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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ETHELMERZ 10/5/2018
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
RDEE22 10/1/2018
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
CECELW 9/29/2018
I've never heard of CBD. Learned something new today Report
JIACOLO 9/8/2018
I have been considering using CBD. Thanks for the article. Report
NANCYPAT1 8/26/2018
Interesting article! Report
NANCYPAT1 8/26/2018
Interesting article! Report
NANCYPAT1 8/26/2018
Interesting article! Report
SONFLOWER_TX 8/23/2018
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
CHRIS3874 8/22/2018
I would like to see some repeatable research based studies first Report
JANEGSN 8/22/2018
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
QUEENBREEZE1980 8/22/2018
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
KHALIA2 8/14/2018
Great info to know! Thank you for this one! Report
MSROZZIE 7/25/2018
Always finding new ways to put drugs into your system! Report
PWILLOW1 7/25/2018
Interesting replys from readers. Don't think I would try it. Report
ANHELIC 7/24/2018
Thanks for the info. Report
NANCYPAT1 7/24/2018
Interesting and something that is increasingly popping up in local stores! Report
NANCYPAT1 7/24/2018
Interesting and something that is increasingly popping up in local stores! Report
MOONDRAGON29 7/22/2018
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
MBPP50 7/21/2018
Interesting Report
MISSA526 7/21/2018
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
GRANDMASUSAN13 7/20/2018
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
_CYNDY55_ 7/20/2018
Thanks for the info! Report
LADY_HAVOC 7/20/2018
Not here - not until there's more research into it. Report
TEAROSE22 7/20/2018
Very interest in gel and cream. Thanks for info Report
PHEBESS 7/20/2018
I've found it works find for muscle pain (and amazing for menstrual cramps), but doesn't help much with bone pain (after a knee replacement). We live in WA state, where this is legal - and I was able to discuss using CBD oil tincture with my primary care medical people as well as my surgeon. They all agreed I should take the opioids for the first several weeks, but once I weaned off those it would be no problem to use the CBD oil. Didn't help a whole lot with the knee surgery pain, though. Report
AALLEY2 7/20/2018
This week I received an article about this very subject. this is the first sentence from the article
CBD oil from cannabis is legal, but hemp derived CBD oil is banned in California... Report
SLYDE-GLYDER 7/20/2018
Narrow statements. Depending on were you live this article is laughable. While you can get a prescription for a few serious medical issues in GA, you cannot buy it here. It's illegal to bring it in across state lines. In state cultivation is illegal, so no refining cause you can't get it into the state. So for a little ache or pain, very funny. Easier to find a guy and fire up. The penalty is much less severe. Report
I'm waiting for more research into side effects....especially the oral route of use. Right now, in order to take it legally, I would have to give up my Tylenol 3 (codeine) prescription per my agreement with my Kaiser doctor...and I KNOW that is effective for my arthritis pain. Out of curiosity...are the Highlighted words I see coded into the article, or is this a function of computer I'm reading it on?
MARYJEANSL 7/20/2018
Very interesting. I live in one of the ten 'non farm bill' states, so wouldn't be able to get it easily. Report
SPINECCO 7/20/2018
Thanks for the information. Report
PICKIE98 7/20/2018
Very dangerous for cardiacs, people with blood clot history and high BP and diabetics. I use Nojmuk from It is organic, Native American-made and completely safe. It is made by hand with a beeswax and olive oil base with 23 herbs, hand-picked in the forests of Michigan. Using a vaso-dilator can have terrible results, unless you are 100% fit. Report
I live in California so decided to look into some of the new products available at the new stores opening up everywhere this year since it became legal. My father has very bad arthritis pain in his hands so we got him a topical cream to try. Unfortunately he said he tried several times and it did not help at all. Maybe something he took orally would help but he doesn't want to do that, and he also takes several medications so we don't want it to mess with those. However, I took some of the lotion and rubbed it around my knee that sometimes feels a bit sore while I jog, and then went for my usual walk/jog and miraculously my knee pain was gone. So I think it really can work for some people for some things, but not everyone for everything. I think the big cannabis industry is trying to claim it works for everything and the established medical industry is trying to say no to it all, and I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle. One thing I think that was missing from your article though is that there have not been any large long term studies on the impact of this on the body, which I think is important to note. Report
KEKEIKO 7/20/2018
I have friends that use CBD oil and cream for pain management rather than the "Legal" and extremely addictive prescription opioid (a couple examples - Oxycodone/Percocet) that the US and Canada are in Crisis over. Unfortunately some states deem CBD oil an illegal substance which prevent some people from trying an alternative to a prescription drug. Report
JANET552 7/20/2018
Thank you for the info Report
JANET552 7/20/2018
Thank you for the info Report
AZMOMXTWO 7/20/2018
no thank you this in not for me at all Report
Thank you for this information. I have used CBD gel for neck pain, it worked. My husband takes a small piece of candy to help him sleep through the night and not wake up in pain. Report
I enjoy a CBD tangerine tea. I also add natural hemp for Omegas to smoothies.
BKWERM 7/20/2018
Welcome to the new millennium! Nice to see that CBD is finally getting the attention it deserves. We've been using CBD-dominant as well as other medical marijuana since 2016 and it really works. If you want something that targets both pain and inflammation, a balanced ratio of THC:CBD works well and if you're worried about getting high, you can make your own pain cream, which is what I did. :-D Report
NEPTUNE1939 7/20/2018
TY Report
AMYRCMK 7/20/2018
Thank you Report
RAPUNZEL53 7/20/2018
Interesting. Report
LIS193 7/20/2018
Interesting, thank you Report
MNABOY 7/19/2018
Hearing a lot about that drug Report
I’ve been using CBD oil for a few months now and some brands do seem to agree with me more than others. It does seem to help with pain and with anxiety. Report
PAMMYLBEAR 7/19/2018
I concur that you should be wary of low priced CBD products. That said, my dogs are taking CBD supplements and it seems to help them. Report
1SUZIQ11 7/19/2018
Tried this at a vendor fair last week. My back was sore and the salesperson (a pharmacist) had me try it. Didn't really notice any difference. Report