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 The Ultimate CBD Guide for Muscle Recovery

Written By Ellese Symons Jun 16th 2023
Table Of Contents
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The pain, stiffness, and inflammation that can disrupt your next workout after challenging the limits of your strength and endurance have a purpose. You're feeling the impact of a natural defense mechanism that protects your overworked muscles from further injury. Your discomfort is a sign that your body needs time to heal, a process that can take anywhere from 48 to 72 hours. During that time, it's important to support recovery by getting enough rest, replenishing fluids, and giving your body the nutrients it needs to rebuild and repair (Robertson, 2021).

If you are interested in a natural way to support muscle recovery efforts, consider adding a hemp-derived CBD product to your health and wellness routine. It's something you can use before, during, or after your workout. Once you know what CBD is and how it works, it's easy to see why adults of all ages and fitness levels are reporting favorable results. Based on the feedback of nearly 2000 CBD users, 84% report pain relief after physical activity, and 90% prefer the effects of their hemp-derived CBD products over turmeric for relief, an herb with considerable anti-inflammatory potential (Peng et al., 2021). 

The Science of Muscle Recovery  

Nearly any strenuous activity that helps build strength and endurance can also cause microscopic injuries to muscle fibers. That exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD) triggers the release of specialized white blood cells to help clear cellular debris and initiate repairs. The resulting inflammatory response contributes to the release of free radicals that can cause secondary damage to surrounding tissues. Researchers believe that secondary damage is the primary cause of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). When your muscles don't have what they need to recover, your risk of recurring injury, widespread inflammation, and permanent damage increases. (Fitzgerald, 2013). 

But the science of muscle recovery extends beyond the repair mechanisms that occur between bouts of strenuous activity (training recovery). Professional athletes and fitness enthusiasts are increasingly aware of the way immediate and short-term muscle recovery can impact their performance. Immediate recovery occurs in the short time between successive efforts, between sets of bicep curls, for example. Short-term recovery takes place within the breaks between sets. Within all three scenarios, activity creates physiological stress on the body. Recovery enables physiological adaptation and the restoration of homeostasis (Camana, 2023), a term you'll also find in numerous reports about the health and wellness potential of CBD. 

Understanding CBD's Many Potential Benefits for Muscle Recovery  

Plant-derived cannabinoids like CBD are remarkably similar to substances produced as needed in your body. When you add CBD to your health and wellness routine, the cannabinoid interacts with multiple molecular targets, including the receptors of your endocannabinoid system (ECS) (Marzo & Piscitelli, 2015). As the largest regulatory system in the human body, ECS signaling is involved in nearly every crucial function, from sleep cycle regulation and immune system function to stress responses and metabolic activity. Cannabis researchers believe CBD helps supports the ECS in a way that promotes homeostasis (Sallaberry & Astern, 2018). While an impressive number of our survey respondents claim favorable results for discomfort after physical activity, most also report benefits for relaxation, better sleep, and calming mild or temporary anxiety. 

Sleep and relaxation are essential for muscle recovery. Soon after you fall asleep, your body begins generating growth hormones, complex proteins that stimulate collagen synthesis, aid in tissue recovery, and help improve exercise performance. Inflammation-inducing cortisol levels begin to drop, and fluid levels begin to balance. Deep, restorative sleep enhances ATP (adenosine triphosphate) production, a molecule that energizes and invigorates nearly every cell in your body (Dworak et al., 2010) 

In a study published in the International Journal of Physical Education, investigators found the results of their CBD study suggested considerable potential to "aid recovery" (Hatchet et al., 2020). In a review published in 2021, the author details CBD's influence on several homeostatic regulators, including "promising" (not conclusive) evidence supporting the use of CBD for "sport-related fatigue," recovery efficiency, and advantages for athletes involved in repetitive, long-distance training (Rojas-Valverde, 2021). 

Types of CBD Products for Muscle Recovery 

Hemp-derived CBD products are safe for most people and generally well-tolerated. The World Health Organization reports "no evidence" of public health-related concerns (WHO, 2020). However, not all CBD products are as pure and potent as you might expect. While comparing brands, look for a Certificate of Analysis, the documentation that confirms your purchase is batch-tested by an independent lab. Most brands (75%) claim their products are third-party tested, but only about 13% test at least 90% of their products (Harrington, 2021).   

Once you've found a reputable source of third-party tested CBD, products screened for heavy metals and other potentially harmful substances, you'll find it easier to shop after narrowing your search by product type. CBD products made with full spectrum extract give you all the additional minor cannabinoids, terpenes, and other phytonutrients nature intended, including a small, non-intoxicating amount of THC. 

