6 Therapeutic Effects of CBD on Muscle Pain, Inflammation, & Recovery
Updated April 14, 2023.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive chemical compound found in the hemp plant. Unlike THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis, CBD doesn’t have mind-altering effects. However, it does have therapeutic effects that influence the body and mind by interacting with the endocannabinoid system, which regulates and controls many critical bodily functions, including appetite, digestion, learning and memory, emotional processing, homeostasis, and sleep
Research suggests that CBD may be effective in treating the following conditions, as well as many others (1):
- Cardiovascular disease
- Multiple sclerosis
Keep reading to discover the potential benefits of using CBD products on muscle pain, inflammation, and recovery.
1. CBD Relaxes Muscles
CBD provides a natural way to achieve muscle relaxation by slowing the activities that cause muscle tension. Research suggests that CBD interacts directly with the endocannabinoid system, affecting the musculoskeletal system (2) and aiding muscle metabolism and oxygen consumption. Additionally, CBD may help prevent the release of neurotransmitters that can cause muscle rigidity and spasm, causing the muscles to relax instead.
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2. Prevents Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness
Intense workouts cause micro damage to the muscle fibres, leading to skeletal inflammation and pain. Since the inflammation and pain take a few days after the exercise to set in, the condition is known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
While DOMS will eventually dissipate, it can limit the performance and effectiveness of planned workouts, one of the signs of overtraining. CBD may alleviate this effect. A recent 2020 study by The International Journal of Physical Education, Sports and Health noted that CBD significantly influences DOMS, limiting its occurrence and allowing individuals to push through the pain of their following workouts (3).
3. Accelerates Muscle Recovery
Often, muscle recovery after activity takes time, as it is an adaptive process that leads to increased muscle strength and stamina. However, CBD provides an alternative that fast-tracks the recovery process.
Evidence suggests that CBD reduces muscle tension and spasm and aids in muscle relaxation (4).
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4. Reduces Inflammation
Another biological process mediated by the intake of CBD is inflammation. Clinical studies suggest that CBD affects endocannabinoid receptors, stimulating the production and release of potassium while blocking calcium release. Invariably, this counteracts the effects of sodium, preventing fluid buildup and swelling, thus reducing inflammation after injury.
A 2017 study found that CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties help treat pain and general inflammatory conditions, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular diseases, inflammatory bowel diseases, and multiple sclerosis (5).
5. Improves Exercise Consistency
Post-exercise fatigue and muscle soreness is the leading cause of inconsistency in exercise performance. By addressing muscle pain, limiting inflammation, and aiding muscle recovery after exercise, CBD may lower the barriers that limit exercise consistency.
Additionally, CBD reduces stress by decreasing any circulating stress hormones like cortisol while prolonging the circulation of serotonin and dopamine, otherwise known as ‘feel-good’ hormones. Consequently, exercise periods will be more enjoyable, increasing the likelihood of consistency with your exercise regimen.
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6. Serves As an Effective Sleep Aid
Multiple studies have shown the effectiveness of CBD as a sleeping aid for many sleep disorders, including insomnia, circadian rhythm disorders, restless leg syndrome, and abnormal REM sleep disorder (1),(2),(3),(4). Indirectly, CBD also may benefit sleep by reducing pain and calming anxiety-causing thoughts.
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Beat the Slump With CBD
As a legal substance in most parts of the world, CBD is supported by relevant regulations and practices. Despite the need for more research into its effects, it appears to be a powerful therapeutic remedy for many conditions, including muscle pain, recovery, soreness, inflammation, and dealing with exercise consistency.