Medically reviewed by Dr. Jen Palmer, ND – Naturopathic Doctor,
Director of Education for Charlotte’s Web™
People use CBD for all sorts of reasons, which is why it exists in many different forms. From tinctures to topicals, capsules to gummies, there’s a CBD format of choice for just about everyone—and it seems like there’s more of them every day.
But not all CBD is created equal, and when it comes to athletes, it’s especially crucial to be aware of exactly what they’re putting into their bodies. Is CBD good for muscle recovery? Which CBD products are best for athletes? Is there a recommended CBD routine for exercise?
In this article, we’ll tackle those questions and more. Specifically, we’ll look at which CBD products are the best choice for athletes, which makes them worthy of exploration and purchase, and how to go about using them. Get ready to level-up your hemp knowledge for your daily wellness routine.
CBD for Muscle and Workout Recovery: What Do Athletes Need to Know?
Every body is different and each of us experience or welcome different levels of comfort and strain. When it comes to fitness, this spectrum is as broad as ever. But regardless of one’s desired level of activity, post-workout comfort is important to maintain.
There is evidence that exercise can both cause and attenuate inflammation. “Acute, unaccustomed exercise can cause muscle and connective tissue damage, especially if done at high intensities and for prolonged durations.”
All that is to say that for athletes, exercise-induced inflammation is a relatively common thing. Exercise, especially strenuous exercise, causes minor damage to muscles. It’s not an injury, necessarily, but simply tiny tears in muscle tissue that trigger inflammation as an attempt to repair the area. In moderation, inflammation is beneficial.
The body’s Endocannabinoid System, or ECS, supports homeostasis for all bodily systems, the immune system included. When inflammation becomes excessive post-exercise, CBD and other supportive phytocannabinoids can be used to promote balance through several mechanisms of action. These phytocannabinoids can moderate the production of inflammatory chemical messengers which are produced by the immune system. In other words, CBD helps support recovery from exercise-induced inflammation*, making certain products go-to formulations for athletes. We’ll get into the different formats below.
Are athletes allowed to use CBD?
Yes! While most major sports organizations, except for the MLB, still don’t allow for the use of THC or marijuana, the use of hemp products including CBD is allowed. The World Anti-Doping Agency removed CBD from its list of prohibited substances in 2018, but if you compete in a league or organization that tests for THC, the chemical in marijuana that gets you high, you may want to stick to THC Free† broad spectrum hemp extracts instead of full spectrum extracts.
This is because the tiny amount of THC present in full spectrum CBD products (less than .3%) can cause a positive drug screening and keep you from competing. Broad spectrum products, on the other hand, provide the benefits of the over 100 cannabinoids that exist in the hemp plant without the THC. Learn more by reading our blog post on the difference between hemp and marijuana.
The Best Way to Use CBD for Muscle Recovery Support
Now that we’ve gone over how CBD works and if it’s safe for athletes to use, let’s look at some of the available product options out there in terms of CBD for athletes.
CBD Oils for Athletes
When it comes to ease of use and versatility, CBD oils or tinctures make for a great addition to any routine. Simply take daily, as needed, to reap the full benefits of a full-spectrum hemp extract with CBD. Our extracts contain CBD plus other naturally occurring phytocannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, essential fatty acids, and more in every serving. And if you like, CBD oil makes for an easy addition to your favorite food or drink using customizable servings.
CBD capsules are especially helpful if you’re already used to taking supplements in pill form as part of your daily routine. Like the oils mentioned above, they’re designed to help support recovery from exercise-induced inflammation, as well as support a sense of calm for focus and maintaining healthy sleep cycles.* Like any fitness or wellness routine, the key is consistency.
CBD gummies, on the other hand, tend to be a bit more targeted in terms of the things they support. Charlotte’s Web™ Recovery* Gummies, for instance, were designed solely for recovery from exercise-induced inflammation, though we also carry options for Calm* and Sleep*. Our Recovery* gummies are specially formulated with a botanical blend of ginger, turmeric, and full-spectrum hemp extract with CBD to support joint health and joint strength*.
CBD Ointments, Sports Cream and Topicals
Topicals like CBD salves and CBD sports creams, are great for athletes because you can apply them to exactly where the minor aches and pains are. One of the best CBD salves for athletes on the market is our CBDMEDIC Active Sport Pain Relief Ointment that blends the benefits of CBD with the pain relieving benefits of active ingredients like menthol and camphor. For the ultimate pain fighting trio, opt for our Athlete Sport Collection that comes with the Active Sport Ointment plus the Active Sport Pain Relief Stick for pinpoint pain relief and the Massage Therapy Pain Relief Oil for muscle penetrating relief.
How to Get the Most Out of Your CBD
As we mentioned above, the best thing any athlete can do in terms of their CBD wellness is focus on consistency. Like going to the gym, for best results, it’s best to take CBD regularly. We recommend taking it at the same time each day, like shortly before or after your fitness routine (this will depend on your product of choice).
As with any dietary supplement, consult your physician before use if you are pregnant, nursing, have or suspect a medical condition, or are taking any medications.
†THC Free means trace amounts less than 0.01% or 100ppm