Many gym and fitness enthusiasts are using CBD oil for weightlifting and muscle recovery. But does it really help? We reveal the science-based truth here… as well as… Recent studies have examined how CBD oil can benefit bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts, and the results are quite promising. Learn more.
CBD Oil for Bodybuilding & Recovery
A Look into the Pros & Cons
If you’ve walked into a health shop, a vape store, or you follow too many Instagram influencers, then chances are you’ve heard about the wonderful world of CBD oil.
But did you know that many gym and fitness enthusiasts are using CBD oil for weightlifting? Let’s take a look at why.
And no, you won’t be stoned at the gym.
What Is CBD Oil?
CBD Oil comes from marijuana and hemp plants, specifically the sativa version of the plants. These are the same plants that are often used for recreational/medical marijuana and hemp products.
These plants produce compounds called “cannabinoids” – 2 of which are very popular. The first type is called THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) which is the psychoactive part of marijuana that gets you “high” or “stoned” depending on your choice of lingo. (1)
However, the second type is called CBD (cannabidiol), and this does not have any “high” effects.
In fact, it’s usually extracted from hemp plants which are bred to have a THC content of less than 0.3%.
In other words, you could get a tiny, tiny bit high from using CBD oils, but nowhere near enough to get your feet off the ground.
Is CBD Oil Good For Bodybuilding?
CBD oil is good for bodybuilding and muscle growth in the sense that it eases inflammation, helps with muscle recovery, and reduces pain after workouts.
This makes it easier for you to increase your muscle mass without putting your body under too much stress. The naturally relaxing and anti-inflammatory effects of CBD help your muscles to recover more quickly, thus promoting steady muscle growth.
When you get home after your session at the gym, CBD products also help with sleep and reduce anxiety levels, so you can rest more easily. (2)
Essentially, CBD products have many of the “chill out” effects associated with recreational and medical marijuana, but without the high. This means that you can use them throughout the day as it suits your plans.
How Does CBD Help With Muscle Recovery?
During a weightlifting session, if you push yourself and try to increase your muscle mass, you may notice muscle soreness and pain.
This is caused by microscopic damage to your muscle fibers which needs to be repaired.
Recent studies have found that those who use CBD can reduce inflammation following exercise and even improve mobility in people with multiple sclerosis. (3) It also helps to reduce pain following exercise and it’s anti-catabolic properties ensure you can build muscle more steadily.
Moreover, CBD can help to regulate your catabolic hormones, as incorrect amounts of catabolic hormones can lead to too much cortisol in your body, making it harder for your muscle mass to increase.
Furthermore, research has shown that cannabinoids have antispasmodic properties, meaning that they reduce muscle spasms following a painful new workout at the gym.
Personal Trainer Tara Laferrara also noticed a “big difference in infalmmation and stress” after her workouts when taking this supplement. At first, taking CBD to lower cortisol levels sounded nice only on paper, but I needed more convincing. That’s until I saw this video about how CBD oil helps in muscle recovery and pain relief according to expert opinion.
Can CBD Help With Weight Loss Too?
Unless you can’t stave off the munchies, CBD can help with weight loss by boosting your metabolism and reducing your appetite in the long term.
It also encourages more “brown fat” within your body. This refers to the type of fat that our bodies use for heat energy. Essentially, it’s fat which is quite healthy and good for us. (4)
Results from new studies also suggest that marijuana users tend to weigh less than non-marijuana users.
When you think about people who partake in the smoking of the cannabis plant (i.e. stoners), you probably picture them eating 50 bags of Doritos a night, but alas they are defying the clichés.
Of course, CBD oil is not the same as marijuana, but CBD is still present in regular weed, so it’s likely to play a part in this weight loss relationship, whether it’s due to behavioral factors or chemical factors.
We found that [marijuana] users, even those who just started, were more likely to be at a normal, healthier weight and stay at that weight. Only 15% of persistent users were considered obese compared to 20% of non-users.
– Omayma Alshaarawy, Fitness Author
What Are The Health Benefits Of CBD Oil?
There are many benefits of CBD oil aside from bodybuilding, whether you’re trying to regulate your blood sugar levels or improve your sleep and diet. Let’s look at some of the main health benefits in more detail.
1. Pain Relief – Similarly to medical marijuana, it’s thought that CBD supplements can help to reduce chronic pain. Current evidence is quite anecdotal, but it seems promising and researchers are optimistic. Using CBD oil for muscle building can potentially reduce post-workout pain significantly.
2. Anti-Inflammatory – It appears that CBD products can have significant anti-inflammatory effects, helping bodybuilders and fitness fans to exercise their socks off without suffering from too much inflammation afterward.
3. Reduce Depression And Anxiety – Research has shown that CBD can help to reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety, hence calming the minds of people with these conditions. As an anxiety sufferer myself, I noticed a huge difference when I started putting CBD oil in my vape. I also weaned myself off of nicotine addiction, which was an added bonus in the health department.
