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What is the best CBD to take for post workout pain?



Gym: A woman sits in gym leggings on a wooden floor surrounded by weights

CBD may not be the first thing you think of when packing your bag for the gym, but studies show it might be handy for those post-gym pains.

When we use new muscles at the gym or during a workout, our bodies can sometimes feel sore for a day or two afterwards. High-intensity or fast-paced exercises can cause tiny tears in the muscle fibres. The body reacts by creating inflammation which can lead to delayed soreness in the muscles.

A study on rats from 2016 revealed that daily doses of CBD may help to decrease joint pain and inflammation in rats with arthritis.

Here are some of the best ways to incorporate CBD into your gym routine


There are a lot of CBD beverages on the market from water to energy drinks. It can be a slow-release dose of CBD that can help to keep inflammation at bay while you work out.

Any CBD that is ingested as food or drink has to travel through the digestive system to be broken down and absorbed. This is referred to as the first pass system. Sadly this means that the CBD is broken down which can lead to lower levels being absorbed.

It’s easy to make your own CBD drink by adding water-soluble CBD to your normal workout water. An oil-based CBD may let the CBD float on the surface but if it is water-soluble then it can be mixed in.

Gym: An advert for CBD oil. A bottle with an orange label next to a woman with a toned stomach

Protein powder

There are some companies offering CBD protein powders. Protein powders are a popular nutritional supplement that can be added to water or smoothies. They help to build muscle, repair tissues, produce enzymes and hormones. It can also help with weight loss and muscle toning.

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There are several types of powders that contain soy, hemp, casein, whey and pea. Hemp is an excellent choice for anyone following a vegan diet. It is also rich in essential fatty acids.


A patch can provide a slow release of CBD throughout a workout. It can also be placed directly on top of the sore point on the body. Any CBD taken orally has to pass through the digestive system first before it can be absorbed into the blood however patches allow more of it to pass through quickly as it bypasses the first pass system.

They can also be worn for days providing comfortable relief that isn’t reliant on someone taking a dose every day. One downside to the patches is that the adhesive can sometimes be an irritant to people with allergies to glue.


It’s always a great idea to have a balm or cream on hand for application straight after hitting the showers. Topicals are great for massaging into the skin when pain develops after a workout.

Much the same as patches, they can be applied directly to the source of the pain. There are also a lot of different formulas to choose from including lotions, creams, balms, serums or oils. Sometimes topicals can include other ingredients which are great for inflammation such as rosemary or chamomile.

Use with: It’s important to always combine CBD for muscle pain with other treatments if needed. Massage, reflexology or even a doctor visit if the pain persists are always a good idea. 

Read more: Does THC or CBD have an effect on our workout routines?

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First professional athlete to compete in USA with medical cannabis exemption

The exemption will allow the use of cannabis as medicine during training and in preparation for competitions.



MMA: Fighter Elias Theodorou with the Canadian flag

MMA fighter Elias Theodorou will be the first professional athlete to compete with a medical cannabis exception.

Elias Theodorou is a top-ranked Canadian middleweight MMA fighter. As well as fighting in the ring, he is dedicated to fighting the stigma of medical cannabis for athletes.

MMA: A banner advert for IMPACT CBD showing a bottle of CBD oil and a torso of a woman

This will mark the first exception for medical cannabis in professional sport in the US. It is also the first-ever American bout to have an in-competition Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) for medical cannabis.

The exemption allows the use of cannabis as medicine during training and in preparation for competitions without the risk of being penalised or barred.

The fight will take place on December 18 2021 after Theodorou was granted the TUE earlier this year. It takes place in Colorado which is a legal cannabis state. which happens to be the home of the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). Cannabis in Colorado has been legal for medical use since 2000.

His first attempts at having his medical cannabis recognised by the USADA failed.


