CBD has been shown to be beneficial for a wide range of bodily ills, from the psychological to the physical. Among CBD’s many possibilities is its potential for helping to manage the effects of exercise-induced inflammation, or tenderness, soreness, or swelling that shows up after a strenuous run or workout.
To understand how CBD can help you manage inflammation, it’s important to understand what inflammation is, and what can cause it.
What Causes Inflammation?
Inflammation is part of your body’s natural reaction to what it perceives as harm. There are two types of inflammation:
- Acute inflammation, which happens in response to an injury or illness, and which is typically quite obvious and severe from onset.
- Chronic inflammation, which is a response to low levels of inflammation present in the body over extended periods of time, and which may slowly make itself known.
With an acute injury or infection, your body sends in the troops – an army of white blood cells to surround and defend the injured area. This causes inflammation, along with its trademark redness and swelling. Inflammation of this type is beneficial: thanks to it, your body can fight off many small injuries and infections on its own. If the infection becomes more severe, your inflammatory response continues to work in tandem with medical forms of treatment.
With a chronic disease or illness, inflammation can become permanent. This might be caused by a lifetime of smoking, a body that is subject to obesity, or arteries that are clogged with plaque. It can also be the result of autoimmune disease, that causes the body to respond with severe inflammation even when there is no injury or danger of infection.
Sometimes acute inflammation can turn into chronic inflammation. This is common when you have repeated infections, such as sinus infections or ear infections. While you may be able to beat back the infection temporarily, if it returns in just weeks or months the inflammatory response may learn to never fully die down.
Exercise can also cause acute inflammation that turns into chronic inflammation. Exercising heavily can cause microscopic tears to muscles, provoking an inflammatory response along with swelling, tenderness, possible redness, and some pain. Ideally, exercise is carefully calibrated to do as little damage as possible, and sessions of extreme effort are limited to only a day or two a week, to give the body time to recover. If the body is constantly undergoing damage due to exercise, you may develop exercise-induced inflammation that can become chronic as well.
Why Should You Care About Inflammation?
Acute inflammation that turns into chronic inflammation can cause a host of problems and contribute to the risk of developing serious health issues. A chronic state of inflammation is thought to raise your risk of asthma, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, endometriosis, heart disease, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer, among other things.
Does CBD Help with Inflammation?
CBD can help people with inflammation manage symptoms thanks to the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of CBD and other cannabinoids. Since prolonged inflammation can lead to oxidative stress – causing pain, stiffness, fatigue, and more – it only makes sense that researchers and people with inflammatory conditions turn to this natural option for helping with exercise-induced inflammation.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a natural chemical compound found in the Cannabis sativa plant. It’s a phytocannabinoid, which means it is manufactured by a plant; endocannabinoids also exist, which are manufactured by the human body.
The human body has an endocannabinoid system, or ECS. The endocannabinoids interact with the ECS, which in turn interacts with the body’s central and peripheral nervous system. The endocannabinoids can affect a range of processes, including sleep, mood, body temperature, appetite and more.
Endocannabnoids also affect the immune system, which plays its part in stimulating inflammation, and signals that nerves send to the brain, generated by discomfort or pain. That’s a lot of different jobs for a small subset of chemical compounds.
As it turns out, phytocannabinoids like CBD and its cousins can be used by the human body to boost the effectiveness and life cycle of endocannabinoids. This comes in handy when the ECS is overtaxed trying to handle additional stressors – like exercise-induced inflammation.
In addition to cannabinoids, the C. sativa plant also contains other beneficial compounds called terpenes and flavonoids. All of these can help work in the human body to support system balancing and symptom management.
CBD itself (cannabidiol) is a chemical; compound found naturally in the industrial hemp plant, a classification of C. sativa plant with high CBD and low THC (another cannabinoid that is regulated due to its psychoactive effects.)
CBD has a long history of beneficial effects in managing oxidative stress, and is an obvious choice for people looking for solutions for their swollen and aching muscles after a workout. CBD works with receptors in the body that connect with the central and peripheral nervous system, helping to manage inflammation and discomfort.
CBD isolate contains just CBD, extracted from the industrial hemp plant and infused into a neutral oil like coconut. However, there are two other options on the CBD spectrum. Broad-spectrum can contain any or all of the below-discussed additional compounds CBD, CBG and CBN from the hemp plant. And full-spectrum CBD products include these compounds as well as the tiny legal amount of THC and the other hemp plant compounds known as flavonoids and terpenes that all work together to maximize the effectiveness of the CBD product (called the entourage effect.)
Cannabigerol (CBG) connects with a different set of receptors than CBD, and affects the body’s response to anandamide, which is a special neurotransmitter that carries signals to the brain. CBG can help reduce inflammatory response and discomfort, and increase feelings of pleasure and wellbeing.
Cannabinol (CBN) reduces the body’s inflammatory response to stressors. By lowering levels of inflammation and discomfort, CBN helps people with swelling and tenderness relax and sleep even during an inflammatory episode.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive compound in C. sativa plants classified as marijuana. Plants classed as hemp can contain trace amounts of THC, limited to 0.3% or less. Even this small amount, while it can’t get you high, can boost the anti-inflammatory effect of CBD and other cannabinoids.
