Posted on

Cbd oil for weightlifters

I Thoroughly Tested CBD’s Effect on Workout Performance and Recovery. Here’s What Happened.

First things first, I’m not a weekend warrior, I’m a weightlifter: a 6 days a week, balls-to-the-wall, push each set to failure, make the vein on my forehead pop out like a demented worm kinda weightlifter, and I’ve been doing it for about 4 years. And with that comes a few things, namely: extreme soreness, occasional injury, and a lot of stress on my joints.

So, this makes me a sort of perfect guinea pig for a CBD + weightlifting experiment: I’ve got a lot of experience, and I’ve got a lot of afflictions that CBD is supposed to treat. And one affliction in particular: for years I’ve been battling psoriatic arthritis, in particular in my hands and my left elbow.

It was so bad that when I first started seriously weightlifting 4 years ago, by the time I was done in the gym my hands were so stiff they’d be kind of “stuck,” it would take 20 or 30 minutes for me to pry them open. Years of strict low-carb dieting and exercise have helped a good deal (along with heavy ass loaded carries that built up my forearm/hand strength), but my elbow and hand joints are still usually pretty stiff, so when I learned about CBD and it’s anti-inflammatory properties (especially regarding joint pain) I decided to initiate the experiment.

For good measure, why not test CBD’s effectiveness as a preworkout as well?

This isn’t a half-assed “I tried CBD for my workouts, here’s how I felt” kind of thing, though: my aim was to be as methodical as possible, and to test CBD in various ways using a number of as-objective-as-possible metrics against a CBD-less control workout. In the experiment I tested:

  • The effect of orally consumed CBD oil as a preworkout on workout performance: I documented a slight loss in explosiveness and power, but a slight improvement in stamina and endurance.
  • The effect of orally consumed CBD oil as a postworkout on muscle soreness and systemic recovery: I did not document a significant difference in muscle soreness or recovery .
  • The effect of CBD topical balm as a postworkout on localized joint/muscle recovery and soreness: I documented a clear improvement in joint stiffness and soreness after applying topical CBD postworkout.

Before I dive deep into the details of my experiment and the results, though, let’s briefly review CBD’s benefits and how it might be useful for weightlifting.

CBD is a potent anti-inflammatory and painkiller, shouldn’t it help speed up recovery?

Inflammation is how the immune system responds to tissue damage, viruses, and bacteria. White blood cells are sent to the inflamed area, where they repair damage and repel foreign invaders.

There are two types of inflammation : acute inflammation, which occurs when you incur muscle damage from weightlifting, and chronic or systemic inflammation, which is when the body habitually sends white blood cells to healthy tissues, where they can begin to attack organs, joints, and skin. Our concern here is with acute inflammation.

Is reducing acute inflammation after exercising actually a good thing?

Acute inflammation, in the context of weightlifting, is a natural response: it’s how your body repairs the damage you’ve done. This is why the question of CBD’s effectiveness in expediting workout recovery is a bit hazy. On the one hand, CBD has known anti-inflammatory properties:

  • This 2009 study found that cannabinoids, including CBD, can act as “anti-inflammatory agents against a number of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.
  • This 2018 review of 32 studies, published in Frontiers of Neurology, also found that CBD had anti-inflammatory properties that improved mobility and reduced pain and fatigue in patients with multiple sclerosis.
  • This 2015 study published in the journal of Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry found that CBD reduced a number of inflammatory markers in patients with arthritis, brain inflammation, and colitis

Exercise causes inflammation which is part of the recovery process, and CBD reduces inflammation, so CBD must be good for speeding up recovery, right? Unfortunately, it’s not so simple. Why? Because in the context of recovery from exercise, inflammation may actually be a good thing.

In fact, one recent study published in the Journal of Physiology found that concentrated consumption of antioxidants, prized for their anti-inflammatory properties, AFTER a workout actually inhibited strength gains, because the antioxidants neutralized free radicals that are essential to muscle repair. Might the same thing apply to CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties?

