How to Use CBD for Sports Injuries
If you play any sport long enough, injuries are bound to happen from the repeated stress placed on your body. Odds are you have a sports injury story to tell. It happens to us all. One of the worst parts about an injury is the time it takes to recover, so you can get back to doing what you love.¹ Fortunately, CBD may be able to help provide natural support. From the average Joe to professional athletes, many are turning to CBD for its therapeutic potential in helping expedite recovery from strained muscles or sports-related injuries. Here’s what you need to know.
How Does CBD Work For Injuries?
CBD is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in hemp that won’t cause you to feel high. It’s one of the many compounds within hemp that interacts with our body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). Found throughout our body and central nervous system, it’s responsible for helping support our body in remaining balanced and functioning optimally.²
The ECS plays a large role in various background processes—like immune function, appetite, metabolism, pain responses, and body temperature. However, evidence suggests it also plays a role in keeping a balanced, leveled mood and your sleep-wake cycle in check.
It’s also known to put in work when you experience an injury. As soon as you get hurt, your body releases endocannabinoids to serve as first responders. They trigger the ECS to tell your body to begin inflaming or swelling the area for protection.³
These endocannabinoids bind to the receptors found in nerve cells and immune cells—among others—which play a role in helping the body regenerate after injury. Once they bind to these receptors, they trigger a variety of reactions that help to kickstart the healing process and limit muscle spasms and pain.⁴
Just like those endocannabinoids, CBD can also bind to these receptors when you experience an injury. For starters, evidence suggests CBD has potent anti-inflammatory effects, which may help reduce stiffness and swelling your muscles and joints experience after an injury.⁵
While some inflammation is necessary to protect your body after injury, too much of it can be a bad thing—and may even put more stress on the body.⁶ With CBD in the mix, studies suggest that you may be able to recover from injuries more quickly and start feeling better before you get back in the game by reducing the body’s instinctive response to pain and inflammation.
At the heart of everything is inflammation, which is why so many people who play sports are exploring CBD to help manage pain after a hamstring injury, sprain, muscle strain, Achilles tendon or rotator cuff injury, runner’s knee, or the like.⁷
Potential Benefits of CBD For Injury Recovery
While managing pain and inflammation is at the core of injury recovery, CBD could also play a role in a few areas that may help athletes to recover and build muscle. These potential benefits might help improve athletic performance, as well as overall wellness.
Inflammation & Pain
Many studies outline the potential benefits of CBD against inflammation and its aid in pain relief. As mentioned, CBD interacts with the ECS and might limit its ability to inflame areas after an injury, which could potentially help to reduce pain and swelling.⁸
Reducing inflammation, pain, and swelling may mean improved sports recovery times and less severe damage to muscles and joints caused by both the injury itself and the inflammation that typically follows.
CBD and inflammation aren’t limited to muscle pain. You can try using CBD for dry skin or to potentially help alleviate redness or itching.
CBD can bind to the endocannabinoid receptors found throughout your central nervous system and may notify your body to repair nerve tissues that might have been damaged after an injury or even during surgery related to the injury.⁹
Your nerve cells are responsible for sending commands to the muscles and making them move, as well as relaying messages linked with every other bodily function. By repairing the damaged nerve tissues, CBD may be able to encourage faster healing in wounds and reduce scarring.¹⁰ Keeping your nerve cells healthy can also aid in muscle development and muscle recovery, so CBD’s potential ability to repair your muscles can equal even greater gains.
Some evidence suggests CBD may be able to assist in the healing of fractures.¹¹ A study that was conducted on rats found potential within CBD to strengthen bones as they healed by combining collagen proteins within bones to allow tissues to mineralize and form. While the research wasn’t conducted on humans, it may mean taking CBD after an injury could speed up recovery.
As you exercise, your muscles become inflamed because you’re damaging them.¹² Blood flow to your muscles is increased due to inflammation, meant to both replenish oxygen and clear out waste so your muscles can repair themselves and come back even stronger.
However, as mentioned before, too much of a good thing can be bad. When there’s too much inflammation, it can lead to muscle soreness and oxidative stress—which can lead to muscular atrophy. Science suggests that CBD may act both as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, which could reduce the dangers of oxidative stress while helping you feel less sore after a workout or injury.¹³ Consider taking CBD before workout exercises or classes to help feel its beneficial effects.
Sleep is immensely vital to your health, and CBD could also play a role in helping you get better rest each night.¹⁴ While CBD itself isn’t a sedative or a sleep aid, it interacts with our ECS and may help it to regulate our natural circadian rhythms—which help us sleep and wake up on a more regulated cycle.¹⁵
Research indicates that CBD could help you feel more relaxed, which in turn may help you feel less anxious and able to fall asleep easier.¹⁶ Coupled with pain-reducing potential, CBD might allow for deeper sleep— which is critical after a sports injury. Proper sleep expedites the ability of the body to heal itself, enabling you to recover faster.¹⁷
While CBD doesn’t promote energy in the same way as caffeine or other supplements meant to heighten awareness, it could make for a more balanced mood which naturally will help you feel more energetic. Studies have shown that CBD may be helpful for anxiety, which, left to its own devices, can bring about chronic feelings of stress and fatigue.¹⁸
CBD interacts with the ECS and central nervous system in a way that might reduce feelings of anxiety while helping keep your mood level (which may, in turn, help you to feel more alert and energized throughout your day—especially if you deal with chronic stress or anxiety). Improved energy may mean better results in physical therapy after sports-related injuries or even make for a more effective workout once you’re back on your feet.¹⁹
Using CBD For Sports Injuries: Which Products Work Best?
With mounting evidence supporting the use of CBD before, during, and after a workout—as well as post-injury or during recovery—you may be wondering which products would be best. Seeing as CBD can be ingested, smoked, or applied topically, the method you choose depends on your personal preferences and intended uses.
For example, if you’re dealing with a sports-related injury, you might want to opt for a CBD muscle gel or other CBD topical products. As topical CBD is applied directly to the affected areas and absorbed via the skin, it allows for quick absorption, targeted relief, and long-lasting effects. CBD topicals are the most ideal when dealing with pain, inflammation, and/or swelling after an injury—but can be used before a workout just as well to aid recovery later.
On the other hand, if you’re interested in CBD for daily wellness, the potential for improved sleep patterns and energy levels, or support managing sore muscles after a workout, CBD edibles or a CBD tincture may do the trick. CBD works best when taken daily, just like a supplement. CBD gummies, tinctures, and capsules are perfect for daily use—especially if you’re looking for CBD for runners or for when you play an active sport and want to protect your body or recover faster on the go. Not only are they consistent, convenient, and familiar to most of us, they are precisely measured, so there’s one less thing for you to worry about—so you can focus on your routines for overall wellness. There are even CBD products for skincare. For example, can you put CBD oil on your face? Yes—and it may even aid with some of your skin concerns, such as blemishes or wrinkles. You can find other topical CBD, CBD gummy, full spectrum CBD oil, and CBD supplement offerings in our full collection.
All of these products and more can be found at Lazarus Naturals. Whether you are looking for something to help soothe pain after an injury or you simply are looking to live a more active and wellness-focused lifestyle, you can count on the CBD that’s made to work to support you with every step on your path toward life-long wellness. We were founded on the belief that quality CBD should be both made to work and made for all. Everyone deserves to naturally live the healthiest and happiest life possible.