CBD for muscle pain: Topicals and pills can help, but research is limited
Does CBD actually work for muscle pain? We explore what the research says and whether topics or oral supplements are better.
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It’s touted as a sleep aid , stress killer and even a performance enhancer, but one of the big selling points of CBD is pain relief . Many have turned to it when other remedies haven’t worked or in addition to them.
But what about using CBD post-workout to help your muscles recover and reduce soreness? It’s a different than the chronic pain that most turn to CBD for, but some research suggests it could help replace hot/cold creams and over the counter anti-inflammatory meds.
There are hundreds of CBD products to choose from — both oral and topical — and the type you choose might make all the difference for your aches and pains.
How topical CBD works for muscle soreness and pain
The promise is simple — slather on a cream or gel with CBD where it hurts to relieve pain. But whether or not they actually work is another story.
Topical CBD has only been minimally studied, says Stuart Titus, CEO of Medical Marijuana, Inc. “Generally, there are also herbs or other ‘skin-penetrating’ ingredients in the final formulation of topical CBD products,” Titus says. “Other ingredients such as arnica or menthol are added in order to make product claims such as pain relief.”
In many cases, Titus explains, the concentration of CBD is often low in topical products, and the soothing sensation you feel is a product of the other ingredients. It’s important for consumers to review not only the ingredients list, but also the certificate of analysis, which reveals the total concentration of different cannabinoids in a product.
A CoA shows the weight percentage of CBD and other cannabinoids, including THC, so only then can you interpret the amount of CBD per “serving” of topical application, Titus says. Make sure the CoA is done by an independent, third-party lab, too.
Is CBD the cure to nagging sore muscles?
That said, high-quality, potent topical CBD products are thought to offer temporary relief from pain and soreness. There’s a high concentration of cannabinoid receptors in the skin, and when CBD is applied topically, it activates the endocannabinoid system through those receptors. CBD binds to the cannabinoid receptors in your epidermal and dermal skin, a process that results in alleviation of pain and inflammation. The anti-inflammatory effect is also why topical CBD is an effective treatment for some skin disorders.
Topical CBD only works where you use it — applying CBD cream to your legs when your abs are sore won’t do you any good. This can be a benefit or a drawback depending on your situation. For example, if you tend to experience full-body soreness, you’d have to use a lot of CBD cream for relief and that can get tedious and expensive.
Just remember, human skin is incredibly absorptive and it’ll absorb more than just the CBD in topical creams, gels and oils. Check the ingredients label to make sure you’re not applying something you’re allergic to or something that, if absorbed, can interact with medications. If you’re unsure, talk to your doctor.
How oral CBD works for muscle soreness and pain
While topical CBD only offers localized relief, oral CBD should have a systemic effect if the product is potent and reliable, Titus says. Oral CBD works just the same as topical CBD, but on a much larger scale, because it enters your bloodstream and can reach cannabinoid receptors throughout your entire body.
Oral CBD is believed to have strong anti-inflammatory effects, and as inflammation is the root of most pain, it makes perfect sense that ingesting CBD could offer relief from inflammation-related pain, including muscle aches and joint pain.
Keep in mind that the majority of studies on the effects of CBD on soreness and pain to date have been small-scale; most large studies have been conducted on animals, and those results may not translate to humans. There’s a long way to go until all the effects of CBD — taken orally or applied topically — are confirmed.
It’s also worth knowing that the Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve CBD as a food additive or dietary supplement. The agency has concerns about the safety of ingested CBD due to the lack of large-scale, long-term studies in humans, and has concluded that there isn’t enough evidence to declare CBD safe to consume. Regardless, oral CBD is widely available and legal in many states. Talk to a health professional about oral CBD if you’re interested in using it for muscle soreness or any other type of pain.
Should you use topical or oral CBD for soreness?
Whether you should use topical or oral CBD for pain and soreness depends on the source and intensity of your pain. Based on the above research and comments from Medical Marijuana’s Titus, here’s a look at common uses of CBD and which type will best help.