Now, it’s beyond the scope of this experiment to determine whether long-term use of CBD has a positive or negative effect on strength and muscle gains.

But I still have questions that I can do my best to address:

  • Can preworkout consumption help in any way with performance?
  • Can postworkout consumption quicken recovery and reduce muscle soreness?
  • Can postworkout topical application quicken recovery and reduce joint stiffness?

Let’s get to the experiment.

The CBD + Weightlifting Experiment

Daily routine during the experiment

For each day of the experiment I ate the same thing (note: I also intermittent fast and usually don’t eat until about 4PM). I also don’t consume any supplements (no protein shakes, no amino acids, no creatine, and no gear).

For lunch (about 3 hours before workout) I ate:

For dinner (about 2 hours postworkout) I ate:

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 large purple sweet potato
  • 1 cup broccoli
  • 1 cup brussels sprouts
  • 2 avocado
  • 5 tbsp. Olive oil
  • 4 tbsp. Coconut butter
  • Half bar of dark chocolate
  • 1 cup raspberry

Total: ~3300-3500 k/cal

I went to bed at about 1 AM and woke up at about 9 AM, so my sleep was consistent as well. I also didn’t consume any CBD in the run-up to the experiment.

Part 1: CBD as a preworkout

Intro: After toying with a few different ideas, I decided the best way to test CBD as a preworkout was to

  • a) test the maximum number of reps I could do at a specific weight without CBD and see if I can do more with CBD,
  • And, b) to separately grade my energy levels, stamina, and explosiveness to determine whether I noticed any improvement (or decline) in performance.

So, I did heavy compound movements (weighted pullups, deadlifts, and flat bench dumbbell press) and high-intensity sets either at max weight (w/ the pullups and bench press) or very high-rep (for the deadlifts, aka “widowmakers:” 20 rep sets at a high weight, 305 lbs in this case). I figured this would test both my strength/explosiveness and my endurance, both at near-max intensity.

I consumed 50mg of organic full-spectrum CBD oil sublingually 40 minutes before the workout.

Summary/Conclusion: I experienced a slight decrease in strength and explosiveness, but a slight increase in stamina. Specifically, when I went for an extra rep or two more than I’d ever done at near-max weight, I was NOT able to do it. BUT, when I went for more reps than I’d ever done at about 75% of my 1RM, I WAS able to do it.

See also  Cbd oil for blisters

Perhaps this isn’t surprising: CBD has sedative effects, but it’s also an effective painkiller, and high rep sets at lower weight are more about pain tolerance, whereas high-weight low-rep sets are more about power and explosiveness.

Still, it’s an interesting result: perhaps CBD’s analgesic effects make it useful for low-weight, high-rep work because it enhances pain tolerance, but at the cost of some power and explosiveness?

In other words, maybe CBD is good for slow-twitch work and bad for fast-twitch work.


I tested all these maxes about one week before the experiment.

  • Weighted pullups: 100 lbs
    • Previous max at this weight (tested : 3 pullups w/ strict form (dead hang to chin over the bar, no exceptions. )
    • Goal: 4 pullups w/ strict form
    • Actual: 3 reps
    • Previous max at this weight: 17 reps
    • Goal: 20 reps
    • Actual: 20 reps
    • Previous max at this weight: 4 reps
    • Goal: 5 reps
    • Actual: 3 reps
    • Strength & explosiveness: Slightly below average

    CBD is known for its calming and relaxing properties, yet it’s also considered a mild stimulant at smaller doses (in fact, CBD acts on the same cannabinoid receptors as coffee), so I wasn’t sure what to expect. As it kicked in I definitely felt a little bit sluggish and spaced out, though.

    Perhaps predictably, I found that the CBD diminished my strength and explosiveness a bit. My muscles didn’t quite fire as hard as they normally do, and my reaction times were sluggish (compared to when I tested these maxes the week previously). This wasn’t noticeable for the deadlifts since I was nowhere near max weight for them, but for the DB press and weighted pullups, where I was pretty close to my max, I fell short of my previous maxes.

