CBD for Athletes: Oils and Creams for Athletic Recovery

Whether you’re a professional or just beginning, being an athlete is no easy feat. In addition to being mentally tough, it takes quite a toll on your muscles or joints. Luckily, there are CBD products that are up to the task of aiding in fitness recovery and alleviating related pains. In this article, we’ll dive into the many ways athletes can incorporate CBD into their active lifestyles, the related benefits, and specific products strong enough to keep up. 

How CBD Can Help Athletes With Muscle Recovery

Workouts are designed to break down muscle fiber, which then rebuilds into stronger muscles. However, this means the athlete will almost certainly experience a degree of soreness, or stiffness as the recovery process is repeated. There are two important ways CBD can benefit athletic recovery pre-and post-workout.

  • Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness: DOMS is muscle soreness that developed after any strenuous activity. This is a result of the muscle tearing, and then scarring as it becomes stronger and larger. Usually, an immune response is created by the body, and this is when inflammation happens. Athletes can use pain relief CBD creams to limit this inflammation and DOMS after a workout. However, CBD can also be used to loosen up muscles before a workout, limiting later soreness and pain. This is especially true if athletes use CBD topically to directly target the muscles and joints where the inflammation is likely to happen, for even tricky areas like your knees.
  • Anti-Catabolic: Because CBD accesses and binds to the endocannabinoid receptors located all over the body, it can play a part as an anti-catabolic. Catabolic hormones contribute to muscle loss, but CBD acts as a catalyst to an anti-catabolic response, which means it reduces the risk of muscle loss, as it also helps with athletes’ recovery and growth.
  • Inflammation and Swelling: CB2 receptors are mainly in the immune and nerve systems, and this is where CBD that is bound to CB2 receptors do its best anti-inflammatory work. While athletes need a certain amount of inflammation for the best immune response to physical activity, too much is what causes pain and soreness. CBD helps to control the immune response so it is kept in balance, mitigating bruising, soreness and pain during and after athletic activities. 
  • Athletic Injuries: Unfortunately, athletes face their fair share of injuries, especially those associated with overuse or training, such as tennis elbow. CBD can ease both the discomfort and the fitness injury itself, which can help athletes avoid delays in training and performances. Cannabinoids are known for their antispasmodic properties, so any kind of muscle spasm will be helped with the use of CBD. And CBD is safe to take before, during, and after workouts and injuries. 


Important Note About CBD vs NSAIDS for Athletes

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, otherwise known as NSAIDS, have been used for a very long time to relieve pain. You may recognize some of the brand names like, Aspirin, Advil and Aleve. While these drugs can provide aid in muscular, joint, and injury pain, they can also put strain on the liver and increase risk of renal failure when used in increasing frequency or long-term. For this reason, during long training sessions and events, athletes are actually advised to avoid NSAIDS. To learn more, read CBD & Ibuprofen (Advil & Motrin) - Comparison & FAQ.

CBD can provide the same relief, with minimal side effects, and in some cases, a more immediate result. Plus, unlike NSAIDs, CBD oils and products can be applied directly to the pained area rather than impact the full body. 

CBD Can Help Athletes Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Another aspect of CBD that can help support athletic recovery is the benefits it can provide for a healthy sleep cycle. While some sleep products may cause lethargy, make you feel even more tired upon waking, or contribute to daytime drowsiness, CBD does not do this. Because of the features of CBD that relieve stress and anxiety, and promote relaxation, CBD can help balance out your sleep cycle, and encourage sleep that recharges and refreshes. To learn more, we suggest checking out our CBD sleep spray including melatonin and magnesium

Topical CBD vs Oral CBD for Athletes 

Topical CBD treatments usually optimize their benefits by combining several ingredients together that all work toward a common goal, such as relieving joint and muscle pain or discomfort. For example, multiple solutions from Botanika Life include menthol and lidocaine to further address injury-based pain. 

Topicals work almost immediately, as they are applied on the skin at the point where they are needed and have no bioavailability (the amount of CBD that enters the bloodstream). Plus, because the CBD is absorbed directly into the skin and utilizes the endocannabinoid receptors located all over the body, it doesn’t have to be digested and lose efficacy in the process 

Oral CBD includes oils, capsules, gummies, and infusions that must all be ingested, in order to work. Like topicals, orals can have a combination of ingredients, but can also be just CBD oil, alone. 

