Can CBD Oil Help You Get More Out of Your Workouts?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Chances are you've used plenty of different oils—to add flavor to your food, to moisturize your hair and skin, and maybe even to infuse your home with delicious aromas. But there's one oil you may not be familiar with: cannabidiol oil, more commonly known as CBD oil. Although it's not entirely mainstream (yet), this substance is firing up controversy in some health and fitness circles. While some fitness professionals are skeptical of its risks and legality, many people claim that CBD oil helps to enhance not only their workouts, but their overall wellness.

What Is CBD Oil?

CBD oil comes from the compound cannabinoids, which is found in the cannabis sativa plant. Yes, that's the same plant that produces marijuana—but that doesn't mean CBD oil will alter your state of mind in any way. The "high" that marijuana causes comes not from CBD, but from the active ingredient delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD is the same, non-psychoactive part of the plant that can be used to produce hemp.

Taking CBD Before and After Workouts

Given CBD's inherent anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, it's not surprising that it's become popular as a fitness enhancer. Janice Newell Bissex, MS, RDN, a holistic cannabis practitioner and culinary nutritionist with Jannabis Wellness, confirms that CBD offers a range of benefits for fitness enthusiasts.
Most people prefer to use CBD after a workout to aid in recovery and to ease soreness. Because it's a vasodilator, it opens up the blood vessels and increases blood flow to the muscles, which promotes strength and recovery, Bissex notes. It's also been touted as an antispasmodic, which means it helps to reduce the muscle spasms that can occur after a strenuous exercise session. Using CBD after working out can help to alleviate muscle pain and soreness, aid in relaxation and decrease inflammation.
Others take CBD before exercise to help them stay focused and energized. The compound also helps to reduce the level of cortisol in the body. Also known as the "stress hormone," cortisol breaks down muscle tissue and prevents muscle growth—obviously not the goal of any workout. Studies have shown that CBD can prevent the cortisol from building up, making it easier to achieve a strong, lean physique.    
Originally, the World Doping Agency—which regulates the use of substances in sports—had banned the use of CBD by professional athletes, but in 2017 that ban was removed.

Other Potential Health Benefits

In lieu of taking prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications, many chronic pain sufferers have turned to CBD for relief. Some studies have found it to be a more natural way to alleviate pain, stiffness and inflammation without side effects.
CBD has been shown to help suppress the growth of cancer cells and prevent them from spreading. Some studies have also suggested that the compound may alleviate symptoms in people suffering from anxiety. Plus, it could serve as a natural treatment for diabetics by reducing inflammation in the pancreas, which is a direct cause of Type 1 diabetes.
What's more, preliminary research has suggested that CBD could slow down loss of facial recognition during the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, and it has also been shown to prevent seizures in those suffering from epilepsy and other neuropsychiatric disorders.

How to Take CBD         

There are several different ways to ingest CBD. The tincture form is the liquid oil, which can be added to food or drink. Bissex says it can also be placed under the tongue for one to two minutes for direct absorption into the bloodstream. CBD oil provides quick relief, typically within 10 to 15 minutes.
CBD can also be taken orally, in a pill or edible form. This type takes a little longer to work, an hour or more. To decrease pain and inflammation, you can apply CBD topically in a cream form; Bissex says this usually provides relief in five to 10 minutes.
Other options include a transdermal patch, which is placed on the ankle or wrist and provides slow-release, long-lasting relief, or inhalation using a vape pen, which starts working in under five minutes.
Because people have different results and reactions to CBD, it's not a "one size fits all" supplement. The amount that works for your cousin, co-worker or gym cohort may not meet your needs. Start out slow, experiment with different doses to determine what works best depending on your goal. However you choose to consume CBD, it's best to speak with your doctor or healthcare expert before adding it to your daily regimen.

