Muscle pain is one of the primary causes of workout downtimes. With sore muscles, it’s almost impossible to maintain a consistent workout routine. When faced with muscle pain and inflammation, many fitness buffs and professional athletes tend to look in the direction of conventional opioids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). While these medications may relieve pain and inflammation to some extent, they’re infamous for leaving the user nursing a series of adverse effects.
Fortunately, cannabidiol (CBD) has emerged as one of the most effective substances for relieving muscle pain, inflammation, and soreness. But what is CBD, and what role does it play in escalating muscle recovery? Read on to find out.
Cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive chemical that occurs naturally in the cannabis plant. CBD is one of the 113 medically beneficial compounds in cannabis, which carries many of the plant’s therapeutic properties. These compounds are also known as cannabinoids or phytocannabinoids.
After harvesting cannabis, the raw materials go through further processing in a CBD distillery or other processing plant. The extraction method used mostly depends on the distillery. But as you shall find, high-quality CBD is obtained through a technique called Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Extraction. CBD extracted using the CO2 method can be up to 99% pure.
The extracted CBD is then formulated into a variety of products, including oral tinctures and edible, inhalable, and topical products. Consumers get to choose CBD products depending on their preferred delivery method. When it comes to muscle recovery, the product you choose depends on your trying to treat the specific condition. For instance, localized muscle inflammation would be better off relieved using CBD-enriched salves, whereas edibles and tinctures would be ideal for managing generalized pain.
1. CBD can treat pain
Since the discovery of cannabidiol in the 1940s, the substance has been widely popularized for its potent analgesic properties. CBD’s pain-relieving benefits are expressed in the endocannabinoid system.
Now, the endocannabinoid system refers to a complex cell-signaling system that plays a crucial role in regulating the body’s homeostatic balance and boosting immunity. The system is heavily involved in various vital processes within the body, including pain relief.
Cannabidiol treats pain by impacting the activity of specific pain-regulating endocannabinoid receptors, such as the transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 (TRPV1) receptor. CBD also increases anandamide signaling, a mechanism that contributes significantly to pain relief. Anandamide is one of the body’s endogenous cannabinoids with several healing properties, including relief from pain and anxiety.
2. CBD can attenuate DOMS
DOMS refers to the unbearable pain experienced several hours following strenuous workouts. DOMS is common among people with erratic workout schedules. Although it usually goes away on its own, DOMS can set you back with your workouts while it lasts.
Thankfully, you do not have to think about your workouts suffering unnecessary downtimes on account of DOMS. Not when you can integrate CBD-infused fitness supplements into your exercise routine. Because of its pain-relieving properties, cannabidiol can shorten or delay DOMS, helping you to maintain consistency in your workouts.
3. CBD may relieve muscle tension
Muscle tension usually results from DOMS. And since CBD is effective against DOMS, it, therefore, goes that you can also use the substance to relieve muscle tension. However, muscle tension might also result from other causes that are entirely unrelated to your workouts. Whatever the reason, the pressure could trigger or aggravate muscle pain.
One of the common ways to relieve muscle tension is by using muscle relaxants like benzodiazepines. However, benzodiazepines are infamous for their ability to induce side effects, such as disorientation, sedation, depression, drowsiness, and trembling.
If you’re looking for an all-natural way to relieve muscle tension, your best bet is to consider cannabidiol. Plain Jane CBD as a potent vasodilator can ease muscle tension by dilating the blood vessels around the tensed muscles, allowing enough oxygen and nutrients to flow to the target sites.
4. CBD may alleviate inflammation
Inflammation is another characteristic side effect of engaging in intensive workouts. It’s usually one of the body’s first lines of defense against the presence of foreign substances. Inflammation could also result from an injury to a tissue or muscle, as is the case during workouts. Generally, the actual swelling occurs due to fluid buildup resulting from an increase in oxygen and nutrients to the affected areas.
Although it’s naturally a positive response, inflammation can cause severe collateral damage if allowed to run its course. And that’s where CBD comes in. Numerous studies have cited CBD for its anti-inflammatory properties, making the substance an effective remedy against exercise-induced inflammation. CBD can mostly alleviate inflammation by inhibiting some of the body’s core inflammatory messenger activity. So far, cannabidiol is the best natural alternative to common NSAID medications like aspirin and ibuprofen.
5. CBD can boost your sleep
Many fitness experts recommend sleeping for at least eight hours every night. Indeed, sleep is crucial to your workout goals, as it’s during sleep that your body heals and repairs damaged muscles in readiness for the day ahead. But regardless of how crucial it is, sleep can also be quite elusive.
CBD is one of the best remedies against sleep disorders like insomnia. The substance boosts sleep by shortening your sleep latency while prolonging sleep duration.
Another way CBD relieves insomnia is by eliminating or shortening rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Remember, most dreams occur during REM sleep. And while many dreams promote sound sleep, we cannot say the same about nightmares. So, by reducing REM sleep, cannabidiol minimizes the number of dreams you have, translating to more restful sleep.
Finally, CBD might relieve some of the common medical conditions that often trigger or occur alongside insomnia. Examples include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and REM behavior disorder (RBD). RBD refers to a sleep disorder in which a person acts out their dreams.
Cannabidiol is highly useful in treating muscle recovery and pain. Unlike conventional medications, CBD generally presents milder side effects. So, if you’re yet to integrate CBD into your workout routine, now is the time to make that critical decision. However, remember that cannabidiol has no ideal dose. Most importantly, note that, like other marijuana extracts, CBD remains illegal in many countries worldwide. So, establish the legality of CBD in your specific jurisdiction before using CBD-based products for muscle recovery or other purposes.