How Does CBD Reduce Inflammation?
Research shows that CBD has both anti-inflammatory and analgesic (discomfort-relieving) properties. This makes it a great after-exercise recovery supplement to help with inflammation, tenderness and swelling after heavy exertion or physical activity.
Part of this is thanks to those previously mentioned terpenes and flavonoids. Terpenes like Myrcene are understood to help reduce inflammation. Flavonoids with anti-inflammatory properties include Quercetin and Kaempferol, are also helpful, and Cannaflavin A, a type of flavonoid specific to the cannabis plant family, has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties that are comparable to aspirin.
Taking CBD for Exercise-Induced Inflammation
The best way to leverage the anti-inflammatory benefits of CBD for exercise-induced inflammation is to take it right after your exercise and cooling off period are over. Depending on what type of CBD product you take, and when your last meal was, it might be anywhere from 20 minutes to over an hour for the effects to kick in.
While you’re waiting, using heat or ice as recommended by your doctor, and making sure to hydrate to replace lost electrolytes can help your body wind down and get ready for the relaxing and inflammation reducing effects of the CBD.
The fastest way to start feeling the benefits of CBD is to choose a full-spectrum oil – preferably a neutral tasting MCT oil like coconut oil, infused with CBD and also with a pleasant flavoring – and put it under your tongue.
CBD taken sublingually in this fashion soaks quickly into the soft tissue under the tongue, hitting the tiny veins known as capillaries and speeding into the bloodstream. It’s a direct line of administration that can have you feeling effects in a half hour or less.
You can also take CBD in a gummy form, chewing then swallowing a fruit flavored dose and washing it down with your favorite sports drink. This takes a little longer to take effect, as the body has to digest the gummy and send the CBD through the first stage of metabolism before it hits the bloodstream.
Sublingual oil tinctures work fast but also wear off more quickly. Gummies take longer to kick in, but also have a slower wear-off time. Making either part of one’s post-workout routine may help the body acclimate quickly to the exercise-induced inflammatory response, and start minimizing the effects as quickly as possible.
If you tend to feel sore and achy after a hard workout day, to the point that you can’t sleep, CBD could help with that as well. It’s a natural relaxant, and you can take an extra dose before bed to help you get a healing night of good sleep.
Best CBD for Inflammation and Recovery
You can take any CBD product to leverage some anti-inflammatory benefits, by far and away the best option is to choose a full-spectrum CBD product. The additional compounds such as cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes can enhance the efficacy of the product and help you maximize your recovery time.
Yummy CBD Products
Yummy CBD products come in a variety of types, so you can find the product that works best for you and your lifestyle. All of our CBD products contain legally sourced CBD from organically grown hemp, and we provide third party lab results on the packaging in a scannable QR code. You can choose from oil tincture or gummies, or try both!
Yummy CBD Oils
Yummy CBD oil comes in a small bottle that holds 30 mL of full-spectrum CBD tincture. There is also a dropper included, marked so you can measure your CBD oil properly.
Orange Zest CBD Oil
Our original CBD oil tincture contains 33 mg of CBD per mL, a delightful orange flavor, and a smooth texture thanks to the high quality coconut oil we use as the infused agent. You can take this CBD oil at any time to reap its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Mellow Mint CBD Oil
Our “sleep” CBD oil formula contains double the amount of CBD as our original recipe, so you get 67 mg of CBD per mL of smooth mint-flavored tincture. We’ve also added1 mg of Melatonin per mL, which is a natural sleep aid produced by the human body, which can help you get to sleep after a hard workout.
Yummy CBD Gummies
If you prefer your CBD in chewable form, try our delicious CBD gummies. They come in a resealable pouch that contains 30 gummies in four different fruit flavors (grape, watermelon, green apple and pineapple.) Dosing is easy: just pop a gummy (or two) after your workout or before bedtime, as indicated by your discomfort level and any visible inflammation.
Fruity Delight CBD Gummies
Our regular CBD gummies contain 24 mg of CBD per gummy for daytime dosing. No need to measure or hold under your tongue: just pop the gummy in your mouth, chew, and swallow.
Fruitful Dreams CBD Gummies
The sleep versions of our gummies also contain 24 mg of CBD (unlike the oil, which has double the amount of CBD in the sleep version vs. the original version.) However, it does still include the 1 mg of melatonin per gummy so you can take them before bedtime.
Always keep all bottles and pouches sealed and kept locked up out of reach of children or pets. Track your CBD dosing and results using a journal that notes your workout intensity, levels of inflammation/discomfort, CBD dose and method, and results. It may take four to eight weeks to figure out exactly what works best for you.
Struggling with exercise-induced inflammation? CBD might be able to provide you with some much-needed relief. To get started, read our Buyer’s Guide for more information, then head over to the SHOP to pick out your first product(s).