CBD for Physical Activity

Cannabidiol (CBD) has evolved from the wellness realm into the world of athletics. With athletes and professional sports organizations increasingly pro-CBD, there is a growing momentum pushing for CBD as a natural complement to physical activity. 

Could this hemp-derived compound offer more than the rest and calmness it's usually touted for? As a non-intoxicating and non-performance enhancing natural molecule, CBD could soon find its way into every gym bag and recovery kit.   

With clinical trials lagging behind real-world use, the details of using CBD for exercise are murky. So let's clarify the situation by looking at what we know so far and offering a few helpful tips. 

The Basics: CBD and Exercise 

Cannabidiol is a cannabinoid produced by cannabis sativa —both from medical cannabis and hemp cultivars. These days, the vast majority of the CBD is derived from hemp, including that used in all Sunnyside Botanicals formulations. 

This molecule is already under investigation for its ability to improve sleep, reduce anxiety, and prevent seizures, but can it benefit physical activity? 

Although we might not yet have clinical studies on CBD's pre-workout and post-workout recovery powers, we do have a growing number of reports from professional athletes and amateurs alike.  

People who use CBD report it reduces pre-game jitters, soothes post-workout inflammation, and may even offer a subtle pre-workout boost. 

Again, there are no human trials (yet) confirming these reports, but it's hard to deny the overwhelming support this quiet little cannabinoid is getting. 

CBD for Muscle Health 

Much of the recent attention CBD is getting from the world of sports has to do with its ability to reduce inflammation.  

Cannabidiol is a proven and potent anti-inflammatory. For anyone who works out regularly, you'll already know how the role of our muscle's inflammatory response is to muscle strength.  

Preliminary work with animal models using high doses of intravenous CBD has discovered that this treatment lowers muscular pro-inflammatory markers, improves muscle strength and even coordination. In addition, the same study discovered it reduced tissue degeneration. 

This is one of the many reasons why pro athletes like Derrick Morgan, an NFL linebacker; Yair "Pantera" Rodriguez, a UFC fighter; and pro golfer Rickie Fowler are working CBD into their daily routine. 

CBD and Exercise: Where to Start 

Can how you move your body determine how you use CBD? Without clinical trials to lead the way, it's a bit frustrating to settle on the dose and route of administration.  

With so many CBD-infused options out there, it's not always straightforward. There are many questions, like do you use it for a pre-workout boost or a post-workout recovery?  

Do you need a Full Spectrum Tincture or CBD-infused Pain Relieving Balms? What's the best option for anyone looking to get in a daily dose of movement? 


CBD as a Pre-Workout Tool 

Pre-workout powders and supplements typically contain a mixture of caffeine, creatine, BCAA's, and more. They help you get a bit of a boost in energy and nutrients right before hitting the track or the gym. 

But now, CBD as a pre-workout additive is trending among pro and amateur athletes alike.   

What many don't realize is that CBD has a dose-dependent effect. So low doses of CBD are actually mildly stimulating. This is in comparison to larger doses, which we all love for the restive sleep-inducing effects.  

Adding CBD into a pre-workout shake could make you more alert with a little more energetic vigor. And depending on the formula, you could get there without the typical jitters of caffeine. 

As demonstrated in other CBD studies, this cannabinoid could also help reduce specific types of pain and inflammation. As a pre-workout, this could help you push further, stretch deeper, or go longer. 


What is the Best CBD Pre Workout Dose? 

Sunnyside always recommends that you start low and go slow as you experiment with your personal CBD dose.  

No matter what your intentions are with this multi-purpose compound, start with the lowest suggested dose and work your way up over several days. 

If you are brand new to the world of CBD, start with our recommended dosage guidelines, which are based on weight and condition treated.  

As a pre-workout tool, you'll likely want to aim for a lower dose to take advantage of CBD's biphasic and mildly stimulating effect. Higher doses, as we explain below, have been shown to be gently sedative.  

Whatever dose you settle on, maintain daily CBD use in your pre-workout routine for at least a week to experience the full effects. 


CBD for Post-Workout Recovery 

As a part of a regular post-workout routine, CBD also holds several interesting properties. The obvious is for sleep. For anyone seeking to wind down after an evening run or power yoga session, a larger dose of CBD can have a gentle sedative effect. 