CBD for post-workout muscle soreness: A high-quality topical CBD should help treat temporary muscle soreness from workouts, Titus says. One recent study found that oral CBD can also reduce muscle soreness when taken immediately after a workout.
CBD for chronic muscle pain: Topical CBD can help during flare-ups, but you’re better off taking oral CBD for systemic pain. A combination can be especially helpful, Titus says. Ingesting CBD helps relieve pain from the inside out, while applying topical cream can quiet particularly tender areas.
CBD for joint pain: Topical CBD likely won’t reach cannabinoid receptors in your joints no matter how potent. Oral CBD is more likely to help people with pain from arthritis and other joint conditions. People with pain from fibromyalgia will also benefit more from ingestible CBD, Titus says.
CBD for general muscle tightness and tension: For general muscle tightness (such as tension in the neck from a long day at your desk), high-quality topical CBD can offer much-needed temporary relief.
Overall, the effectiveness of CBD varies depending on the product, the intended use and the person. Some people find CBD helpful while others don’t notice much of an effect, whether they take it orally or apply it topically. It might take a lot of research and experimentation until you find a CBD product that works for you.
Other ways to treat muscle soreness and pain
If you’re not ready to hop on the CBD bandwagon, try these other methods for relieving sore and tight muscles :
- Compression therapy
- Far-infrared therapy
- Percussive therapy
- Foam rolling
- Heat therapy
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.
I Tried CBD Oil on My Legs After My Workouts, and I Have Some Thoughts…
A s someone who works out 5 days a week—with each workout containing at least a two mile run—you could say that I’m always sore. That means that my legs frequently feel as heavy as cement, my hamstrings are continually tight, my quads are always quaking, and my calves know what it means to be knotted. Maybe I’m being a smidge dramatic (and maybe I need to foam roll more), but all of that running takes a serious toll on my legs.
In my beauty research, however, I’ve realized that cannabidiol or CBD is an anti-inflammatory powerhouse, and since inflammation is the cause behind many woes—including muscle soreness—the wheels in my head started turning. Perhaps, by slathering a CBD-rich product all over my gams, I could enhance my recovery and optimize my workouts even more.
The non-psychoactive part of the marijuana plant, CBD, has been all the rage for its multifaceted topical benefits. I’ve already tried CBD skin-care products, so I’m beyond ready to use it to enhance my workouts. “CBD is an active cannabinoid found in cannabis and has multiple uses in improving inflammatory conditions when used topically, like eczema, and even improving wound healing, itching, pain, and has even reported to improve a rare blistering disorder of skin,” says Rachel Nazarian, MD, a dermatologist with New York’s Schweiger Dermatology Group. “It would be great for sore muscles, because it has an analgesic effect which decreases pain.” Bingo.
Luckily for me, as soon as this plan entered my mind, a brand-new CBD body oil by Lord Jones ($75) landed on my desk. I spoke with Cindy Capobianco, co-founder and president of Lord Jones, about my muscle soreness and she was enthusiastic about how a CBD oil could help. “You can use it pre-workout and post-workout. Up front, it relaxes your muscles, allowing you to have a more efficient workout, and then on the back-end you can use it for inflammation and any kind of pain,” she tells me. For what it’s worth, this area hasn’t been well studied, so while the science isn’t there, anecdotal evidence amongst experts seems to suggest that it can supply an improvement (if even a slight one).
That night, I went home to excitedly apply the oil all over my legs, making sure to massage it into my quads and all over my calves, before slipping into my workout clothes. When I proceeded to run on the treadmill, I didn’t necessarily feel any difference. I still struggled in the same old spot—as I approach the 25-minute mark—and my legs began to feel heavy. Post workout (and post shower), I diligently applied the oil to my muscles again.
