This Is How CBD Can Improve Your Exercise Performance


Everything, from our bones to muscles to the internal systems that keep our bodies functioning, is influenced by physical activity. Physical activity is an important stressor for the promotion of health, but a stressor, nevertheless. Professional athletes turning to CBD for a nutritional boost, and for pre-workout improvements have inspired many a fitness enthusiast to explore adopting CBD into their workout routines.


  1.  What Is CBD and How Does It Work?
  2.  How CBD Enhances Your Fitness Routine
  3.  What Does Research Say
  4.  Why Athletes are Eyeing CBD Oil
  5.  What to Expect From Pre-Workout CBD
  6.  Is Pre-Workout CBD for You?
  7.  Choose the Right Method of Consumption
  8.  Choose the Right Products
  9.  CBD and Drug Testing
  10.  Conclusion

What Is CBD and How Does It Work?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the most abundant cannabinoids present in cannabis plants, second only to TetraHydroCannabinol (THC). All cannabinoids work alongside the body’s naturally occurring compounds within an extensive regulatory system known as the endocannabinoid system or ECS. The ECS is always at work, making sure that important functions like metabolism, immune function, energy, and coordination are balanced.

The ECS comprises many receptors throughout the body. They can be activated either by the body’s naturally occurring cannabinoids or by plant-based phytocannabinoids such as CBD and THC.

Unlike THC, CBD does not bind directly to those receptors. Instead, scientists believe it has an inhibitory effect on them. Through its indirect stimulation, CBD encourages a return toward a perfect internal and external homeostasis.

How CBD Enhances Your Fitness Routine

CBD, prior to your workout, may help in a longer gym session.

Key To Cannabis [1] highlights how Cannabidiol can provide the benefits of a pre-workout supplement without the negative aspects of added stimulants, synthetic ingredients, and harmful additives: “CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties can help prepare your muscles for the intense activity to come, helping you lift that extra 10 lbs or go the literal extra mile on the treadmill.”

Consult & Grow [2] elaborates further:

“As a pre-workout supplement, CBD acts as an energy boost, lowers sensitivity to pain, and is a key anti-catabolic (preventing or minimizing the breakdown of developed muscle). It is a proven analgesic solution, effectively relieving pain. This allows serious fitness-minded individuals to push themselves during their workout, lowering their sensitivity to muscle pain. CBD is also being used as a mood elevator and energy booster. The anti-anxiety and anti-depressant elements of CBD work to increase energy levels, develop positive attitudes, and improve motivation while working out.

Catabolic hormones act to break down muscle tissue, which is not of a desired outcome of any workout. One significant catabolic hormone is cortisol, commonly known as the stress hormone. A function of cortisol is to supply the body with blood sugar through breaking down muscle tissue. CBD, as an anti-catabolic, effectively prevents the breakdown of muscles during a workout, facilitating an easier gain of lean muscle mass.”

Sandy Cohen says on Eaze [3]: “Studies show cannabidiol is a vasorelaxant, which means it eases tension in veins and arteries so blood can flow more freely — and who couldn’t use a little more of that free-flowing feeling during a long run or killer spin class?”

CBD also reduces blood pressure, so you can extend your workout without the typical stress and fatigue. And because CBD stays in the body for several hours, it can also help stave off the soreness you might feel later.”

How CBD Enhances Your Fitness Routine

RELATED: Why Cyclists Have Started Using CBD Oil?

What Does Research Say

In a Telegraph article [4], Jessica Salter says: “Studies show it has positive results for those suffering from depression and anxiety, as well as measurable benefits for those with conditions ranging from arthritis to cancer, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.”

Truth be told, there is still only preliminary research done on CBD oil for athletes. A more broad study is needed in the field to determine absolutely if CBD oil benefits athletes or not.

According to GQ [5]: “There’s a ton of anecdotal evidence of athletes using cannabis as a stress reliever and recovery tool. But there’s no definitive research on CBD and athletes, says Ryan Vandrey, a Johns Hopkins School of Medicine professor whose research has evaluated the use of cannabis and cannabinoids to treat health conditions. The problem, he explains, is that CBD has hit the market without the type of research that support drugs regulated by the FDA. Now, science has to catch up.”

Today, one can only make correlations and assumptions. Despite the lack of robust clinical trials, many athletes have taken matters into their own hands. They are already using it as a pre-workout boost and for post-workout recovery.

Melena Gurganus concludes on Remedy Review [6]:

Scientific research has been able to lay the groundwork for outlining possible benefits that CBD may have to offer, but more clinical studies are necessary to fill in additional blanks. Yet even with a lack of evidence, we’ve seen the emergence of several advocates who regularly use CBD to aid in the various side effects of muscle growth and recovery.

Professional athletes like UFC fighter Nate Diaz and former NFL offensive tackle Eugene Monroe are known to promote the use of CBD, as they’ve personally experienced benefits from using the compound for pain management and muscle recovery.

Why Athletes are Eyeing CBD Oil

What Do Athletes use CBD for

Jessica Salter reports in Telegraph [4]:

Basketball’s BIG3 is the first professional sports league in the US to allow its athletes to use the supplement; cyclist Floyd Landis has been using CBD since 2015 to help with muscle recovery; while Thai boxer Shaun Perry says that after taking CBD, “I can feel the difference right away, even sleep is better.”

Fiona Lawson, a nutritional therapist who works with CBD oil company CannabiGold, explains: “Intensive or endurance-based exercise acts as a stressor for the body. It causes a certain degree of tissue breakdown, which the immune system swoops in to repair – enhancing strength and stamina in the process. The body is effectively breaking itself down to build itself back up.”

