s repair process. This makes it easier for an athlete or another person to exercise efficiently and on a regular basis without discomfort. There are studies that also indicate CBD shows promise when it comes to reducing overall chronic pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis or fibromyalgia. According to another study, CBD may aid in endurance during exercise. In order to reach a certain level of euphoria, also known as a “runner’s high”, the endocannabinoid system must be balanced properly. CBD aids in homeostasis of the body and can boost endorphins during exercise, allowing an athlete to optimize their endurance levels.

Another significant aspect about CBD is that it is non-psychoactive, unlike THC. This makes CBD optimal for athletes who need to focus and regularly get drug tested. When dealing with hemp-derived CBD products, there is only ever .3% or less of THC. Full-spectrum CBD products include that .3% or less of THC, while broad spectrum and isolate CBD products contain none. It is important to know the difference between full spectrum and broad spectrum while shopping for products. Knowing which type of CBD product to use is also important for the user. CBD can be used topically to target muscle and joint pain, or it can be consumed internally or sublingually for a full-body effect. Of course more research is needed when it comes to CBD and exercise. However, based on current studies and testimonials, CBD is a viable option for relief of exercise-related pain and inflammation.


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