I continued my pre- and post-workout CBD oil regimen for the entire week. The CBD didn’t make me completely weightless on my feet and invincible on the treadmill, yet I did notice something after a solid seven days of using it. Formerly, in my pre-CBD oil life, it’d hurt to walk hours and days after tough workouts. Now? Slicking myself down with the anti-inflammatory ingredient has eliminated a little bit of the heaviness I used to feel in my legs from running.
“CBD is a known anti-inflammatory ingredient that can soothe skin conditions and affect the quality of life for many people—I’m a fan,” says Dr. Nazarian, who tells me she hopes (and thinks) the CBD oil should work for my muscle recovery. While it wasn’t a night-and-day difference, religiously incorporating CBD oil into my workout-slash-beauty regimen has made a subtle impact. You can kind of think of it as a recovery boost, and one that’s likely helped by the fact that I was massaging my sore limbs regularly which has been shown to be effective at relieving soreness in studies. Now, all I need to do is master that foam roller and I’m all set.
To get it on this, here’s a roundup of CBD products for athletes. And over in the beauty world, these are the mind-body-skin benefits of getting a CBD facial.
CBD For Muscle Pain and Inflammation – What You Need To Know
No matter what your sport or workout is, muscle soreness, aches, and inflammation are typical results of hard work. While there are several over-the-counter aids an athlete can take, many bring side effects that need to be managed. Enter the latest in all-natural, high-potency CBD supplements designed for the needs of today’s athletes and competitors.
For people with muscle pain and related health conditions, cannabidiol (CBD) has increasingly become popular as a natural medication to gain relief from pain. CBD is one of the chemical constituents of cannabis and it’s often touted as a viable alternative to the regular OTC and prescription painkillers used in the treatment of some health conditions.
This article discusses the use of CBD for muscle pain and inflammation. Attempts shall also be made to highlight some of the scientific research behind this practice.
CBD is the main natural ingredient in the hemp plant, an all-natural solution that is increasingly recognized for its effective use in active recovery of the body following physical stress. Unlike THC, CBD does not have psychoactive properties – meaning it doesn’t give you the sensation of being high. According to the latest scientific research, CBD has been demonstrated to have important health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. The unique properties of CBD make it an effective tool for athletes, providing significant advantages for muscle recovery and relaxation. Scientifically speaking, by interacting with receptors in the body and brain, CBD can help regulate processes such as pain, inflammation, appetite, mood and circadian rhythms, offering important therapeutic benefits for athletes of all types.
Effects of CBD on Our Bodies
The non-psychoactive and non-addictive properties of CBD make it suitable for therapeutic use. Apart from its use for treating epilepsy, CBD is also used for treating anxiety, depression, stress, and other medical conditions. And there are numerous scientific studies to support these claims.
For example, one study connected CBD use with a reduction in the severity of certain health conditions, such as hypertension, heart attacks, and strokes.
Also, some research has linked CBD with a reduction in appetite as well as minimizing of PTSD symptoms, such as anxiety, negative memories, and nightmares. But for us to better understand the effects of CBD on our bodies, we first need to understand its influence on the endocannabinoid system.
The Endocannabinoid System: What is it?
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is simply an internal system made of endocannabinoids, which is suspected to play important roles in major biological processes, like appetite formation, mood, and sleep. It was first discovered in 1992, but we still don’t fully understand how it functions.
The ECS system consists of 3 components, namely:
- Enzymes: these are organic catalysts which take part in metabolic processes.
- Receptors: receptors are found throughout the human body acting as binding agents to endocannabinoids.
- Endocannabinoids: these organic compounds help to keep the body in optimal conditions.
Understanding how the use of CBD for muscle pain and inflammation is possible involves investigation of the link between the endocannabinoids and receptors.
To start with, there are two kinds of receptors called CB1 and CB2. The CB1 receptors are found primarily in the brain’s central nervous system (CNS). They tend to control body functions like appetite, coordination, memory, mood, and movement.
In contrast, CB2 receptors are found in the peripheral nervous system (PNS), which controls inflammation and pain.