    • Stamina: Slight improvement

    It wasn’t just that I was able to top my max reps w/ trap bar deadlifts @ 305 lbs : I actually experienced noticeably less pain and discomfort for the 20 rep set, especially for the last 5 reps, compared to the previous time I maxed out at 17 reps. These reps just went smoother, my form felt crisper.

    Part 2: CBD for localized recovery (joint pain/stiffness)

    Intro: This is one of CBD’s best known uses: as an anti-inflammatory for joint pain and stiffness, and I also have a longstanding and particularly bad case of hand and elbow stiffness/inflammation (left elbow, specifically), so I’m a prime subject for this test.

    I did a bunch of heavy work but emphasized the two exercises that are hardest on my elbow and hand joints: weight pullups (really hard on my elbows) and loaded carries (REALLY hard on my hand/finger joints).

    For this experiment I did a control stage where I closely monitored my joint pain and stiffness for 24-hours post-workout, and then replicated the exact workout + applied Charlotte’s Web CBD-infused balm (w/ 450 mg of CBD) to my hands and elbow immediately after.

    Results summary: I noticed an immediate difference in joint stiffness after postworkout application, and the CBD allowed me to return to baseline much quicker than normal. However, it didn’t lower my baseline. In other words: the CBD helped me recover faster, but it didn’t seem to reduce my joint stiffness to below my normal baseline. My hands and elbow just felt normal quicker.

    I would grade topical CBD as moderately effective for lifting-related localized joint pain/stiffness. I suspect the worse your symptoms are, the more effective it might be.

    • Loaded carries w/ trap bar: 3 x 305 lbs for 30 seconds
    • One-armed carries: 3 x 105 lbs for 30 seconds (each side back-to-back)
    • Weighted pullups: 90 lbs for 3 sets of 5 reps
    • EZ-bar bicep curls: 110 lbs for 3 sets of 8 reps
    • Cable rows: 195 lbs for 3 sets of 5 reps
    Immediately after workout 2 hours postworkout 4 hours postworkout 6 hours postworkout Next morning 24 hours later
    Stiffness + joint pain w/out CBD 8/10: I have that “my hands are stuck” level of pretty extreme stiffness 7/10: Stiffness has diminished a little. 7/10: More or less the same as 2 hours ago: I still can’t quite fully extend my fingers 7/10: Still the same 6/10: Diminished since last night, my hand no longer feels stuck in a clenched position 5/10: More or less back to normal
    Stiffness + joint pain w/ CBD 6/10: Immediately felt a difference, my joints loosened up a little, I can extend my fingers more easily than normal postworkout and my hands were less stuck in the clenched position. 5/10: My hands feel more or less back to my normal baseline already (much faster than usual). 5/10: Still at baseline. 5/10: Still at baseline. 5/10: Still at baseline. 5/10: Still at baseline.

    Part 3: CBD for systemic recovery and muscle soreness

    Intro: For this part, I did a similar setup as the joint stiffness part, only for overall soreness instead and with oral CBD: I closely monitored soreness levels over 24 hours and then replicated my exact workout plus a 50mg dose of CBD oil after the workout to determine if CBD sped up my recovery or reduced soreness over a period of 24 hours.

    Results summary: While the CBD did help me feel more relaxed, I didn’t experience a noticeable decrease in soreness. I did my best to grade my level of soreness on a scale from 1 to 10, and while my perceived soreness was slightly lower with the CBD, it wasn’t quite enough to honestly say it made a real difference. When I extended my arms and flexed my triceps, I felt about the same degree of soreness, though maybe a bit less with the CBD.

