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Updated on February 1, 2024

CBD and Bodybuilding

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Key takeaways

  • Research shows that when people take CBD, it helps with muscle regeneration and recovery and muscle strength.
  • CBD provides anti-inflammatory properties which reduce muscle pain and increase endurance.
  • Unlike other anti-inflammatory medications that impede muscle growth at high doses, CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties promote muscle regeneration and recovery.

The use of CBD among bodybuilders stems from the fact that CBD is non-psychoactive, can improve muscle mass, reduce inflammation and muscle soreness. Although there are limited research papers addressing these claims, some of the available papers show possible potential effects of CBD in bodybuilding. In this article, we would discuss how CBD may promote bodybuilding and the possible effect it may have on users.

What does research say about CBD and bodybuilding

A 2022 research paper looked into the role of CBD in promoting muscle regeneration. The research suggests that when people take CBD, it might help a process called "satellite cell differentiation" in their muscles. This process is important for muscle recovery, meaning it could help the muscles heal and perform better. For example, it might reduce muscle damage and make the muscles stronger. The study found evidence supporting these potential benefits of CBD on muscle health and performance.

Another research paper published in 2020 reported the role of CBD in muscle recovery. The research suggests that while CBD might help with muscle recovery, it's important to note that other anti-inflammatory substances like ibuprofen (a type of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug or NSAID) have been shown to potentially lessen the positive changes that normally happen in the muscles after exercise.

The exact reasons for this are not completely understood, but one possibility is that when inflammation is reduced by substances like ibuprofen, certain important processes in the muscles, like the formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis) and the increase in muscle size (skeletal muscle hypertrophy), may also be hindered. In other words, although anti-inflammatory agents might help with immediate relief, they could interfere with the natural adaptations that contribute to long-term muscle health and growth that usually occur in response to exercise.

How may CBD help bodybuilders?

Although scientists are yet to discover the mechanism by which CBD may increase body mass, here are some of the possible therapeutic roles of CBD that bodybuilders can benefit from.

  1. Pain Management: CBD is known for its potential analgesic (pain-relieving) properties. Bodybuilders often experience muscle soreness and inflammation due to intense training sessions. CBD may help alleviate these symptoms by interacting with the endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in regulating pain.
  2. Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Inflammation is a natural response to intense exercise, but chronic inflammation can hinder recovery and lead to muscle damage. CBD has been studied for its anti-inflammatory properties, which may contribute to faster recovery times for bodybuilders.
  3. Sleep Quality: Quality sleep is crucial for muscle recovery and overall well-being. Some users report that CBD helps them relax and improve sleep quality. Better sleep can enhance recovery and support muscle growth.
  4. Stress Reduction: CBD may have anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effects, which can be beneficial for individuals dealing with the stressors of intense training or competition. Elevated stress levels can negatively impact recovery and overall health.
  5. Appetite Regulation: Some individuals use CBD to help regulate appetite. While this might not be directly related to muscle building, maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is essential for overall fitness.
  6. Neuroprotective Properties: CBD has been investigated for its potential neuroprotective effects. While the relevance to bodybuilding may not be direct, protecting the nervous system can contribute to overall health and well-being.

Frequently asked Questions

Is CBD good for muscle growth?

CBD may support muscle growth indirectly by promoting better sleep, facilitating protein synthesis, and aiding muscle repair. While not a direct muscle-building agent like proteins, CBD's potential to enhance overall well-being and optimize conditions for protein synthesis contributes to a favorable environment for muscle development.

Why do bodybuilders use CBD?

CBD provides faster muscle recovery. Unlike other anti-inflammatory medications which reduce muscle growth at high doses, CBD could potentially alleviate chronic inflammation without obstructing muscle-building. The study suggests cannabinoids, found in CBD, possess potent anti-inflammatory properties, potentially promoting faster muscle recovery without negatively impacting muscle development.

Does CBD affect lifting?

CBD increase endurance. CBD's ability to decrease inflammation is crucial for workout recovery, lessening muscle and joint stiffness. By reducing inflammation, CBD not only aids in post-exercise recovery but also lowers the risk of workout injuries. This can enhance endurance by minimizing workout-related pain for both athletes and casual fitness enthusiasts.

Want to Learn More?

  1. Hemp History Timeline (CBD History)
  2. What is CBD? FAQ and 101 Guide
  3. What Is Ayurveda, And Is It For Me?
  4. Why Flavored CBD Is Low Quality
  5. How Heavy Metals And Pesticides Are Getting Into CBD Oil

Sources

Schouten M, Dalle S, Koppo K. Molecular Mechanisms Through Which Cannabidiol May Affect Skeletal Muscle Metabolism, Inflammation, Tissue Regeneration, and Anabolism: A Narrative Review. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2022 Dec;7(6):745-757. doi: 10.1089/can.2022.0220. Epub 2022 Nov 28. PMID: 36454174.

McCartney D, Benson MJ, Desbrow B, Irwin C, Suraev A, McGregor IS. Cannabidiol and Sports Performance: a Narrative Review of Relevant Evidence and Recommendations for Future Research. Sports Med Open. 2020 Jul 6;6(1):27. doi: 10.1186/s40798-020-00251-0. PMID: 32632671; PMCID: PMC7338332.

Isenmann, E., Veit, S., Starke, L., Flenker, U., & Diel, P. (2021). Effects of Cannabidiol Supplementation on Skeletal Muscle Regeneration after Intensive Resistance Training. Nutrients, 13(9). https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13093028

Bielawiec, P., Dziemitko, S., Chabowski, A., & Dzięcioł, J. (2023). Cannabidiol improves muscular lipid profile by affecting the expression of fatty acid transporters and inhibiting de novo lipogenesis. Scientific Reports, 13(1), 1-16. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-023-30872-w

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