CBD—short for cannabidiol, the non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant—is popping up everywhere lately, from the beauty aisle, local coffee shop, and even your nightstand drawer (wink). And now, thanks to CBD-infused protein powders, muscle rubs, and better-than-Epsom-salt soaks, it’s making its way into the sports supplement stack and post-recovery routine of yogis, CrossFitters, and runners alike.
“Exercise causes tiny micro-tears in muscle fibers, which when repaired, allow the muscle to grow back stronger. But there’s an inflammatory response,” say Andrew Kerklaan Ph.D., creator of the Dr. Kerklaan Therapeutics line of cannabis-infused topicals.
Scientists are still in the early stages of studying CBD at a clinical level, but according to Laurie Brodsky, HBSc, ND, Dirty Lemon‘s in-house naturopathic practitioner, CBD has been shown to suppress the inflammatory response, along with the neuropathic pain that athletes may experience. “Plus, it may improve sleep quality, and sleep is very important for recovery after exercise,” she says.
Want to try this high form of post-workout self-care? Get your workout recovery on with the below 11 CBD-enhanced products.
With purported benefits that include glowier skin, muscle growth, reduced inflammation, and tissue repair, collagen is already a superstar. But when combined with CBD, the benefits reach a new level. “This combo is the first of its kind,” Altrufuel founder Ian Berger says, who used the protein powder before competing in the 2018 CrossFit Games. “The benefits of collagen are many, and paired with CBD it is any active person’s dream recovery formula for reduced inflammation and increased relaxation.”
“Leading up to the Crossfit games I introduced CBD-collagen powder into my training supplementation and my muscles and joints have never felt better,” he says. Worth noting: CBD products won’t lead to failed drug testing at competitive sporting events like the Games.
Health pros recommend consuming between 15 to 25 grams of protein the hour after running, and this powder provides 20 grams of grass-fed whey protein. It also contains BCAAs, which have been shown to help you feel less zonked post sweat-sesh.
According to Dr. Brodsky, this drink—made with lemon, pineapple juice, blood orange, l-theanine, luo han guo, and pink Himalayan sea salt—was purposely infused with CBD to help relieve stress from the body by allowing the adrenals glands to take a well-deserved break from secreting cortisol, adrenaline, and other steroid hormones released during exercise.
“When used during training season, and especially during the winter months, CBD supports a strong immune system, and its high antioxidant content maintains a robust cardiovascular system, which is of utmost importance for elite athlete status,” she adds.
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Anna Duckworth, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Miss Grass, an elevated lifestyle shop and publication for women and cannabis, says she uses a CBD tincture daily to help keep exercise-induced inflammation down—and IrieCBD Pain Tincture, which you drop under your tongue, is one she swears by.
In addition to CBD, the blend includes devil’s claw, an herb used to help manage arthritis, muscle pain, tendonitis, and chest pain, and curcumin (an antioxidant compounds in turmeric, which boosts memory and mood) helps with swelling and is a natural remedy for osteoarthritis and strained joints and muscles.
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Summer is for sun-kissed skins ☀️ but remember to keep it hydrated. In addition to your normal sun protection, try rubbing on our CBD+ HEALING STICK. It’s formulated with coconut oil, which has a natural SPF of 3-4, moisturizing shea butter, and hydrating hemp oil to keep your skin balanced. #plantsheal
With a base of coconut oil, shea butter, and essential oils, this all-natural roll-on stick is almost like your go-to post-shower lather. The only difference is that this healing stick is made with a super high concentration of CBD (500 mg per stick). “It’s quick and easy to use, mess free, and works especially well to relieve sore joints and muscles,” says Duckworth. Bonus: You’ll smell great—even when you don’t have time to shower right away post-workout.
Sometimes, there just isn’t time for foam rolling—even when your muscles are begging for a little love. That’s where this spray comes in. Just one to two spritzes invigorates sore muscles and swollen joints, making it a gym bag staple if you’re a runner or high-intensity athlete. Just spray it anywhere your muscles hurt.
Runners, this one’s for you: Packed with CBD and anti-inflammatory plant extracts like ginger, capsaicin, and grapefruit, this formula is all about treating inflammation in your legs and feet. Give your limbs a little massage and this self-care moment will keep your body ready to go the extra mile for you.
“CBD helps address delayed onset-muscle soreness, general muscle tension, and inflammation all of which can all result after exercise,” says Dr. Kerklaan. That’s why he recommends applying the pain stick immediately after. His pro tip: Look for products with 100 to 200 milligrams in a 1 to 2 ounce container. “From topical products, you want a certain concentration for it to be effective,” he says, adding that .5 to 10 milligrams of CBD in a full container won’t be enough to do much of anything. (This one has 180 mg per 1.5 ounce container.)
These on-the-on packets are the perfect add-in for your water or smoothie. “Besides CBD, they’re made with terpenes from cinnamon, antioxidants from tart cherry, and curcumin, which also help your body say cya to inflammation,” says Kurt Forstmann, General Manager of Aceso & Therabis. You can use it every day to prevent soreness or on an as-needed basis.
CBD-bath soaks just might be the next tub-trend—especially for athletes. “We see everyone from MMA fighters to marathon runners, yogis, and regular gym goers turning towards CBD-infused soaks and rubs to help boost their recovery,” says the Founder Papa and Barkley, Boris Shcharansky.
Made with a hefty dose of the same good-for-you element—magnesium sulfate—that you’ll find in most Epsom salt baths, this soak formula combines the big-time wellness assist with coconut oil, a essential oil blend (of eucalyptus, tea tree, peppermint, lavender) CBD, and THC. Since you won’t be swallowing it, don’t expect a high, but you will have to reference your state’s laws to find out if it’s legal or available where you live.
What makes this topical balm so great for recovery is that, like many others on this list, it combines CBD with other anti-inflammatory ingredients. In this case: turmeric, glucosamine, bromelain, cinnamon, and tart cherries. Massage it wherever you feel soreness. You’ll leave the gym smelling pretty fantastic too. How often can you say that?
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