Should You Take CBD Before A Workout?

CBD 101
Should You Take CBD Before A Workout?

Whether you’re a professional athlete or just looking to get your head in the game for your next workout routine, you may wonder if CBD—the latest health craze—might affect your athletic performance. With many potential benefits from CBD for sleep, pain, and inflammation, you might be wondering if you can take it before or after a workout to get those gains. Luckily, we’ve got you covered! Read on to learn about whether or not you should take CBD before a workout and how it may support you with your entire regimen. 

Does Taking CBD Before A Workout Improve Athletic Performance?

CBD—or cannabidiol—is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in hemp that won’t cause you to feel high. However, CBD isn’t going to help with muscle growth or performance in the traditional sense. CBD has little to no evidence that it improves performance at all, so it won’t turn you into a gym rat or some kind of fitness junkie. But at the end of the day, evidence suggests that CBD may help you be better off for your workouts.¹

Introducing CBD before workout exercises won’t alter your mental state, but it may help quell feelings of anxiety or a lack of motivation.²⁻³ So, if you catch yourself struggling to get to the gym because you’re nervous about exercising in social settings, it can potentially help with easing some of your nerves. Alternatively, if you have no problem exercising in public but find it challenging to muster the motivation to get up, get dressed, and go for a run or hit the gym, CBD’s potential effects on motivation may help boost performance during your workout. 

While CBD doesn’t improve performance in a physical sense, it may improve your overall ability to perform by affecting your mood and motivation to get the job done. CBD works by binding to the receptors found in the endocannabinoid system (or ECS) that exist throughout the body and central nervous system.⁴ The ECS is responsible for keeping your body balanced by managing many different background processes in your body—like mood, body temperature, sleep-wake cycles, the immune system, your pain and inflammation responses, and more.

CBD has a unique ability to bind to endocannabinoid receptors and may play a role in triggering the ECS to respond in various ways that can help improve your game before, during, and after a workout. 

Other Ways Taking CBD Before a Workout May Help 

As mentioned, CBD works closely with the ECS, which is responsible for various natural bodily functions. By binding to different receptors located throughout the body, taking CBD as part of your pre-workout routine may offer support in other wellness areas to help you stay level and ready to roll before working out.

Mood & Motivation

We already discussed CBD’s potential effects on mood and motivation, which are both crucial in improving our relationship with exercise in general. By potentially boosting motivation or helping manage feelings of anxiety, CBD may be beneficial before a workout to get your mind in a better place for a solid routine. When your head is in a good place, the heart and body will follow—so it may help you prep for a workout and feel good about the time and energy you’re dedicating to a consistent exercise routine.⁵

Sleep & Energy 

CBD may also play a role in your REM sleep cycles. Sleep is another essential element for a solid workout regimen, as you must have the energy to perform a workout.⁶ Sleep is also vital post-workout as it allows muscles and other tissues to recover and repair after the strain of exercising them. When you don’t undergo get enough REM sleep cycles throughout the night, you tend to feel lethargic and unmotivated throughout the day—but you may also experience reduced muscle strength as you work out.

CBD alone isn’t a sleep aid, though. It won’t help you fall or stay asleep, but it may play a role in managing some of the factors that make it hard to get to sleep. For starters, CBD has potential stress and anxiety-reducing effects that may help calm some of the mental chatter so you can get rest.⁷ To take it one step further, CBD may also support a more balanced release of your sleep-wake hormones regulated by the ECS.⁸ Since good sleep is paramount to a successful workout routine, taking CBD as one of your relaxation techniques for sleep may be a good option for you to support healthy sleep routines and help improve both your energy levels and muscle recovery after workouts.

Pain & Inflammation

Finally, CBD may also affect pain and inflammation responses. You may have heard the saying “no pain, no gain” around the gym a time or two—but it’s accurate. When we exercise, we stress our muscle fibers to the point where they begin breaking down.⁹ When we sleep, the fibers repair themselves—becoming larger and stronger than before we exercise. That’s how we gain strength. 

A notorious side effect of exercise is muscle soreness.¹⁰ Sometimes it’s called delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS. You can usually feel it within 6-8 hours after intense exercise or a change in your regimen, and it can last up to two days after your workout. Soreness is caused by inflammation in the muscles due to the strain you put on them while working out. 

And that’s where CBD comes into play. Everyone is at risk of muscle soreness after a workout, from bodybuilders to an average joe. Taking CBD before a workout could help with some of the pain and inflammation you may experience post-workout.¹¹ CBD works within the ECS, which is responsible for sending pain messages to your central nervous system—triggering it to inflame the area to keep it safe. By binding to some of these receptors, evidence suggests CBD may help reduce the intensity of those pain messages—thus potentially reducing inflammation. The same may apply to your skincare routine. CBD and inflammation can go hand in hand if you deal with consistent skin irritation.

Regarding exercise, CBD may be beneficial before, during, and after a workout to better manage muscle soreness after exercising. Before a workout, it may help chronically painful, inflamed areas from prior injuries feel less agitated so that you can exercise them gently with a physical therapist.¹² It can also be helpful during recovery when you’re actively feeling sore.

CBD For Working Out: Which Method Is Best? 

There are many different ways to introduce CBD into your exercise regimen. As we mentioned, CBD may be used both as a pre-workout supplement and for post-workout recovery. But getting it into your system is ultimately up to your personal preferences and end goals for your workout routine.

For example, you can smoke CBD before a workout if you’re unmotivated to get up and go to the gym. The inhalation delivery method allows the CBD to enter your bloodstream through your lungs nearly immediately, so it can get to work, helping potentially quell unmotivated or foggy feelings. The same can be said for taking a CBD oil tincture sublingually—which can take effect in as little as 10 minutes, with results lasting four to 12 hours. This gives you time to get through your workout and into recovery mode.

You can also enjoy CBD gummies, CBD softgels, or CBD capsules if you have a little bit of time to wait. Edibles are part of the oral/ingested delivery method, which can take 30 minutes to one hour to metabolize in your digestive system. Still, the benefit is that this method lasts anywhere from four to 12 hours—allowing plenty of time to feel your best before and after your workout. 

Topicals like CBD balms, creams, lotions, and oils are best for post-workout recovery since they could provide targeted relief to sore muscles and any areas you may have strained working out. They can also be used before a workout if you deal with chronic pain or inflammation from prior, healed injuries in your muscles or joints that make it more challenging to exercise comfortably. Topicals typically take an hour or two to begin feeling their effects, although you’re likely to feel them for up to 48 hours. 

Bottom Line: Is CBD Helpful Before A Workout? 

In short, yes—CBD may be a good choice both before and after a workout. Because of the way it interacts within our endocannabinoid systems to potentially boost mood and motivation levels, reduce pain signaling in the central nervous system, and target inflammation, CBD could prove helpful—before, during, and after your workout. 

Keep in mind CBD won’t boost your performance like a steroid or any performance-enhancing supplements like a pre-workout. It won’t cause any muscle growth or magically transform you into a professional athlete, but it may be able to help you find the motivation to get to the gym while assisting with delayed-onset muscle soreness after your workout. If you’re ready to explore the potential effects of integrating CBD into your workout (or you are specifically looking for CBD for runners), you can trust Lazarus Naturals to deliver effective, high potency, full spectrum offerings crafted to support your journey toward physical fitness.¹³ All of our tinctures, capsules, softgels, CBD topicals, CBD edibles, and CBD gummies are formulated and third-party lab-tested with your well-being in mind.