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By Rebecca Akers
It’s safe to say the popularity of CBD has skyrocketed over the past few years. What was once considered a “niche” product has taken the world by storm and has gone on to become a revolutionary product throughout various industries.
The list of potential health benefits to be found when taking CBD include relief from anxiety and depression, insomnia, and even chronic pain. However, in this article, we will discuss the effect this versatile compound has on muscle recovery and strains, primarily when used to aid rehabilitation and injury.
If you’re not familiar with the process behind growing cannabis, all you need to know is that the plant is made up of 483 known compounds, and one of them is CBD (cannabidiol). You see, when people hear the word CBD, the first thing they think of is marijuana and “getting high.” However, that is a common misconception.
Related article: THC and CBD, and the Entourage Effect!
The main psychoactive compound in cannabis is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is independent of CBD. They have entirely different effects, and as a result, CBD is not considered mind-altering, and there is no “high” experience when consuming it.
This is what gives it such a broad appeal, as when you are supplementing CBD, you are still permitted to carry on with your everyday life, including driving vehicles, operating machinery, and going to work. In fact, Hemp-derived CBD products are legal in all 50 US states, just as long as their THC content is below 0.3%.
First, it’s essential to discuss the differences between the terms muscle recovery and muscle strain. For some reason, the terms are used as synonyms, although you must understand that they are not interchangeable.
Muscle strains: Firstly, a muscle strain is a type of injury that occurs to the muscle or tendon, which is the fibrous tissue that connects between the muscle and the bones. These injuries can occur almost anywhere in the body but are most commonly reported in areas such as the hamstring, back, quads, hip adductors, neck, and shoulder.
Muscle strains typically occur when a muscle is overstretched or torn, usually as a result of intense exercise or physical exertion. Some symptoms of a muscle strain include:
Muscle recovery is the term given to the process that ensues after exercise where the muscle enters a recovery phase. Unlike a strain, when a muscle is in recovery, it is not injured. This is merely the natural process of the muscle rebuilding the fibers that were damaged during the training.
The amount of time it takes your muscles to recover from exercise depends on your fitness levels and the intensity of the workout. For a light activity such as a short run or walk, you can expect this process to take 24 hours. For intense exercises, such as a marathon, recovery times can take anywhere between a few days and a few weeks.
Did you know that many elite level sports stars openly advocate the use of CBD, endorsing various products for things such as enhanced muscle recovery and injury prevention? One of the most famous examples being legendary MMA fighter Nate Diaz as he vaped CBD at a press conference after one of his notable bouts.
So, how does it help with muscle recovery and injuries such as strains? Well, it all depends on what you’re using it for and what particular ailments you are suffering from. Here are a few of the main ways CBD can help your muscles heal and rejuvenate:
Reduces inflammation: One of the main benefits of CBD supplementation compared to cannabis terpenes, is its anti-inflammatory properties. Whether you are suffering from a muscle strain or if you have just finished a heavy workout, there is a high likelihood you will have some muscle inflammation. CBD is known to impact the endocannabinoid receptor activity, suppressing inflammation so your muscles can recover more quickly.
CBD may support protein synthesis in the muscles: A surprising benefit of CBD is its role in protein synthesis in the muscle. When you injure or damage your muscle, it heals itself by synthesizing new muscle tissue that will replace the damaged ones. However, high cortisol levels in the blood are known to inhibit the process, which can prolong recovery.
So how does CBD help? Firstly, CBD improves sleep quality and allows you to achieve greater levels of REM sleep. This is the phase of sleep where cortisol is at its lowest, and as a result, the muscle can grow more quickly.
Secondly, CBD works with the endocannabinoid system to interfere with cortisol secretion even while you are awake, which allows your muscles to continue repairing at an increased rate.
CBD relaxes the muscles: CBD relaxes muscle tension and eases spasms. It also prevents DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). This helps you get ready for your next sessions and boost the recovery process when you’re suffering from a strain.
Pain management: Lastly, CBD exerts pain-relieving effects through multiple interactions with the endocannabinoid, inflammatory, and nociceptive (pain-sensing) systems. This helps to reduce the pain experienced during muscle recovery and strains.
If you’re suffering from a muscle strain, you may be wondering about the best way to consume CBD to assist the healing process. Fortunately, there are many different product variants for you to choose from, such as:
CBD creams, oils, and lotions
CBD Oral tablets
CBD Vape Pens
For best results, you should consider using a combination of the products mentioned above to speed up your recovery. For example, if you have muscle soreness in your hamstring, you could apply a localized treatment in the form of a cream or lotion while also getting oral tablets or using a vape.
From a legal standpoint, absolutely. As mentioned, CBD is legal in all 50 US states, so you won’t have any trouble with the law when using it as a supplement.
From a medical standpoint, research shows that CBD is a natural compound and is not known to cause any severe side effects. However, if you are concerned about how your body will react to CBD, then please consult with a health professional before proceeding, especially if you are pregnant or take other prescription medication.