Should I take CBD before or after a workout?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a natural oily compound found in the cannabis plant, Cannabis Sativa. Non-psychoactive, it is believed to offer a range of biochemical, psychological and physiological benefits when taken as part of a health and wellness plan.

In fact, recent research suggests that it can significantly aid recovery after exercise – so it could have the potential to enhance the training and health programmes of athletes and other people involved in physically demanding activities.

With so many potential benefits associated with taking CBD, we thought we’d put together a quick guide to the science surrounding this remarkable compound, look at how it can support a fitness program, and answer the question of whether CBD should be taken before or after a workout.

Three scenarios in which you should take CBD before your workout
If you regularly feel anxiety or stress
Every athlete has experienced “butterflies in the stomach” – that characteristic sign of anxiety that often occurs before a big game or competition. However, many people don’t know that taking a CBD supplement before exercise can help manage pre-workout or pre-race anxiety.

Research is in its early stages, but a study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation found reduced blood pressure in a study group that took a CBD supplement, compared to a group that took a placebo.

There is also good anecdotal evidence to support claims that CBD helps people concentrate better during exercise or competition. So, since CBD seems to help manage stress so well, there is a good case for taking it as an aid to mental concentration in sport.

A second study found that CBD may help reduce nerves, anxiety and physical symptoms of mental stress. This study also found that taking the compound can improve cognitive function before a stressful event, such as a performance, a high-level training session or a sports competition.

However, another study states that the available data is preliminary and based on pre-clinical studies – so, so far, we are not able to give a definitive answer on the case for taking CBD to support athletic performance.

That said, we believe there is enough anecdotal evidence of people using CBD as part of their overall training and health programs to recommend it as an aid to post-exercise recovery and enhanced mental focus.

You find it difficult to maintain a regular, healthy sleep cycle
One of the additional benefits of CBD’s ability to reduce stress and anxiety is improved sleep quality. The quality of sleep, and the right amount of it, is vital for your overall health and therefore for your athletic performance.

CBD can reduce the time spent in REM sleep and increase the amount of deep sleep or NREM stage 3 sleep. So if you’re not getting good sleep, a quality CBD supplement may be the answer for you.

Sleep is the “rest” of the body – it is the time when the invisible process of repair and restoration of all our various systems takes place. If we don’t get enough quality sleep, then all our physical, emotional and mental processes suffer – and this can have a big impact on performance.

Deep sleep is better for us because it requires less energy. Body temperature, heart rate and brain activity drop during this sleep state, which means better overall rest and fuller recovery from exercise.

There is also evidence to suggest that CBD has therapeutic benefits in the treatment of sleep apnea, insomnia and other sleep problems. It may therefore be worth taking a CBD supplement before you go to bed to maximise the rejuvenating effect of your night’s rest.

You often experience muscle tension during workouts
CBD can also help you if you suffer from muscle tension during your workouts. The compound is one of nature’s own muscle relaxants and slows down the movement of neurotransmitters that can be the cause of excessive muscle tension, contractions or spasms.

Again, due to the natural calming effect of CBD, it reduces overall stress and tension, thus contributing to relaxed, free-flowing movement and athletic performance.

Best ways to take CBD before workout
There is a wide variety of CBD supplements on the market and there is a product for everyone – some deliver their CBD quickly, others more slowly – so it’s worth giving some thought to what will work best for you and your circumstances.

For example, if you’re on the go and need a fast-acting supplement, consider taking CBD sublingually. This is where the flavored powders and CBD oil come into play, because holding a CBD product under the tongue is the fastest way for the compound to enter your system.

If you have a little more time before your workout, then gum, mints and capsules are a great way to get CBD if taken up to an hour before your workout.

Finally, mixing neutral-flavored CBD powder into food or beverages allows you to incorporate your supplement into your overall diet and is a good way to get CBD if you don’t like flavored products or capsules.

Two scenarios where you should take CBD after your workout
Struggling with muscle pain and mobility after training
More research is needed, but there is growing anecdotal evidence that some of the most powerful effects of CBD are experienced post-workout. This is due to CBD’s ability to mitigate delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and promote muscle recovery.

Exercise increases strength by causing microscopic damage to muscle fibres. It is these microcracks that cause pain after training and swelling of the muscle tissue.

We all know when we’ve gone too far in a workout and overdoing it is counterproductive and can hinder muscle growth and regeneration. Fortunately, recent studies show that CBD can reduce DOMS and the discomfort it causes by regulating the body’s response to micro-damage.

In a 2021 study published in Frontiers in Physiology, CBD was found to stimulate recovery after exercise due to its analgesic, anxiolytic, neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties.

In addition, there is also evidence to support the theory that CBD can help the body regulate its response to exercise by promoting a natural anti-inflammatory response to combat muscle micro-damage.

As if that wasn’t enough, other scientific studies show that CBD can increase nerve function and therefore movement in people suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS) – a debilitating condition that can severely inhibit physical activity and mobility.