Second, many researchers have argued that CBD influences the receptors without attaching itself directly to them. After enzymes must have broken down the CBDs, the endocannabinoids usually bind with receptors to bring about complete drug metabolism. Activating those receptors is what brings the many health benefits that are associated with CBD use.
Besides, CBD is also suspected of being capable to influence non-cannabinoid receptors in ways that are yet to be accurately determined.
For instance, an article by Teaera Roland of Lotus Health showed that CBD could influence the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor, which controls psychotic disorders.
Moreover, cannabidiol affects the TRPV1 receptor which can minimize muscle pain and inflammation. The thing is, when CBD Influences the TRPV1, it completely blocks pain signals from being transmitted throughout the body. Thus, this action provides relief from pain caused by aches, discomfort caused by other health conditions, injuries, and swelling.
You may also want to know how long cannabidiol stays in the body system. Click the link here to learn more about this and many more.
Why is CBD Popular?
According to a 2014 report by the American Association of Anesthesiologists (ASA), more than 60 million people are affected by chronic pain and related conditions across the globe. These ailments not only affect life quality, but also increase health-care costs and reduce productivity at work.
Actually, there are dozens of prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications used to treat pain and inflammation. But many of these medications come with obnoxious side effects, such as addiction and damage to the body’s vital organs (kidney and liver).
For this reason, people now seek CBD products which offer alternative means of treating pain without endangering their health in the process.
CBD and Muscle Pain
A study has revealed that CBD could help reduce muscle pain experienced by people with Multiple Sclerosis. In the trials, though the results were modest, several subjects reported a reduction in symptoms. However, further studies are needed to fully understand how effective this will be on humans.
Moreover, a group of scientists have compiled the findings of multiple systematic research covering tens of such experiments. They concluded that there was enough evidence showing the effectiveness of CBD as treatment for muscle pain in adults.
Also, the scientists found out that there was little chance for people to develop tolerance for CBD. So there wouldn’t be any need to increase dosage over time.
We need to mention, however, that cannabidiol has very poor bioavailability when consumed orally. Therefore, topical application of CBD to the affected areas is advisable. When using CBD topicals try out RECOVER Muscle Cream and apply directly to the affected muscle groups.
Here is a fitness tip! Use of CBD is very effective after a workout. In fact, some experts it can actually have a positive impact on muscle development by reducing Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). Other natural remedies include a hot shower and a good stretch to ease your soreness!
CBD and Arthritis Pain
In a monumental research report published in 2016 by the European Journal of Pain, another group of researchers observed that topical CBD gel helped reduce measures of inflammation and pain, as well as joint swelling due to arthritis in mice.
This suggests people could use CBD for arthritis pain, but further research on humans is needed to confirm those results.
CBD and Neuropathic Pain
Neuropathic pain is pain resulting from damage to the body’s somatosensory nervous system. It’s often associated with pain caused by normally non-painful stimuli or by abnormal sensations known as dysesthesia.
A 2017 review in the Journal of Anesthesia & Analgesic revealed that cannabidiol could help reduce neuropathic pain in humans. The researchers examined eleven randomized controlled trials involving 1,219 patients. Howbeit, further research is still needed for us to comprehend how CBD acts on neuropathic pain.
CBD and Cancer Pain
Cannabidiol is also used by people to relieve cancer pain. A recent report by the National Cancer Institute has listed CBD among the potential options for minimizing side effects of chemotherapy such as:
- Lack of appetite
- Hair loss
- Mouth sores
CBD and Inflammation
Inflammation is simply the process by which the body fights against any invading agent that harms it, such as infections and toxins, so as to heal itself. In such a case, the body releases certain chemicals that often trigger a counter response from the immune system.
The whole process involves the release of particular antibodies to fight the foreign agents, and this could last for several hours or even days. Chronic inflammation occurs when this response persists, thus leaving the body in a continuous state of alert. With time, this condition can cause harmful effects on body organs and tissues.
Common symptoms of chronic inflammation are:
- Abdominal pain
- Chest pain
- Mouth sores
These symptoms range from mild to severe, and may last for years if not properly treated.
