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.
How To Use CBD To Help Manage Pain
Dr. Bindiya Gandhi is an integrative medicine physician with expertise in functional and holistic medicine based in Atlanta, Georgia.
Commissions we earn from partner links on this page do not affect our opinions or evaluations. Our editorial content is based on thorough research and guidance from the Forbes Health Advisory Board.
Table of Contents
- CBD for Pain Relief
- CBD for Chronic Pain
- CBD for Arthritis and Joint Pain
- CBD for Neuropathic Pain
Without the intoxicating properties of its cousin delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD) can provide the human body with a handful of health benefits. Cannabinoids like CBD interact with receptors in the endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in signaling bodily functions, from emotional responses to motor control to energy balance  Mouslech Z, Valla V. Endocannabinoid system: An overview of its potential in current medical practice. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2009;30(2):153-179. .
Over the last two decades, scientists have tested CBD’s efficacy as an analgesic, or painkiller, specifically—and with promising results. While research is ongoing, here’s what we know so far about how we can use CBD oil for pain relief.
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CBD for Pain Relief
For now, no CBD-based medications are approved as painkillers in the U.S. Epidiolex, which is used for rare forms of epilepsy, is the only CBD treatment approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Meanwhile, several countries have approved CBD to treat certain conditions. For instance, the U.K. approved it for multiple sclerosis, and Canada approved it for cancer pain. Ongoing research suggests CBD oil for pain can aid medical conditions, including arthritis and fibromyalgia, at varying doses. Some pain may not be treatable by CBD alone, but it can help when paired with THC or Western medication applications.
Interestingly, 60% of U.S. adults who use CBD products do so for its potential pain-relieving effects, according to a recent Forbes Health survey of 2,000 U.S. adults conducted by OnePoll.
What’s more, 60% of U.S. adults have tried CBD and believe it has medicinal benefits.
CBD for Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is defined as any pain lasting longer than several months. Studies have found CBD, often alongside THC, to be an effective pain reliever for various chronic conditions.
In clinical trials, Sativex, a spray with equal parts CBD and THC, proved significantly successful as an analgesic for cancer-related pain  Russo EB. Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain. Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2008;4(1):245-259. . The spray, also used for multiple sclerosis-related pain, is approved in Canada to treat cancer pain and is currently undergoing trials for approval and use in the U.S.
A 2019 study found Sativex to be an “effective and well-tolerated add-on treatment” for patients with severe chronic pain stemming from various ailments. The study identified three types of pain: nociceptive (affecting body tissue), neuropathic (affecting nerves) and mixed pain. Sativex helped treat all three kinds but proved especially effective against neuropathic pain.
An earlier study also found CBD to be effective in chronic pain relief for conditions like multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury, although across a much smaller sample size  Wade DT, Robson P, House H, Makela P, Aram J. A preliminary controlled study to determine whether whole-plant cannabis extracts can improve intractable neurogenic symptoms. Clin Rehabil. 2003;17(1):21-29. .
CBD for Arthritis and Joint Pain
Arthritis is a broad term that encompasses hundreds of joint-related conditions and pains. Common symptoms include swelling, pain and stiffness in the joints and may progress over time.
Already a proven analgesic for other conditions, CBD shows promise as an anti-inflammatory substance in both animal and preclinical trials, which bodes well for arthritis treatment  Nichols JM, Kaplan BLF. Immune Responses Regulated by Cannabidiol. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2020;5(1):12-31.  Mlost J, Bryk M, Starowicz K. Cannabidiol for Pain Treatment: Focus on Pharmacology and Mechanism of Action. Int J Mol Sci. 2020;21(22):8870.  Kosgodage US, Mould R, Henley AB, et al. Cannabidiol (CBD) Is a Novel Inhibitor for Exosome and Microvesicle (EMV) Release in Cancer. Front Pharmacol. 2018;9:889.  Lowin T, Tingting R, Zurmahr J, Classen T, Schneider M, Pongratz G. Cannabidiol (CBD): a killer for inflammatory rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts. Cell Death Dis. 2020;11(8):714. . However, clinical research dedicated to CBD administration for arthritis is less robust and ongoing.
The first controlled trial conducted in 2006 focused on patients with rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the joints and other affected areas  Blake DR, Robson P, Ho M, Jubb RW, McCabe CS. Preliminary assessment of the efficacy, tolerability and safety of a cannabis-based medicine (Sativex) in the treatment of pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2006;45(1):50-52. . Researchers found that, compared to a placebo, Sativex significantly improved participants’ pain during movement, pain at rest and quality of sleep. Any adverse reactions to the treatment were mild or moderate, and there were no complications with withdrawal.
In 2018 researchers tested the efficacy of topical CBD gel on participants with osteoarthritis-related knee pain over the course of 12 weeks  Hunter D, Oldfield G, Tich N, Messenheimer J, Sebree T. Synthetic transdermal cannabidiol for the treatment of knee pain due to osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage. 2018;26:S26. . Participants used either 250 milligrams or 500 milligrams, split into two applications, daily. Overall, participants’ weekly pain levels didn’t improve much with CBD compared to placebo. However, when researchers evaluated the average weekly worst pain scores and Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Arthritis Index (WOMAC) physical function scores, participants who applied 250 milligrams of CBD daily experienced significant improvement over placebo participants.
Meanwhile, a small 2019 trial suggests a mix of CBD and THC may prove beneficial for people with fibromyalgia, a type of arthritis that results in whole-body pain and fatigue  van de Donk T, Niesters M, Kowal MA, Olofsen E, Dahan A, van Velzen M. An experimental randomized study on the analgesic effects of pharmaceutical-grade cannabis in chronic pain patients with fibromyalgia. Pain. 2019;160(4):860-869. . The study found that, via a single inhalation, a CBD-THC solution performed better than a placebo and either substance on its own.
CBD for Neuropathic Pain
Various conditions and injuries that damage nerves or the nervous system can result in neuropathic pain. This kind of pain manifests as tingling, numbness, muscle weakness and a sharp, shooting, burning or stabbing pain.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a common cause of neuropathic pain. The disease wears down myelin, a mixture of proteins and phospholipids that coats nerve cells. Sativex is already approved as an MS treatment around the world due to its success in clinical trials. As a spray, Sativex is absorbed in the mouth. Studies support a median dose of eight sprays a day for patients with MS, which provides about 20 milligrams of CBD and 21.6 milligrams of THC  Sativex Oromucosal Spray – Summary of Product Characteristics (SmPC). Datapharm. Accessed 7/9/2021. . However, doses vary between patients, and each person needs to find their optimal dose.
A 2020 study also tested topically administered CBD oil as a treatment for patients with peripheral neuropathy, or damage to the peripheral nervous system, which sends information throughout your body from the central nervous system  Xu DH, Cullen BD, Tang M, Fang Y. The Effectiveness of Topical Cannabidiol Oil in Symptomatic Relief of Peripheral Neuropathy of the Lower Extremities. Curr Pharm Biotechnol. 2020;21(5):390-402. . When compared to placebo, the topical CBD significantly reduced patients’ intense pain and sharp pain, as well as cold and itchy sensations.