    • Dumbbell incline bench press: 90 lbs for 3 sets of 5
    • Dumbbell flat bench press: 95 lbs for 5 sets of 3
    • Overhead dumbbell military press: 70 lbs for 3 sets of 3
    • Cable overhead tricep extensions: 135 lbs for 5 sets of 3
    Immediately after workout 4 hours postworkout Next morning 24 hours postworkout 36 hours later 48 hours later
    Soreness w/out CBD 5/10: Not quite sore yet. 5/10: Not quite sore yet. 8/10: Moderate soreness 8/10: Soreness definitely picked up a bit from this morning 7/10: More or less the same. 5/10: Back to baseline.
    Soreness w/ CBD 5/10: Not quite sore yet. 5/10: Not quite sore yet. 7/10: Mild-moderate soreness 7/10: Mild-moderate soreness 7/10: Mild-moderate. 5/10: Back to baseline.


    If I’m going for big heavy lifts or PRs, then I’ll leave the CBD at home. But I like to mix up my volume, and after this experiment I’m considering using CBD as a preworkout on high volume days to maybe squeeze an extra few reps out. I also recently conducted an experiment testing CBD’s effect on heart rate, and found that it slightly lowered my heart rate after exercise and also helped my heart rate return to normal faster: another reason to consider CBD on low-volume days.

    For days when I’m doing certain exercises that aggravate my hand or elbow joints, then I definitely plan on applying topical CBD in the future. Anyone suffering from chronic joint inflammation can likely benefit from topical CBD, especially if they’re a weightlifter. But for overall soreness and recovery, I don’t see CBD as being a game changer. That being said, many people use CBD as a sleep aid (especially those who suffer from anxiety), and anything that helps you sleep better will aid workout recovery.

    CBD Oil for Bodybuilding & Recovery
    A Look into the Pros & Cons

    If you’ve walked into a health shop, a vape store, or you follow too many Instagram influencers, then chances are you’ve heard about the wonderful world of CBD oil.

    But did you know that many gym and fitness enthusiasts are using CBD oil for weightlifting? Let’s take a look at why.

    And no, you won’t be stoned at the gym.

    What Is CBD Oil?

    CBD Oil comes from marijuana and hemp plants, specifically the sativa version of the plants. These are the same plants that are often used for recreational/medical marijuana and hemp products.

    These plants produce compounds called “cannabinoids” – 2 of which are very popular. The first type is called THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) which is the psychoactive part of marijuana that gets you “high” or “stoned” depending on your choice of lingo. (1)

    However, the second type is called CBD (cannabidiol), and this does not have any “high” effects.

    In fact, it’s usually extracted from hemp plants which are bred to have a THC content of less than 0.3%.

    In other words, you could get a tiny, tiny bit high from using CBD oils, but nowhere near enough to get your feet off the ground.

    Is CBD Oil Good For ​Bodybuilding?

    CBD oil is good for ​bodybuilding and muscle growth in the sense that it eases inflammation, helps with muscle recovery, and reduces pain after workouts.

    This makes it easier for you to increase your muscle mass without putting your body under too much stress. The naturally relaxing and anti-inflammatory effects of CBD help your muscles to recover more quickly, thus promoting steady muscle growth.

    When you get home after your session at the gym, CBD products also help with sleep and reduce anxiety levels, so you can rest more easily. (2)

    Essentially, CBD products have many of the “chill out” effects associated with recreational and medical marijuana, but without the high. This means that you can use them throughout the day as it suits your plans.


    How Does CBD Help With Muscle Recovery?

    During a weightlifting session, if you push yourself and try to increase your muscle mass, you may notice muscle soreness and pain.

    This is caused by microscopic damage to your muscle fibers which needs to be repaired.

    Recent studies have found that those who use CBD can reduce inflammation following exercise and even improve mobility in people with multiple sclerosis. (3) It also helps to reduce pain following exercise and it’s anti-catabolic properties ensure you can build muscle more steadily.

    Moreover, CBD can help to regulate your catabolic hormones, as incorrect amounts of catabolic hormones can lead to too much cortisol in your body, making it harder for your muscle mass to increase.