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A post shared by Elias Theodorou (@eliastheodorou)

MMA and Medical cannabis

In a statement, cannabis advocate, Elias said:

“Validating my US Colorado TUE for cannabis with a fight and finish will officially stamp my place in American sporting history as the first sanctioned cannabis athlete. This is a precedent not only for myself but for other athletes in Colorado and other states, which in turn can create a wave of opportunities for other athletes to apply for the same right to medicate with cannabis in competition.”

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He added: “I will commemorate my next fight with an NFT that represents the ‘knockout punch’ to the prohibition in athletics, validating my therapeutic use exemption means.”

Theodorou started using cannabis to treat pain associated with bilateral neuropathy. It followed an accident that left his hand broken in two places and fractured in a further four. He also suffers from nerve damage in his upper body. He started on prescribed painkillers such as opioids before realising they were detrimental to his MMA training.


Image right: Elias Theodorou Instagram

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CBD guides: Five things every athlete should know about CBD

Athletes may be curious about starting CBD but unsure if it will interfere with their sport or cause them to fail a drugs test



Athletes put a lot of stress and strain on their body while training. If you are curious about trying CBD, here are five answers to some of the most common questions.

What is CBD

CBD is just one of many cannabinoids that exist naturally in the cannabis plant. It is non-psycoactive which means it won’t get you high but it is thought to have many benefits for athletes especially when it comes to post-training pain.

Its available in many different forms from oils and vapes to creams or edibles. Choosing the right CBD for you depends on personal preference, lifestyle and what you are trying to treat.

Athlete: A banner advert for IMPACT CBD showing a bottle of CBD oil and a torso of a woman

Is CBD a banned substance in sport?

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed CBD from their list of prohibited substances. The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) also removed CBD.

It is worth noting that THC is still a banned substance as well as synthetic cannabinoids that have simular effects. The ban on THC is what led to Sha’ Carri Richardson being forced to miss the Tokyo Olympics after testing positive. WADA is set to review the ban this year although it will remain in place for at least 2022.

There should be very low quantities of THC in legal CBD products. If in doubt, athletes should check the professional body for the sport that they take part in.

What benefits does CBD have for athletes?

Athletes put a lot of stress and strain on the body during training and competitions. CBD may help with inflammation, pain and relaxation.

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Sore muscles are also referred to as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). The soreness can happen if you change your routine or start a new exercise programme.

This causes microscopic damage to muscle fibres. It can last up to three to five days after your workout which can be alarming for beginners or some athletes. CBD may help by soothing muscle pain and reducing the inflammation around the damage.

A study on CBD and joint pain found that daily doses may help to reduce the pain. The study focused on rats with arthritis and the CBD treatment was applied as a gel.

Athletes: A row of test tubes containing CBGA oil with a doctors white gloved hand holding one up to the light

What’s the best way for athletes to take CBD?

Topicals such as creams, lotions or gels are a great way to target the exact area of pain. The CBD is absorbed through the skin so it can be faster acting than edibles such as protein bars or drinks.

There are also massage oils that can be incorporated into sports massages that contain high levels of CBD. If lotions or potions aren’t your thing, then patches can be another way to get a dose of CBD. They can be applied directly to the painful area and it is absorbed the same way. However, patches do not leave an oily residue which some creams, lotions or gels may which makes it a better way for athletes to use CBD during training.

Will I fail a drugs test?


When an athlete is testing for drugs, they are not looking for CBD. They are testing for the presence of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the blood. This is another cannabinoid and it’s responsible for the high feeling people associate with cannabis.

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If CBD is purchased legally and has lab tests to prove its contents then you should be fine. CBD by law must have below 0.02 per cent THC in order to be sold in the UK. This is an extremely low level of THC which should not be responsible for failing a drugs test.

Some states in the US have legalised THC so it is possible to buy products with THC in them. Some professional sports organisations have announced they are no longer drug testing athletes such as the NBA.

It’s worth knowing the law in your country, and in your state, regarding THC and CBD as well as researching what your sporting organisation allows.

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