November 24, 2021

CBD and the Gym

By Simon Van Der Wolf
CBD and the Gym

Whether you’ve been in and out of the gym for years or just getting started, chances are you’ve noticed an increasing number of professional athletes endorsing the use of cannabidiol (CBD). Particularly notable standouts such as Kevin Moran, Rob Gronkowski and Matt Lombardi credit CBD with its ability to keep them in peak form. They have also partnered with CBD companies to start businesses of their own.

It’s worth noting that it isn’t just athletes who are going all in on CBD. The non-psychoactive cannabis compound is now one of the most common ingredients in the sports medicine industry, where it’s incorporated into recovery balms, roll-ons, hot-cold patches and even massage oils. But what exactly is so special about it? Why are so many people talking about it?

CBD is typically sourced from hemp, a variety of the cannabis plant grown for its agricultural and industrial utility rather than its THC content or narcotic properties (e.g. marijuana). CBD is a cannabinoid that is actively studied for its medicinal and therapeutic potential, affecting physiological responses in the body by regulating hormone and neurotransmitter activity in the brain.

Both full-time bodybuilders and fitness hobbyists can benefit from CBD’s effect on the recovery, growth and rest periods following an intense workout at the gym. In this post, we go over what gym-goers of all levels can get out of supplementing with CBD, whether in full-spectrum products or some of the most potent on the market.


Powerlifters, bodybuilders and endurance athletes are prime examples of individuals who commonly pull muscles or tear ligaments at the gym. This is due to the particulars of their specific training styles. It can include high intensity interval training (HIIT), pushing sets to failure and constantly looking to increase their one-rep max on the bench or Smith machine.

In the event of a strained bicep or MCL, you can expect significant pain and discomfort in the following days. Or even weeks as the body goes through its healing process. Where CBD comes in is its ability to reduce the body’s sensitivity to prostaglandins, which have aptly been nicknamed “pain hormones” in gym-going circles. CBD’s analgesic potential is well documented. Which is why high-CBD strains of medical marijuana are very popular among patients suffering from chronic pain. Often with conditions like gout or arthritis. Many seeds, like ones at, can be beneficial as well.


Anyone who’s ever dabbled in combat sports can tell you wrestlers, kickboxers and practitioners of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu are the single most susceptible group to injuriescharacterized by inflammation. These include anything from welts and hematomas to bursa sacs forming in the arms and legs. Or even hands after long periods on the heavy bag.

CBD controls swelling and inflammation by inhibiting cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) enzymes, which are responsible for breaking down and processing eicosanoids. Eicosanoids are signaling molecules that trigger the body’s inflammatory response at sites of injury. This is part of the body’s natural healing process. By inhibiting COX-2, CBD can reduce or ameliorate symptoms of many conditions characterized by abnormal inflammation.

MMA fighters Bas Rutten and Nate Diaz openly discuss the benefits of CBD oil for martial arts practitioners. They often note that it provides many of the benefits of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). But without any of their known side effects.


Muscles are damaged in the gym, fed in the kitchen and grow in bed. In order to make optimal post-workout gains, athletes must get no less than eight hours of sleep a day. Because of this, sleep disorders such as insomnia and restless leg syndrome (RLS) have the potential to seriously undermine work put in at the gym if left unchecked.