Common Myths About CBD Oil

Myth: Because CBD is made from cannabis, it can get you high.
Fact: Most CBD oils are made from hemp, which has less than 0.3 percent THC. According to Bissex, CBD is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid that will not make you high like THC, another cannabinoid in cannabis.
Myth: CBD is addictive.
Fact: After months of research, the World Health Organization released a report in 2017 stating that CBD is "nonaddictive and nontoxic," so you don't have to worry about becoming physically dependent on it.
Myth: All CBD is the same, so you should just buy the cheapest one online.
Fact: All CBD is not created equal, and there is a wide range of quality being sold, Bissex notes. She suggests looking for organically grown, whole-plant products from the USA, and to check for the extraction method—many companies use solvents (hexane and butane) to extract the CBD from the plant, which she avoids. "Ask for independent lab test results of any CBD product," Bissex recommends. "And buy from a company you trust."
Myth: CBD is illegal.
Fact: Well, this one is both a myth and a fact. Technically, since CBD is derived from hemp (cannabis), it is considered a Schedule 1 controlled substance. However, the 2014 Farm Bill contains a provision that says industrial hemp can be harvested for pilot programs conducting research. So far, 40 states have these pilot programs in effect. So if someone from one of those states is selling CBD oil, it's legal—but if they live in one of the 10 states that haven't yet passed a pilot program to produce hemp, it's technically against the law. Most CBD products should specify on the label whether they were produced in a Farm Bill-compliant state.

What to Know Before You Try It

Although CBD is a very low-risk, plant-based medicine, Bissex points out that there are some small potential side effects. Some people report experiencing some fatigue, dry mouth and vivid dreams, but these are typically lessened after a couple of weeks. CBD may also increase or decrease the effectiveness of certain medications, so check with a health professional before pairing it with an existing prescription.

If you're considering trying CBD oil—whether to relieve soreness after exercise or to treat other symptoms—it's always best to talk to your doctor first, and to check the laws in your state.

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DGRIFFITH51 9/13/2020
I used CBD oil, under my tongue, after surgery and it gave me enough relief. The doctor had prescribed a pain medication that upsets my stomach. Report
ARNETTELEE 8/27/2020
thanks Report
Great to know. Report
DEE107 7/3/2020
thanks Report
SPICY23 2/26/2020
I just read the ‘Can CBD Oil Help You Get More Out of Your Workouts?’ article and I am appalled. The article is misleading and potentially dangerous for Spark People if they choose to follow its suggestions.
For instance, the statement about its effect on cortisol: if you follow the link to the cited reference, a science based abstract, the results are the opposite of what this article claims. This article says CBD oil “also helps to reduce the level of cortisol in the body… Studies have shown that CBD can prevent the cortisol from building up, making it easier to achieve a strong, lean physique.’ The data in the cited reference however shows that CBD oil prevents the normal, circadian rhythm controlled, decrease in cortisol. The CBD oil maintained higher levels of cortisol compared to placebo, interfering with it’s normal reduction.
It also states CBD oil is a vasodilator which could be dangerous for anyone with blood pressure or heart issues. There have been a few studies and many anecdotes that suggest that any particular CBD formulation which has pain control properties will also show THC activity, else it wouldn’t work for pain control. The only FDA approved use, to date, is for seizure control.
The best part of the article is the point about consulting with your medical provider before trying these largely unregulated and non-standardized products as well as checking the legal status where you are. But think about this: ‘the 2014 Farm Bill contains a provision that says industrial hemp can be harvested for pilot programs conducting research’ making CBD ‘legal’ in states that have created such programs. Do you want to be a research subject? I doubt that the industrial hemp produced with these programs is being used for ‘research’ since it is flooding the markets in multitudes of formulations and preparations. I would strongly recommend caution, to all my Spark Friends. Wait until better information is available. Need I mention the e-cigarette crisis?
Be well Sparklers. Just because things are natural, doesn’t mean they are safe.