RELATED: 5 Ways CBD Can Benefit Athletic Performance

What to Expect from Pre-Workout CBD

CBD’s mood-elevating properties help prepare you for a workout by allowing your mind to relax in preparation for your gym session and its body balancing benefits let your body function more efficiently while you’re in the middle of your workout.

Dominique Michelle Astorino shares her experience on Pop Sugar [7]: “The whole point with CBD, and I can’t emphasize this enough, is: it’s less about what you feel and more about what you don’t feel.”

“Here’s what you can expect to feel: normal! Energized. Focused. At ease. You don’t feel sedated or “too chill” to crush your workout, but you also won’t feel hyped up, either. You’ll honestly just feel like your best, most regular self because CBD helps bring your body to its stress-free, less-inflamed homeostasis.”

Dixie Botanicals [9] concurs:

“The athletes who find benefit from taking CBD before workouts often describe the sensation as “finding a flow” or “a sense of calm” that they believe helps them physically perform at a higher level.”

CBD’s mood-elevating properties help prepare you for a workout by allowing your mind to relax in preparation for your gym session.

Is Pre-Workout CBD for You?

Motus Active [8] shares pointers for you to determine if CBD can heighten your workouts:

  • CBD is for you if you’re pursuing fitness goals and your body needs not just workouts but proper nutrition and rest too.
  •  CBD can help you work through the pain. This, in turn, enables you to workout longer, more intensely, and can lead to increased muscle growth.
  • Swelling, soreness, and irritation are all symptoms of muscle cramping, spasms, and fitness-related injuries. You can reduce the onset and severity of all these symptoms with regular hemp CBD use.
  • If you are a light sleeper or have issues falling asleep at night, CBD may be the natural remedy you have been searching for. With CBD you will be able to optimize your precious resting time to rebuild your muscles and get back to working out faster and more efficiently.

If you have issues falling asleep at night, CBD may be the natural remedy you have been searching for.

RELATED: What Is CBD Good For? The CBD Facts You Need To Know

Choose the Right Method of Consumption

With CBD you are spoilt for choice since there is a wide range of application methods to choose from.

Dixie Botanicals [9] advises: “The timing of your supplement can be key, and no matter how you prefer to get your CBD, you’ll want to make sure you give enough time for CBD to reach your bloodstream, where it can interact with cannabinoid receptors and start promoting balance. How long it takes CBD to reach your bloodstream is influenced by your chosen method of consumption.”

Ingestion via the Mouth

Because it’s so easy, swallowing to ingest CBD supplements remains a popular way to take CBD. This method is slower acting than the others. When you eat a CBD product, the compounds must go through the digestive system and be metabolized by the liver before being delivered to the bloodstream.


Absorbing CBD under your tongue is the second fastest way to deliver CBD to your systems. With the sublingual method, you place the product under your tongue and hold it there for 60-90 seconds. The CBD gets absorbed through the mucous membranes of the mouth and then reaches your bloodstream.


Inhalation methods like vaping and dabbing allow CBD to be absorbed almost immediately. When you vape or dab, the CBD compounds enter your lungs and diffuse directly into your bloodstream.

Dixie Botanicals continues, “It’s important to note that every person’s body and their system is unique. Your age, genetics, circulatory system, metabolism, tolerance level, and other factors can influence how quickly CBD takes its effects and how your body responds to the compound.”

“When deciding to take CBD before a workout for the first time, it’s best if you start with a smaller serving and schedule your initial supplement on a routine workout day rather than an important training session.”

The timing of your pre-workout supplement can be key.

RELATED: Why These Are The 5 Best Ways to Take CBD Oil

Choose the Right Products

Melena Gurganus says on Remedy Review [6], “CBD appeals to a variety of consumers since there are a wide range of different application methods. CBD-infused lotions and creams can be applied topically for targeting localized pain, or sublingual tinctures or ingestible capsules can be of use when seeking whole-body effects.”

Key To Cannabis [1] suggests a number of ways you can add CBD as a pre-workout supplement to your fitness regimen:

CBD tinctures can be dropped sublingually (under the tongue) and take effect within about 15 minutes and are effective for up to 6 hours.

CBD can be vaporized or dabbed in the form of CBD vape oil or 99% pure isolate, respectively.

Inhaled CBD will take effect the quickest, and its effects will last about 3-4 hours, giving you plenty of time for an intense workout.

A slower but longer-acting option is available in the form of CBD softgel capsules. They take around 45 minutes to kick in, but their effects last up to 8 hours, perfect for endurance exercise or a big event such as a marathon or 10K run.

The many ways you can add CBD as a pre-workout supplement to your fitness regimen.

RELATED: What to Expect from CBD Balm for Pain

CBD and Drug Testing

Will you easily pass a marijuana drug test if you use cannabidiol oil? Most likely, yes. Yet it’s not 100% certain. While no standard CBD drug test exists per se, there is a slight chance—under certain circumstances—that CBD oil could trigger a false positive.

However, records of such instances and the reasons behind them are nonexistent or impossible to trace. Therefore, we can assume, with relative safety, that the risk of testing positive for an illegal substance when using CBD oil is very low.

Key To Cannabis [1] agrees: “Much of the data we have about CBD is anecdotal, and its potential impact on drug testing is no exception. If you are concerned about passing a drug test, you’ll need to consider this potential risk when deciding whether CBD is right for you.”

CBD and Drug Testing

RELATED: Will CBD Cause a Positive Drug Test?


As the consensus grows about the benefits of CBD oil, its ability to bring the body back into balance from the inside out is increasingly catching the attention of professional athletes and fitness enthusiasts alike. CBD is more than just a useful medicinal supplement, it is a healthful way to take your workouts to the next level.



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