With gyms reopening across the country, it’s time to get back to lifting weights and spinning our hearts out. We’ll be doing things a little differently now to promote better hygiene, but one thing that won’t change is our love-hate relationship with muscle soreness. In fact, since most of us haven’t worked out in a few months, it’s probably going to be just hate for a while. If you’re into fitness, you probably already know protein powder and BCAAs can help ease the pain of muscle soreness, but there’s one additional supplement that can be the golden ticket to recovery if you haven’t tried it: CBD.

How muscle recovery works

Before explaining why CBD (scientifically known as cannabidiol) can help with muscle recovery, it’s important to understand exactly why we get sore in the first place. When we workout, we’re literally damaging our muscles to force the body to repair them and make them stronger. The damage comes in the form of microscopic tears in the fibers, which is why your muscles sting all over when you try to use them the next day.

How CBD can aid muscle recovery

Supplements like protein and BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) help with muscle recovery because they speed up the process, but CBD can help in a different way: reducing inflammation. In other words, CBD can reduce the amount of pain you experience in the first place, making the recovery process a lot easier to deal with. As an example, I’m sure we can all agree the pain level after a heavy leg day is 10/10, right? With CBD, it could be a 5 or 6/10 instead.

CBD supplements to try

These days, you can find CBD in just about any form: pure oil, liquid softgels, infused gummies and even flavored powders. The delivery is mainly personal preference, but there are other things to consider too. For muscle recovery, look for CBD paired with other relevant nutrients like vitamins or electrolytes. Also, keep an eye out for CBD labeled as “nano” or “nanotechnology”; these molecules can be easier for the body to absorb and utilize, which is critical during muscle repair.

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Other ways athletes use CBD

Since CBD is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, it can be used to alleviate just about any type of physical aches and pains, regardless of whether they came from the gym. Many of us have day jobs that involve the phone or computer, which inevitably causes some joint pain in the hands and wrists. CBD can be a great solution here. Additionally, some studies have found that CBD can reduce anxiety. There isn’t a single person on the planet who doesn’t stress out here and there, especially those involved in sports (competitive people, we’re talking to you).

Is CBD right for you?

Here comes the obligatory, “talk to a medical professional,” speech. It’s always smart to make sure you’re fit for something (pun intended) before trying it.  If you’re a competitor, it’s also a good idea to check your sport’s rules and regulations surrounding cannabis products.

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