If you're looking for answers about how to use CBD for muscle pain and soreness, we're here to help. This article summarizes the benefits of CBD for muscle soreness and chronic muscle pain. We cover the relationship between chronic stress and muscle pain and how CBD helps in both areas. We review the best ways to take CBD after a workout plus the best ways to CBD for muscle relaxation. Finally, we offer some takeaway conclusions for you.
Ways to use CBD for muscle pain and soreness:
- A high-quality topical CBD skin cream, salve, or roll-on ointment can relieve the pain associated with sore muscles when you apply it directly to the affected area. Our skin is covered in cannabinoid receptors which absorb the CBD. Many topical CBD creams come with supportive ingredients like arnica, lidocaine, or menthol for both a pleasant odor and enhanced relief.
- A tasty CBD oil tincture (held under the tongue for 60 seconds, then swallowed) or a CBD gummy (chewed then swallowed) can also reduce muscle soreness you feel after exercise or muscle stiffness after a long day. These days, CBD Oil and CBD gummies come in a variety of delicious flavors.
How your endocannabinoid system relates to your muscles
CBD activates our ECS once it's absorbed either internally or through our skin. As a result, CBD has become an effective and popular way to relieve sore muscles. Many people also take CBD as a non-narcotic muscle relaxer.
First a little background on the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS affects nearly every other system in our bodies, including pain perception and muscle function. Our ECS is composed of receptors, enzymes, and neurotransmitters.
Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers from the brain which carry signals to our body. These signals regulate our muscles, causing them to contract and release at the right times. Endocannabinoids are post-synaptic neurotransmitters. So, they travel backward across the synapse from the recipient cell to the sender cell, allowing our ECS to control the flow. The recipient tells the sender when it needs more, or has had enough, of a neurotransmitter. Better signaling results in decreased muscular tension. Back to top.
The relationship between chronic stress and muscle pain
Chronic stress has many negative effects on our body. When it comes to our muscles, chronic stress can cause painful muscle tension, muscle rigidity, and muscle spasticity. So, reducing our stress and anxiety is going to help us better in both mind AND body. Cannabidiol (CBD) indirectly helps relieve muscle pain in the following ways:
- CBD contributes to physical relaxation by balancing hormones through the serotonin receptors.
- It also reduces anxiety and helps to manage stress, which in turn relaxes muscle tissue.
Using CBD for post-workout muscle soreness
Many athletes today ingest CBD oil and/or apply topical CBD to help with muscle pain and soreness.
CBD is well known for its pain-relieving or “analgesic” properties. During strenuous exercise, muscles tear and rebuild themselves. In addition to pain relief, CBD can aid muscle recovery by reducing inflammation, which shortens the muscle recovery process. CBD also appears to assist in muscle regeneration by inhibiting creative kinase (CK) enzymes. Athletes taking CBD showed 3x lower levels of the creatine kinase (CK) enzyme after their workouts. Lower CK levels come with less muscle damage. Back to top.
Using CBD for chronic muscle pain
CBD can reduce our perception of chronic muscle pain. In fact, when combined 1:1 with THC, CBD has been shown to normalize muscle fibers for those who suffer from fibromyalgia and Multiple Sclerosis (MS). It also seems to reduce muscle spasticity in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS.)
- For flare-ups, a potent topical CBD salve or cream can help particularly sore areas by providing immediate relief from the outside.
- For systemic or all-over muscle pain, ingesting CBD products orally will be more effective (not to mention less messy and less expensive) than trying to cover your body with topical CBD. You'll want to find your specific dosage for daily pain management, as well as finding out how much more you can tolerate during acute flare-ups.
Using CBD for muscle relaxation
CBD is a potent muscle relaxant, and a full-spectrum CBD product has a higher efficacy for most consumers. Full-spectrum CBD contains all the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids from the hemp. These other compounds enhance the effects of the cannabidiol, something known as "the entourage effect."
There are several options when taking CBD to relax muscles:
- CBD Oil – held under the tongue for 60 seconds, then swallowed; absorbed into the bloodstream through oral membranes; faster results
- CBD Gummies – chewed, then swallowed; goes through the digestive tract; slower results
- CBD Vapes – inhaled; absorbed through the lungs; nearly instantaneous
- CBD Creams – spread on affected areas; absorbed through skin receptors
- CBD Sprays – can come in the oral (back of the throat) or nasal variety; faster results
Conclusions: the benefits of CBD for muscle pain and soreness
CBD acts as an effective and natural muscle relaxant which doesn't come with the side effects and/or potential dependency of over-the-counter or prescription medications. By leveraging the body’s own endocannabinoid system, CBD targets muscle function directly—from the inside out. The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD aid in muscle recovery and may improve muscle regeneration, while the analgesic properties reduce our sensation of pain.
Moreover, CBD indirectly helps to reduce muscle stiffness and soreness by reducing stress and anxiety through its interaction with serotonin. Many thousands of consumers are finding relief every day with CBD products, from performance athletes to those managing chronic pain to everyday folks sore from a long workday. Back to top.