One thing that is important to understand is that how an athlete takes CBD plays a large role in its effectiveness. For example, oils that are taken sublingually (under the tongue) access the endocannabinoid receptors directly, so they do not go through the liver’s digestive process. Their bioavailability is the highest of the oral and topical choices. 

On the other hand, ingested CBD Capsules, gummies, and infusions that are swallowed do have some bioavailability, but they must go through regular digestion, which includes metabolization by the liver. Therefore, they do not work immediately, and their efficacy is reduced by this process.

So which type of CBD should athletes use?

Generally speaking, we recommend that athletes use topical CBD for fitness recovery due to its targeted application. However, if they see CBD for its anti-anxiety or full-body antioxidant benefits, an oral application would be the best option. 

Recommended CBD Products for Athletic Recovery

 Botanika Life has several CBD products that can help you with athletic recovery. All of our solutions are cruelty-free, gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO, and all-natural and sustainably farmed. Rest assured that you’re getting clean ingredients from a company that cares!

  • CBD Pain Relief Roller With Lidocaine: This pain relief roller not only has 1000mg of full spectrum CBD oil, but also includes lidocaine, menthol, and arnica. These are all powerful pain relief agents on their own, but combined maximize their analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties for immediate relief of areas that may experience chronic pain. It’s mess-free and spill-proof, and is the perfect product to slip into your handbag or workout bag. If you have arthritis or another issue that makes fine motor skills difficult, this roller would be an invaluable addition. 
  • CBD Super Soothing Pain Serum: The pain serum has 500mg of full spectrum CBD, as well as lidocaine in a lotion-like formula. It’s plant-based and delivers relief at the source of pain. Accessing the endocannabinoid receptors that are located in the immune and nervous systems, this serum is able to mitigate sore muscles and joints, as well as nerve pain, with almost immediate results. It would act as an important part of a regular pain management protocol, and is easy to use and store.
  • CBD Ultra-Relief Pain Muscle Rub: This concentrated CBD pain relief rub is incredibly useful, whether pain plagues you during the day, or prevents you from a restful sleep at night. It has 1500mg of full spectrum CBD oil, lidocaine, menthol, and arnica, in a cream-like consistency. Upon application to the area experiencing pain, you will feel the cooling effects of the menthol and arnica. And all three unite to create an amazing anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibiotic effect that will bring immediate ease to your pain.
  • CBD Stress Ball Bath Bomb: Botanika life has a line of bath bombs specifically meant to melt away tension to fully support mind and body relaxation. Each of the bath bombs have 100mg of full spectrum CBD oil, as well as other healthy oils that utilize CBD’s excellent anti-inflammation and antioxidant properties.
    • Lavender pairs CBD oil with lavender to evoke serenity and well-being, with a lovely aroma that will drain tension and stress.
    • Eucalyptus brings the outdoors to you, so you can enjoy the notes of nature while you bathe.
    • Sandalwood rejuvenates as it relaxes, with a light, earthy scent.
    • Rose is a beautiful floral scent that will erase tension, and loosen muscles for the ultimate bath bomb experience.

Not sure which one to try? Get one of each in our CBD bath bomb gift sets

Important FAQs About CBD and Its Use by Athletes

  • Is CBD legal for athletes to use? Yes. The World Anti-Doping Agency and the US Anti-Doping Agency both allow for CBD to be used by athletes, from golfers to runners. The language used is cannabidiol, which is what CBD is comprised of, and the ruling allows for use inside and outside of competition. Athletes do need to be careful when traveling. It’s always best to check the laws regarding CBD of each individual country and follow the federal and local mandates.
  • What about CBD vs prescription painkillers? Many effective prescription painkillers are under the umbrella of opioids. While there may be many valid chronic illnesses that have high pain symptoms that can only be alleviated through opioids, these medications are highly addictive and can damage the liver. CBD is non-addictive, and there is no way to overdose when using CBD products either. It’s a much safer alternative to manage the pain and strain associated with athletic recovery and injuries.
  • What dosage of CBD is best for athletes? This varies due to the different ways that CBD can be used. If you’re ingesting the oil or taking a capsule, follow the instructions listed on the product packaging or bottle. You may want to start with a lower dose, but remember CBD does not have a euphoric effect, and you cannot overdose on it. 

Have additional questions, check out CBD for Beginners & Tips for Getting Started or Pros and Cons of CBD for Pain