Athletes from a range of disciplines are emphasising the benefits of incorporating CBD into their recovery routines. Seasoned athletes will use CBD for joint pain, inflammation and muscle relief, with a few famous examples including Nate Diaz who was quoted as saying “ It helps with the healing process and inflammation and stuff like that… you want to get these before and after the fights”, or Larry Chester of the Miami Dolphins who stated “CBD saved my life”.
But how can CBD influence muscle recovery? It is important to note that at this stage research is just that – research. But the results seem promising. A study conducted by the Department of Pathology in the University of South Carolina (which you can read here) found that CBD reduces inflammation by downregulating cytokine, chemokine production and “in some models, upregulate T-regulatory cells as a mechanism to suppress inflammatory responses.”
When you exercise generally muscle hypertrophy is induced. What this means is that exercising causes small micro-tears in the muscle, which the body will then repair and therefore muscle growth is stimulated. However, part of this process can be painful, which is known as “Delayed onset muscle soreness” or DOMS. DOMS can potentially be mitigated by CBD supplementation by helping to reduce the inflammation that occurs after exercise.
What does this mean for athletes?
For athletes looking to enhance their recovery times, CBD may be a supplementation they wish to consider. It is important to remember that at this stage there is only promising research to suggest that CBD has these effects; it is not conclusive and you should always consult a medical practitioner before taking any supplements.
There are several ways that CBD can be absorbed by the system. Options include either taking the CBD orally in the form of oil drops, or as is commonly used by athletes, in the form of a muscle recovery cream which is massaged onto the affected areas.
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