4. Improved Heart Health – Due largely to its relaxing effects which reduce stress and anxiety, CBD could help to reduce high blood pressure and therefore improve heart health. Stress is intrinsically linked to high blood pressure, so bringing down stress has positive physical effects on the body.
5. Neurological Treatment – Along with medical cannabis, CBD is thought to be able to assist people with neurological conditions such as epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.
6. Acne Reduction – Because of CBD’s ability to better regulate the sebum levels that our skin naturally produces, it can help to reduce skin conditions like acne, eczema, and sensitive skin. (5)
7. May Reduce Cancer – Just to be clear, there is no conclusive evidence that CBD definitely reduces cancer. However, there are some studies that are pointing in the right direction. For example, one study indicated that cannabis users had a 45% less chance of developing bladder cancer than non-smokers. It’s not a smoking gun, but it’s optimistic.
CBD Oil and Bodybuilding – August 2022
Can CBD Oil help with bodybuilding, and if so, how?
Recent studies have examined how CBD oil can benefit bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts, and the results are quite promising.
While more research needs to be conducted, current science suggests that CBD oil has properties that may help with bodybuilding.
CBD for Muscle Growth
A study published in the Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research showed CBD’s anti-catabolic properties that enable it to help regulate hormone levels in the body (1 ) .
By taking CBD oil, cortisol levels are kept at bay, allowing for increased muscle growth and protein synthesis throughout a workout or bodybuilding routine.
CBD’s anti-catabolic properties may also allow for the slow breakdown of muscle mass and help athletes to build more muscle.
In addition to lowering the levels of catabolic hormones, CBD may indirectly boost muscle growth by improving stamina.
When individuals are able to spend more time lifting or bodybuilding without the muscles getting fatigued, they see results from their hard work faster.
CBD for Weight Management
CBD can also be beneficial to people who are trying to lose weight. In a 2008 animal study published in the PLOS One Journal , it was shown that CBD inhibits a receptor in the brain so that ghrelin, which stimulates the appetite, is unable to act (2 ) .
A study published in Nature Journal has shown that CBD could increase the levels of leptin in the brain (3 ) .
Leptin is the hormone that makes an individual feel full or satiated. The reduced cravings for unhealthy, calorie-dense foods may help individuals achieve their weight loss goals fast.
In another study, researchers found that CBD might interfere with the secretion of cortisol, reducing blood levels significantly (4 ) .
Chronic stress and persistently high cortisol levels may be associated with increased appetite and weight gain (5 ) .
CBD for Muscle Recovery
Working out can cause microscopic damage to muscle fibers. Those muscles then become inflamed, which triggers the body to respond and repair, causing muscle soreness or stiffness (6 ) .
Studies have shown that CBD might reduce soreness and swelling by inhibiting inflammation. Also, CBD might help with pain as the body recovers from an intense workout.
CBD’s promising anti-inflammatory properties were also demonstrated in a 2018 study published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (7 ) .
In addition, CBD may also reduce muscle spasms, a feature of neuropathic damage which often manifests in painful, uncontrolled muscle twitches (8 ) .
CBD for Improved Sleep
The best training routine, diet, and supplement program can never compensate for insufficient rest. Sleep is essential for everyone, especially for active individuals.
Sleep affects almost every tissue in the body, says Dr. Michael Twery, a sleep expert at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It impacts growth and stress hormones, the immune system , appetite, breathing, blood pressure, and cardiovascular health (9 ) .
A study published in Pharmaceuticals (Basel) in 2012 compared CBD with a sleep aid called nitrazepam (10 ) . The authors found that high-dose CBD at 160 milligrams increased the subject’s duration of sleep.
Similarly, a 2017 study published in the Current Psychiatry Reports noted that at moderate to high doses, CBD might have therapeutic potential for the treatment of insomnia (11 ) .
CBD for Reduced Stress and Anxiety
In general, training and workouts can reduce stress. Exercise can provide psychological benefits that can help improve physical health. The stress reaction can be a survival tool, helping to keep the body healthy and the mind alert.
On the other hand, chronic stress can bring devastating effects. It can cause the body to produce too much cortisol and adrenaline, resulting in anxiety , poor concentration, irritability, and low self-esteem.
Fortunately, CBD has been shown to possess antidepressant and anti-anxiety properties that may help reduce stress and anxiety.
In a 2019 study published in The Permanente Journal , sleep and anxiety scores were measured in human subjects, and the findings showed that CBD could hold benefits for anxiety-related disorders (12 ) .
Meanwhile, researchers of a 2019 study , published in the Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry, looked at CBD’s effects on anxiety and stress.
The study demonstrated that CBD might help reduce the response to stre ssful environmental factors when given in the optimal dosage (13 ) .
Using CBD might benefit bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts during high-intensity workouts and recovery periods.
CBD has also been shown to possess therapeutic properties that might help individuals get a restful sleep, reduce anxiety level, manage weight, and recover from soreness and muscle damage.
Still, a consultation with a doctor experienced in cannabis use is essential before using CBD to help with bodybuilding goals.