If you're concerned about the THC, products made with broad spectrum hemp extract or pure CBD isolate powder are the better options. Their THC concentrations are reduced to non-detectable levels during extraction and processing. Broad spectrum products have many of full spectrum's additional cannabinoids and terpenes. With isolate, you'll be using CBD on its own. Now that you know how the three main types of hemp extract compare, consider how the following product options would fit into your daily (or nightly) routine. 

CBD Oil Tinctures  

Hemp-derived CBD oil tinctures are made with a blend of full spectrum hemp extract, broad spectrum extract, or CBD isolate powder and a carrier oil. Their carrier oils help maximize cannabinoid absorption and improve bioavailability. When you swallow CBD or add your tincture to foods and drinks, it can take up to an hour (or more) for the cannabinoids to enter your bloodstream. Simply shake the bottle, hold a serving beneath your tongue for 45-60 seconds, then swallow. The bulbed dropper attached to the lid makes it easy to adjust your serving sizes. 

CBD Topicals  

When you want fast-acting, targeted relief from any activity-related discomfort threatening to keep you on the sidelines, consider trying a CBD topical. They're applied directly to the surface of your skin. You can use just about any high-quality CBD balm, sports stick, cream, or lotion on its own or to complement the overall effect of your favorite oils and edibles. Like any other CBD product, you can use hemp-derived topicals on sore muscles before, during, or after your workout. To ensure optimal absorption, apply your topical liberally to clean, dry skin. 

CBD Softgels & Gummies  

CBD softgels and gummies are convenient, easy to use, and more portable than tinctures. Both give you a precise, pre-measured amount of CBD in every serving. Not only is the mixing and measuring done for you, there's no need to worry about carrying a glass bottle in your gym bag that could leak, spill, or break. Although gummies are a delicious way to add CBD to your daily routine, you might prefer using CBD softgels if you don't care for the somewhat earthy or "grassy" flavor and aroma of cannabis or would rather avoid ingesting a product made with sugar. 

Why CBD Users Choose CBDistillery® Products for Muscle Recovery  

CBDistillery® hemp-derived CBD products are made with non-GMO, naturally farmed hemp. We use the cleanest food-safe extraction methods available and were one of the first CBD brands, if not the first, to post a Certificate of Analysis so our customers could verify the results of our third-party batch testing. You can view those results on our product pages or scan the QR code on every CBDistillery® label.   

When you visit our website, you'll see that we've upheld our commitment to providing high-quality, fairly-priced CBD. Plus, our hemp-derived products are made in an A-rated NSF cGMP-registered facility, backed by a 60-day satisfaction guarantee, and have more than 40,000 5-star reviews. Most of our survey respondents report positive results within 7-14 days of consistent use. 

Although there are numerous reasons to consider adding the health and wellness potential of CBDistillery® products to your daily routine, consult your healthcare provider if you have medical concerns. Cannabinoids can interfere with several prescription and over-the-counter medications. If you're intrigued by the possibility of using CBD for activity-related muscle recovery but aren't quite sure where to start, we invite you to take our 3-minute CBD Product Quiz or schedule a personal consultation


Camana F. (2023) Exploring the Science of Recovery. American Fitness Magazine. 

Dworak M, McCarley R, et al. (2010) Sleep and Brain Energy Levels: ATP Changes During Sleep. 30(26) J Neurosci 9007-16. https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1423-10.2010 

Fitzgerald M. (2013) Is Inflammation Holding You Back? Active.com 

Harrington A. (2021) 25% of CBD Products Are Not Tested for Purity. Forbes. 

Hatchet A, Armstrong K, et al. (2020) The Influence Cannabidiol on Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. 7(2) Int J Phys Ed, Sports and Health 89-94. https://www.kheljournal.com/archives/2020/vol7issue2/PartB/7-2-4-412.pdf 

Peng Y, Mingyue A, et al. (2021) Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Curcumin in the Inflammatory Disease: Status, Limitations and Countermeasures. 15, Drug Des Devel Ther 4503-25. https://doi.org/10.2147/DDDT.S327378 

Robertson M. (2021) Post Workout Recovery| Rest Between Workouts| Active Recovery. BodyBuilding.com 

Rojas-Valverde D. (2021) Potential Role of Cannabidiol on Sports Recovery: A Narrative Review. 12 Front Physiol 722550 https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2021.722550 

Marzo V, Piscitelli F. (2015) The Endocannabinoid System and Its Modulation by Phytocannabinoids. 12, Neurotherapeutics 692-98. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13311-015-0374-6 

Sallaberry C, Astern L. (2018) The Endocannabinoid System, Our Universal Regulator. 34(6) JYI 48-55. https://www.jyi.org/2018-june/2018/6/1/the-endocannabinoid-system-our-universal-regulator 

World Health Organization. (2020) Cannabidiol (CBD) Critical Review Report. PDF https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/controlled-substances/whocbdreportmay2018-2.pdf?sfvrsn=f78db177_2