Peace and Care
I love CBD oil... when I can afford it. *lol* The high grade stuff I use is close to $50 a bottle, but with it I sleep well and my anxiety is reduced. I haven't tried it for pain, but I will look into it next time my hands start acting up. Report
RAPUNZEL53 1/14/2020
Interesting Report
PROVERBS31JULIA 12/11/2019
I've been using CBD oil and it does seem to help me... I've tried several brands... I'm using one now that seems to be better tasting and more effective than some of the other brands. Report
NELLJONES 11/25/2019
This stuff still makes me nervous. Report
Make sure you get the CBD labeled "full spectrum " if it is not full spectrum expect zero results. I have chronic pain and 5 drops 3x a day under my tongue works wonders! Report
I use CBD patches, creams, and pills to help with my chronic pain. The only CBD products people should use are 3rd party tested for purity and effectiveness. Everyone reacts differently so just because it works for one person doesn't mean it will work for you. Also just because it DOESN'T work for someone doesn't mean it wont work for you. Start with a cream from a reputable business for joint or muscle pain. Report
Thank you Melissa Rudy for sharing this information. I enjoyed reading and learning about CBD oil. I have been leery of trying it but I have a friend who usses it and sells it. So again I thank you for educating me on it. Report
Placebo affect, not worth what I had to spend! Baloney! Report
not for me Report
If you are in a safety sensitive job that has random drug tests, do NOT use. They report it's only 3% and you won't get high. HOWEVER with today's drug tests that want 0% trace, you can/will cause a false positive. I have a friend who is a bus driver and she tested positive. She has NEVER smoked or eaten it. In public transportation, the CDL license require NO trace what so ever. Be very careful. Just because it's only a trace, it will give a positive result on pee test. Report
After I check with my doctor, I am going to try it for arthritis pain. Report
I think its effectiveness depends on the user, we're all different. Report
I purchased it, but haven't notice anything major happening with it. Report
Interesting info Report
Thanks Report
Never heard of that...Thank you Report
Thank you for the info! Report
I have lupus erythematosus and CBD pills got me off 180 tramadol a month. I recommend it to anyone with anyone with chronic pain. I tried the tincture but it upset my stomach too much. I also like the topical rubs for sore joints and muscles. Report
Three of us gals in their 70’s have been trying the oil, for arthritis pain, no relief, tried the pills, some relief, but no better than Tylenol..... Report
My husband takes 4 drops a day for relapses of Ross River Virus a mosquito virus in Australia. Since taking it, with his Doctors blessing, he has had no relapses. He is now in the best health since he first contracted the virus 10years ago. he is 81. Report
I've never heard of CBD. Learned something new today Report
I have been considering using CBD. Thanks for the article. Report
Interesting article! Report
Interesting article! Report
Interesting article! Report
My question is how to make it not smell so badly? I got a very potent product at my local health food store, and -- wow. The smell. Report
This like any product, will effect different people in different ways. I am interesting in learning more and possibly trying some. Report
I would like to see some repeatable research based studies first Report
This article is full of inaccurate information. If you look at the actual research, it clearly states there is no benefits to athletes using CBD oil. No help recovering, no lessening of soreness, no advantages. This points to old research that the people trying to push CBD oil have resurrected incorrectly stating the research proves it helps when the research clearly states it does not. Unfortunately sparkpeople and others just repeat the inaccurate information. Shame on you sparkpeople for spreading false information to people seriously interested in fitness. Report
My husband just recently got me some CBS oil for my chronic back pain and it really helps. I was taking so many pain pills and muscle relaxers I could barely stay awake, I still take them once in a while when I'm really hurting but other than that I'll use the CBD oil. Report
Great info to know! Thank you for this one! Report
Always finding new ways to put drugs into your system! Report
Interesting replys from readers. Don't think I would try it. Report
Thanks for the info. Report
Interesting and something that is increasingly popping up in local stores! Report
Interesting and something that is increasingly popping up in local stores! Report
Great Information Report
After reading all I could about cbd oil use with insulin resistance I started using it. I sleep like a rock and my menstrual cycle is straightening out. I can't take the Pill because it messes with my BP; the cbd is working without the gnarly side effects. Report
Interesting Report
I was taking 180 tramadol a month for lupus and fibromyalgia.i kept falling down and was in a constant brain fog I got my medical marijuana license and now I am down to just a couple naproxen a month. I take CBD oil and edibles. I have more energy and I've lost over 50 pounds because I can exercise without so. Much pain. I also feel more like my old self. I know not everyone will have the same results but for me it was life changing! Report
Very interesting. My daughter in law just got the pilot program started in Russell KS Report
Great info!

I hurt my back very badly while moving into my new home. I could hardly walk by because the pain was so bad. A coworker gave me some CBD oil to put on my back, and it worked wonderfully! Report
Thanks for the info! Report
Not here - not until there's more research into it. Report
Very interest in gel and cream. Thanks for info Report