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Does CBD Oil Help Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness?

Written by Jordan Donohue

In the last ten years the amount of evidence supporting the use of CBD oil has grown significantly. Scientific studies have now demonstrated CBD’s ability to lessen anxiety, improve sleep, counteract depression, reduce inflammation, and improve a person’s individual sense of wellbeing [1,2,3,4].

These powerful effects have propelled CBD oil to the top of the nutritional supplement market, with sales recently overtaking that of vitamin C in the United Kingdom. This newfound popularity has exposed CBD to a wider range of consumers such as athletes and gym-goers, who are eager to see if CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties can be harnessed for recovery purposes following exercise, with muscle soreness being a prime area of interest.

A recent study has suggested CBD oil may help to reduce the severity of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) following exercise. If effective, this could be beneficial for the millions of active individuals who train regularly and often experience some degree of undesirable muscle soreness following a work-out.

Keep reading to learn more about CBD oil, muscle soreness and how supplementing with CBD oil may help with delayed onset muscle soreness.

What is Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)?

The muscle damage that occurs during training or intense exercise can often leave us feeling sore for several days afterwards – this is known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). DOMS is most experienced by individuals who exercise intensely following a long period of inactivity or by well-trained individuals who push themselves past their normal training limits or intensities.

The symptoms of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) are:

 

  • Reduced ability of the muscle to produce force.
  • Increased painful restriction of movement.
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling (Inflammation).
  • Dysfunction of adjacent joints [5].

 

These symptoms typically appear 6-12 hours following the exercise bout where the muscle damaged occurred. The symptoms progress until their peak between 48-72 hours post exercise, after which they begin to decrease until they eventually disappear, often around 5-7 days later [6].

Despite being considered a mild injury, delayed onset muscle soreness is one of the number one reasons behind decreased performance in sport and can discourage participation in further exercise [7][8].

What Is CBD Oil?

CBD oil is a health supplement made up of 2 ingredients: a CBD rich Cannabis Sativa L. extract and a carrier oil.

Cannabidiol, often abbreviated to ‘CBD’ is a naturally occurring compound found within the cannabis plant. It belongs to a family of compounds known as the phytocannabinoids, of which hundreds have been identified to date.

If you are new to CBD oil and would like to learn more, we highly recommend checking out our beginner’s guide to CBD oil.

Does CBD Oil Help Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)?

A study conducted in 2020 by the University of Southern Carolina showed that when taken following intense, muscle damaging exercise, CBD oil can reduce the severity and duration of muscle soreness experienced in the following days.

In order to test this, researchers had 24 trained men squat with 80% of their 1-rep-max until failure, after which they received a single dose of either:

 

  • CBD oil (containing 17mg of CBD).
  • An MCT oil that contained no CBD (placebo).
  • Nothing

 

Levels of muscle damage were then monitored over the coming days across all participants.

The results showed participants who received CBD oil after squatting reported significantly reduced levels of soreness in the days following exercise [9].

This reduction in soreness may lead to athletes being able to return to training sooner than athletes who experience elevated levels of soreness. Furthermore, it could enable untrained individuals to exercise more readily, knowing that they have a solution to the soreness experienced following exercise, which often puts them off exercising regularly.

Although the results of the study indicate CBD oil can reduce the intensity and duration of delayed onset muscle soreness, the exact mechanism of action remains unknown. The authors of the study suggested further research is needed to understand how CBD influences delayed onset muscle soreness.

Say Goodbye to Sore Muscles.

How Much CBD Oil Should You Use for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness?

Dosage continues to be a problem for CBD products. Whilst many studies have demonstrated the positive effects of CBD oil supplementation, no studies to date have looked at optimal dosing. This is quite normal when novel products such as CBD oil hit the market. Over time researchers will begin to shine a light on what an optimal dose of CBD looks like.

In the muscle damage study participants were given a single oral dose of CBD oil, which contained 17mg of active CBD. The participants in the study had an average bodyweight of around 80kg. The authors made no comments on whether taking more CBD oil in the respective 24-hour periods post exercise would help further. They also did not mention whether you should take more or less than 17mg depending on your bodyweight.

Therefore, when it comes to taking CBD for muscle damage, we recommend taking at least 17mg of CBD following exercise. If your regular dose of CBD contains more than 17mg of CBD, we suggest you stick to your usual dose and simply take it after exercise.

References

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