    Furthermore, research has shown that cannabinoids have antispasmodic properties, meaning that they reduce muscle spasms following a painful new workout at the gym.

    Personal Trainer Tara Laferrara also noticed a “big difference in infalmmation and stress” after her workouts when taking this supplement. At first, taking CBD to lower cortisol levels sounded nice only on paper, but I needed more convincing. That’s until I saw this video​ about how ​CBD oil helps in muscle recovery and pain relief according to expert opinion.

    Can CBD Help With Weight Loss Too?

    Unless you can’t stave off the munchies, CBD can help with weight loss by boosting your metabolism and reducing your appetite in the long term.

    It also encourages more “brown fat” within your body. This refers to the type of fat that our bodies use for heat energy. Essentially, it’s fat which is quite healthy and good for us. (4)

    Results from new studies also suggest that marijuana users tend to weigh less than non-marijuana users.

    When you think about people who partake in the smoking of the cannabis plant (i.e. stoners), you probably picture them eating 50 bags of Doritos a night, but alas they are defying the clichés.

    ​Of course, CBD oil is not the same as marijuana, but CBD is still present in regular weed, so it’s likely to play a part in this weight loss relationship, whether it’s due to behavioral factors or chemical factors.

    We found that [marijuana] users, even those who just started, were more likely to be at a normal, healthier weight and stay at that weight. Only 15% of persistent users were considered obese compared to 20% of non-users.

    – Omayma Alshaarawy, Fitness Author

    What Are The Health Benefits Of CBD Oil?

    There are many benefits of CBD oil aside from bodybuilding, whether you’re trying to regulate your blood sugar levels or improve your sleep and diet. Let’s look at some of the main health benefits in more detail.

    1. Pain Relief – Similarly to medical marijuana, it’s thought that CBD supplements can help to reduce chronic pain. Current evidence is quite anecdotal, but it seems promising and researchers are optimistic. Using CBD oil for muscle building can potentially reduce post-workout pain significantly.

    2. Anti-Inflammatory – It appears that CBD products can have significant anti-inflammatory effects, helping bodybuilders and fitness fans to exercise their socks off without suffering from too much inflammation afterward.

    3. Reduce Depression And Anxiety – Research has shown that CBD can help to reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety, hence calming the minds of people with these conditions. As an anxiety sufferer myself, I noticed a huge difference when I started putting CBD oil in my vape. I also weaned myself off of nicotine addiction, which was an added bonus in the health department.

    4. Improved Heart Health – Due largely to its relaxing effects which reduce stress and anxiety, CBD could help to reduce high blood pressure and therefore improve heart health. Stress is intrinsically linked to high blood pressure, so bringing down stress has positive physical effects on the body.

    5. Neurological Treatment – Along with medical cannabis, CBD is thought to be able to assist people with neurological conditions such as epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.

    6. Acne Reduction – Because of CBD’s ability to better regulate the sebum levels that our skin naturally produces, it can help to reduce skin conditions like acne, eczema, and sensitive skin. (5)

    7. May Reduce Cancer – Just to be clear, there is no conclusive evidence that CBD definitely reduces cancer. However, there are some studies that are pointing in the right direction. For example, one study indicated that cannabis users had a 45% less chance of developing bladder cancer than non-smokers. It’s not a smoking gun, but it’s optimistic.

    Using CBD for Bodybuilding and Weightlifting

    At EndoCoast, we’ve seen athletes from all walks of life enhance their fitness regimen using CBD. Bodybuilding is one of the most intense and rigorous athletic endeavors, requiring an elevated level of endurance, pain tolerance, and discipline. CBD activates your body’s endocannabinoid system to help maintain homeostasis, which affects many factors related to your bodybuilding goals.

    There are many reasons CBD is so popular in professional sports and the fitness world. Read on to learn a variety of techniques you can try to combine CBD oil and bodybuilding to help you achieve your fitness goals.