Here’s a link to an article that tells you everything you need to know about CBD and post-workout recovery.

Difficulty sleeping after evening workouts
If you find it difficult to relax, fully unwind and sleep after you have stimulated your mind and body through exercise, you are one of the millions of people who find it difficult to rest properly after a workout.

So instead of taking the CBD supplement before your workout, try taking it afterwards – you may find that it allows you to fall asleep more easily and helps you establish a regular sleep pattern after exercise.

Best ways to take CBD after workout
There are many ways to take CBD after your workout and as always, it’s best to experiment to find the right method for you and your workout program. In general, though, there are three main ways to get CBD as part of your health and exercise program:

You could use a topical CBD product, such as a cream, oil or lotion, to massage the sore muscles directly.
Another approach is to take an oral CBD supplement as soon as pain or soreness occurs
Finally, you could take a regular, daily dose of CBD to maintain a more generalized, lasting effect through your training program

Possible side effects & interactions
Although CBD is a natural product and has myriad health benefits, it can cause side effects, so be careful when taking it. Some people will have no side effects at all, while others may experience them to a mild or possibly more severe degree.

Among the reported side effects of taking CBD are fatigue, changes in appetite and diarrhea, so listen to your body and modify your dose accordingly.

It is also important to note that CBD can interact with certain prescription drugs. An interaction can affect the function of a drug and may even cause an adverse reaction; therefore, it is vital that you consult your doctor about your dosage and possible contraindications.

Note: CBD should also be avoided during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

How to choose a CBD product
Choosing a CBD supplement is a bit of a minefield and it’s worth doing some research as not all products contain the amount of CBD they claim to contain.

So much so that a recent study found that only 31% of supplements sold online contained the CBD claimed by their manufacturers.

The formulation of a supplement can also have a big impact on its effectiveness – just because a product contains CBD doesn’t mean it delivers it effectively to your body, so knowing the science behind a product can help you determine if it offers good bioavailability and good value for money.

It may sound obvious, but choosing a supplement from a reputable manufacturer is the best way, because established brands conduct their own research and publish their own laboratory reports.

Purity is also important, so again choose carefully as many supplements contain significant amounts of the psychoactive compound, THC. THC is the compound for which cannabis is famous or infamous and all good CBD supplements will be free of it

At this point, it should be noted that, as with all supplements, Dutch Natural Healing products are not a substitute for a healthy, balanced diet and lifestyle, nor are they intended to treat or prevent disease and should only be used after discussion with a medical professional. Any data or findings discussed here are based only on a review of the relevant scientific literature.

The bottom line – should I take CBD before or after exercise?
There is still more to learn about the role CBD plays in exercise, and the decision to take a pre- or post-workout supplement will depend on the challenges of your fitness and health and the form of CBD supplement you most enjoy using.

Learn more about the different “types of CBD”

The increased acceptance of the role that CBD can play in health and fitness programs has ushered in a new era in wellness, as more and more people around the world are experiencing the therapeutic effects of CBD for the first time.

However, as with any new supplement or health innovation, it is important to only use products with a proven track record of quality and purity.

Frequently asked questions
Is CBD a performance-enhancing substance?
There is some debate about whether CBD improves athletic performance and should therefore be considered a performance-enhancing substance.

While many athletes say that CBD helps their physical and mental performance, its claimed effects on stamina and concentration have not been proven.

As a result, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has removed the compound from its list of banned substances, but professional athletes are still advised to be careful when choosing a supplement, as many contain detectable amounts of the banned compound THC.

Can professional athletes take CBD?
CBD is perfectly legal in most countries and states, it is allowed to be used as a supplement under international anti-doping regulations and therefore can be used by professional athletes.

However, as we’ve already covered above, the purity of CBD products varies from manufacturer to manufacturer and some may contain detectable levels of THC (which is on the anti-doping list), so choose your supplement carefully.

How much CBD should I take?
How much CBD to take depends largely on the individual’s particular requirements and tolerance to the compound. As with any supplement, it’s a good idea to start taking CBD in small amounts at first and increase your dose as needed and as results develop.

We recommend as a starting dosage for our CBD oil and our water-soluble CBDActive+ one or two drops or pumps, one to two times a day, unless otherwise indicated.

You can read more about how to achieve the ideal dose here.

Does CBD affect athletic performance?
There is good anecdotal evidence to support the claim that CBD improves athletic performance and many athletes use it to promote sleep, aid recovery, reduce pain and fight inflammation.

Is CBD good for lifting weights?
A quality CBD supplement offers benefits to people who engage in strenuous exercise, such as weightlifting, due to its ability to relieve DOMS, promote muscle recovery after exercise, and speed up post-exercise recovery, which means you can return to training faster.

Does CBD increase stamina?
CBD can increase stamina due to its ability to promote good sleep and general well-being. If a person is well rested, they tend to perform better physically, so there is a good case for using CBD to increase athletic endurance.


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