Researchers have also demonstrated that CBD reduces natural cortisol (stress hormone) levels during sleep. Theoretically, this would impact muscle recovery. It is worth noting that for this application, researchers have only measured these results from larger doses of CBD — upwards of 600 mg. 

Another post-workout benefit? Cannabidiol could prove useful for reducing inflammation and providing pain relief experienced after physical activity.  

To date, there haven't been any clinical trials exploring this specific application, but there are several investigating CBD's anti-inflammatory effects for particular conditions. 

What's the Best CBD Post Workout Recovery Dose? 

As a post-workout tool, the precise CBD dose can vary widely between individuals and applications.  

For example, if you use it for sedation or muscle recovery via lower cortisol levels, experimental studies have worked with doses around 300 mg of CBD with measurable results. 

The suggested dose range for targeting workout-related pain and muscle inflammation could also be as high as 300 mg or more. This was translated using scientific methods from a mouse model but still needs testing in clinical trials. 

As is always the case, we recommend starting low and work yourself up to larger doses. This will minimize any side effects you may experience. Plus, you may find a lower dose does the trick!  


CBD and Weight Training 

The next time you head to the gym for a heart-pumping, sweat-inducing strength training session, throw a Sunnyside Botanicals Cool Release Nano Roller into your gym bag.  

Any physical activity that aims to build muscle tone causes pain and inflammation. At the microscopic level, pushing any activity that builds muscle causes tiny tears in the connective tissue of your muscles.  

Given appropriate time to heal, these tears form stronger connections and stronger muscles. According to Live Strong, this can take a few days to upwards of a week to recover properly. 

Does CBD work when applied topically? One important animal study on a topical CBD (like that delivered in our Cool Release Nano Roller formulation, determined this cannabinoid effectively reduces pain and inflammation.  

While researchers structured this study to replicate an animal model of arthritis, we can extrapolate these effects to muscle recovery, especially with the reports coming from people already using CBD for strength training.  

As the authors of this study conclude, "transdermal administration of CBD has long-lasting therapeutic effects without psychoactive side-effects." 

CBD and Yoga  

In the words of Wanderlust, CBD "will take your yoga practice to an entirely new level of chill." Many find this especially true for restive and restorative styles of yoga and the meditative aspects of the practice.  

A pre-workout dose of Sunnyside Botanicals Full Spectrum tincture can help settle the mind, allow you to go deeper into poses, and help instill a sense of calmness throughout a practice.  

One of the main reasons CBD makes for a perfect pre-yoga pairing is its demonstrated ability to reduce anxiety and stress. An often-cited study on CBD for social anxiety disorder concluded it was just as effective as a pharmaceutical. More recent research suggests this compound may be most effective in high-stress situations. 

If you operate in a high-stress state or are going through a period of heightened anxiety, using CBD as a core component of your daily yoga practice could help you reconnect and restore. 

CBD and Running  

Runners everywhere are reporting the benefits of CBD. Scott Gold, a long-distance trail runner, interviewed for Trail Runner Magazine stated, "It's hard to tell how it really works, but for me the bottom line is that I feel more refreshed the next day, and I feel pretty rotten if I don't take it." 

He went on to explain that in his experience, "For a growing number of trail runners, CBD is a natural alternative to ibuprofen, naproxen and a range of opioid painkillers, while for others it's a sleep aid or recovery supplement." 

If what Gold details pans out in further studies, CBD may be an excellent option for runners as a post-run recovery program. CBD could help runners bounce back faster following every long-distance jog with its anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, and sleep-aiding properties. 

How to Tell if Your CBD is Helping Your Movement Routine 

Because CBD is non-intoxicating, it can be hard to determine if your first, second, or even third dose is getting to work. We are all pre-conditioned by other recovery products to need to feel immediate effects at the time of application. 

But CBD doesn't work like that. In our experience, CBD takes time. This can be especially true for those new to a daily CBD routine who are still working on the dose.  

We recommend giving your new CBD routine for pre or post-workout benefits at least a week, if not two. You won't feel a buzz or instantaneous relief, but you will begin to feel better. 

You may find your post-workout sleep is deeper and longer. You may find the pre-game jitters have lessened. But most importantly, you'll know it's working because you just feel better.  

Cannabidiol may feel like a much quieter product than what you are used to, but it's a hard worker. It gets to work for long-lasting benefits, without the high and serious side effects.