A study suggests that chronic inflammation may play a big role in serious health conditions like asthma and cancer.
Causes of inflammation include:
- Autoimmune disorders
- Long exposure to chemical irritants or pollutants
- Chronic stress
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Untreated infection or injury
Anti-inflammatory Properties of CBD
Whereas inflammation helps us to heal faster after damage or injury, chronic inflammation may harm vital organs of the body. It often leads to more pain, anxiety, and depression.
But cannabidiol has shown great potential as a plant-based, natural anti-inflammatory agent with little or no side effects.
In fact, a number of studies involving animal models have shown the ability of CBD to reduce inflammation and chronic pain.
For example, a 2017 report showed the effects of cannabidiols on male rats with osteoarthritis. After 14 days, it was observed that acute inflammation was reduced by applying topical cannabidiol on the affected area. The researchers also found out that CBD treatment minimized the development of joint pain and nerve damage.
There are ongoing attempts to extend these experiments to humans for us to get the accurate picture of how effective CBD could treat muscle pain and inflammation.
Here is a fitness tip! If you experience post-workout fatigue, try to avoid taking painkillers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen. While these drugs do well for problems like inflammation, they are not very effective after a workout. In fact, some experts warn that using these drugs can actually hinder muscle development. If possible, try and stick to a hot shower and a good stretch to ease your soreness and incorporate all-natural CBD products to help assist in your inflammation.
If you injure yourself while exercising, it is important to ice the injured area. Ice helps reduce inflammation and can numb a degree of the pain. You want to make sure that you are icing the injury long enough that your muscle is soothed, but not so long that you cause frostbite to your skin. 15-20 minutes has been proven to be an ideal icing time frame.
Side Effects of CBD
CBD is well tolerated by most people, but there could be a few side effects.
According to a Report on Consumer Health published by the Mayo Clinic, some potential side effects of CBD use can include:
- Dry mouth
- Upset stomach
- Loss of appetite
- Change in weight
In addition, CBD can interact with other medications, such as:
- Prescription medications
- Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs
- Dietary supplements
Caution must be taken if your medication come with a “grapefruit warning” sign. CBD and grapefruit often act similarly to disrupt drug metabolism in humans. Therefore, you need to first consult with your physician before taking any medication with CBD products.
It is possible to speed up recovery time from a particularly hard workout. The day after your hard workout, incorporate a technique known as active recovery by lightly exercising the same muscles. Use weights which are about forty percent of your max weight and do two sets of twenty-five repetitions. This will help to deliver nutrients and blood to muscles to help them recover at a faster rate.
As you begin to recover from a painful muscle injury or strain, gradually increase the intensity and duration of your recovery workout rather than jumping right back into your previous workout routine. This is when CBD shines is in assisting with Recovery whether it is pain, soreness or inflammation.
Always remember, that one of the best forms of recovery is quality sleep. If you require a sleep aid, try our RECOVER CBD Tincture and use sixty minutes before bed for a calming, mind easing and non-sedative sleep aid.
From the foregoing, it’s clear that there is enough scientific literature and anecdotal evidence that suggests CBD for treating muscle pain and inflammation.
Nevertheless, it’s very important for us to remember that most of those studies are based on animal research, and more works still need to be done to fully understand how CBD works in human bodies. Hence, the need for us to be circumspect and follow the physicians’ instructions on using CBD for muscle pain and inflammation.
Champions + Legends RECOVER Series is specifically formulated to support active recovery of post-workout aches, pains, and inflammation, by leveraging the science of full-spectrum CBD across the product range. Regular use as part of your active recovery routine can promote blood flow, muscle repair, and support a deeper, more restful sleep. So, whether you’re targeting specific painful joints or sore muscles with a muscle cream or rub, or simply supplementing your evening routine with a dose of tincture or pre-bedtime softgel, the long-lasting effects of CBD will pay dividends in your day-to-day recovery and support your pursuit of excellence both physically and mentally.