    CBD and Muscle Growth

    Gaining muscle is one of the hardest aspects of bodybuilding. While there are no workarounds for dedication and hard work, you may significantly aid your journey by trying CBD oil for bodybuilding.

    One of the ways CBD affects your endocannabinoid system is by regulating hormone levels. One hormone, the catabolic hormone, affects how much cortisol your body produces. If you have too much cortisol, you may find it difficult to increase your muscle mass. This is one way CBD and muscle growth can work together: CBD helps regulate the catabolic hormone, preventing you from an excess of cortisol.

    CBD can also work as an antispasmodic. This is most notable in the case of epilepsy: the only FDA-approved medication including CBD is used to treat seizures. But antispasmodics can also soothe the muscle spasms you may have following an intense workout, helping you increase your muscle mass.

    Obviously, using CBD does not directly cause your muscles to grow. There’s no substitute for good, old-fashioned effort. However, using CBD for bodybuilding helps rid your body of any impediments that might hinder you on your fitness journey.

    CBD and Inflammation

    Among advocates of CBD for bodybuilding, one of the most popular and notable effects is its effect on inflammation. Inflammation is one of your body’s ways of fighting off infection, injury, and disease, but it often causes distracting pain and swelling.

    In the case of CBD and muscle growth, acute inflammation can cause distracting pain and discomfort that impedes you from continuing or recovering from a workout. One of the most effective natural anti-inflammatory supplements is CBD. Bodybuilding is made much easier when you don’t have to deal with uncomfortable swelling, aching, and pain as a result of inflammation.

    CBD also works as a reliable method to relieve inflammation as a result of joint pain and arthritis. Aching joints can severely impede weightlifting, and CBD is a much-lauded form of relief for these ailments.

    CBD and Muscle Recovery

    Muscle soreness is caused by microscopic tears in your muscle fibers. Bodybuilders and weightlifters are constantly dealing with the associated pain and fatigue of high-intensity muscular workouts, and they often resort to unsustainable methods to relieve their pain. Opting for CBD could help athletes avoid negative NSAID side effects or other drastic measures that interfere with training.

    CBD is an effective analgesic, or pain reliever. If you get your CBD product from a natural, organic source that uses no harsh chemicals or pesticides, CBD oil for bodybuilding is an excellent alternative to other medications.

    CBD also helps promote better sleep and reduce stress, both of which have a major effect on your overall health. Poor sleep and stress can not only derail your bodybuilding goals, but also prevent you from losing weight or gaining muscle mass.

    How to Use CBD for Bodybuilding

    Depending on what factors are hindering you from your fitness goals, you may choose to administer CBD products before or after a workout.

    One of the most touted methods for CBD and bodybuilding is using topical lotions and creams. These products allow you to directly target the sore or inflamed area of your body, providing fast relief to the affected muscle. You can also use CBD edibles for a slow release of CBD into your bloodstream that lasts throughout the day.

    CBD oil and bodybuilding is perhaps the most classic administration method. Simply apply your desired dosage under your tongue, to your food, or on the affected area for quick and concentrated relief.

    Beyond CBD, there are many cannabinoids and terpenes derived from hemp that provide remarkable benefits. We recommend using full-spectrum CBD, which contains all derivatives from the hemp plant. These work in conjunction with each other in a phenomenon called ‘the entourage effect’ to provide you with maximum relief.

    Read our handy CBD dosage guide for more information on the recommended dosages for each CBD product.

    Trust Lab-Tested EndoCoast CBD for Bodybuilding

    No matter how you choose to administer your topical, edible, or CBD oil for bodybuilding, you should ensure your product is lab-tested. This ensures your product contains exactly the amount and concentration of CBD it says it does, and that your product is void of any harsh chemical solvents and pesticides.

    We want our customers to feel educated and informed about CBD before using our products to know exactly how it can benefit their lives. We encourage you to browse our Learning Center to dispel CBD myths, understand correct dosages, and learn about nationwide legality and ongoing research.

    See also  What does cbd oil do for the brain