6 Reasons Professional Athletes are Choosing CBD for Sport Injuries and Muscle Recovery

July 10, 2019 4 min read

6 Reasons Professional Athletes are Choosing CBD for Sport Injuries and Muscle Recovery

CBD use is no longer taboo, particularly for the elderly, parents, children, and any other populations you wouldn’t normally associate with marijuana or hemp-based products. Yet for athletes (whose need for safe and side effect free pain relief may in some instances surpass other populations), anti-drug policies have inhibited their ability to utilize CBD for its various therapeutic benefits. This conundrum has led to controversies over the past few years as the legality of cannabis continues to spread within the U.S. and worldwide. Former NFL running back, Ricky Williams caught some heat for his marijuana use when searching for non-pharmaceutical means of managing aches and pains. While several other athletes (mainly retired), including former boxing champion Mike Tyson, freestyle skier Tanner Hall, Olympian Ross Rebagliati and long time NBA player Bill Walton have all expressed their affinity for cannabis-based products with several getting into the industry itself; and for good reason. CBD might be perfect for high performance athletes who not only need pain relief but, assistance with muscle recovery.

How does it work?

Cannabidiol or CBD is a compound that comes from the cannabis plant that is used to treat a wide range of conditions including: chronic inflammation, chronic pain, muscle spasms, joint injuries, neurological pain, and mental disorders such as anxiety and depression. CBD cannabinoids contain the following properties: anti-inflammation, analgesic, anti-spasmodic, enhanced circulation and regenerated cellular activity. Extra strength CBD pain relief cream can be directly applied to in certain areas of the body as a very effective means of relieving pain, soreness, and inflammation reduction. Extra strength CBD cream for pain relief does not create the psychoactive effects that THC does.

CBD products such as essential CBD hemp oil are a great alternative for high-performance athletes who can’t utilize the benefits of THC, but also desire other options besides the over the counter, steroid-based creams or NSAIDS often used for arthritis, joint pain and a number of ailments.

  • For Pain: The human body actually has its own endocannabinoid system, replete with cannabinoid receptors that impact our sensitivity to inflammation and pain. Researchers believe that CBD aids the body in using its own endocannabinoid system more effectively. Also, it has been shown that CBD inhibits the body’s absorption of a compound called anandamide which regulates pain, thus making more anandamide in the bloodstream which may decrease one’s levels of pain.[1] CBD is highly effective for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness which occurs after strenuous activity.
  • For Inflammation: Studies have shown that cannabinoids might up-regulate T-regulatory cells, which can suppress inflammatory responses. Cannabinoid receptors CBI mainly found in the brain and CB2, mainly found in the immune system are involved in regulating the immune system.[2] Not only can CBD aid in the recovery of internal organs, but it can also help to recover and repair muscle tissue triggered by strain and overuse. Inflammation increases when muscle damage occurs, so using CBD products can quickly reduce that inflammation and encourage proper recovery.[3]

CBD pain relief cream has also been linked to a multitude of therapeutic benefits for common issues associated with high performance activity:


Research suggests that CBD helps with arthritis and joint pain. A 2017 study found that CBD has the potential to relieve pain caused by joint inflammation when used locally. CBD also prevented the development of pain and nerve damage in joints damaged by osteoarthritis.[4]

Concussions and traumatic brain injuries

CBD’s neuroprotectant capability has been shown to limit the neurological damage that occurs to the brain due to trauma. The endocannabinoid system itself is responsible for regulating many physiological processes that are associated with traumatic brain injury, such as blood flow to the brain, inflammatory processes, and neuroplasticity. It looks as though levels of endocannabinoids in the brain increase during a TBI as well as afterward, activating cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2. This helps to reduce neurological damage and motor skill impairment.[5] 

CBD’s neuroprotective properties also might be able to disrupt chemical processes during a traumatic brain injury that kills brain cells.[6]

Muscle spasms

Muscle spasms are common in athletes, causing stiffness and involuntary contractions particularly in the legs. Pain and muscle spasms in particular are of the most common reasons people seek out extra strength CBD pain relief cream due to its ability to provide substantial improvements in muscle spasticity. Cannabinoids have been shown to reduce muscle tremors by activating the endocannabinoid system.[7]

Post workout muscle recovery

CBD has been linked to enhanced muscle recovery due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It also induces relaxation and improves sleep quality, which is the time that muscles recover the most. CBD has been shown to be more potent that most muscle recovery and repair supplements by speeding up these processes.[8]

Appetite stimulation

Cannabis in general is known for its appetite inducing qualities, which is why it is often used to boost the appetites of HIV and cancer patients. At the same time, however, CBD has positive effects on the metabolism. Cannabis use in general is associated with lower BMIs and less visceral fat despite increasing the appetite.

Better performance

Runners in particular, have gravitated toward CBD to boost their endocannabinoid system to enhance mood and lessen anxiety during marathons.[9] Performance anxiety and nervousness may also be positively impacted by the use of CBD.

Overall, hemp-based CBD pain relief cream having strong pain reduction properties, little to no side effects, and its non-addictive properties make it a win-win-win for professional athletes or those with active lifestyles. CBD research is still ongoing, and it’s too early to tell whether sports organizations will further relax regulations regarding CBD use but early results as well as a growing number of personal testimonies are moving the fight in the right direction.


[1] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319475.php

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2828614/

[3] http://cliniciantoday.com/pros-and-cons-for-cbd-oil-in-muscle-recovery/

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28885454

[5] https://www.projectcbd.org/medicine/no-brainer-cbd-thc-head-injuries

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5314139/

[7] https://echoconnection.org/spasms-medical-cannabis-and-cbd-research-overview/

[8] http://cliniciantoday.com/pros-and-cons-for-cbd-oil-in-muscle-recovery/

[9] https://www.runnersworld.com/health-injuries/a23506689/cbd-oil/

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