CBD For Muscle Recovery | A Guide for Endurance Athletes

As athletes we are constantly pushing our bodies and to do so, we must prioritize recovery. If you have been training over the last 5 years, I am sure at some point someone has told you about CBD to aid with muscle recovery. In this blog we will breakdown:

  • What is CBD?
  • How CBD aids in Muscle Recovery & Pain Relief?
  • Types of CBD?
  • Which Products are best for athletes?
  • Considerations?

Let’s dive in!


The quest for optimal post-workout recovery and pain relief offers a vast array of options. Cannabidiol (CBD) has emerged as one of the best natural approaches, gaining significant traction in recent years. Derived from the hemp plant, a low-THC relative of marijuana, CBD offers potential benefits for athletes looking to naturally improve post-workout muscle recovery.

What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is an active compound found in cannabis and is primarily extracted from Hemp. The Hemp plant is specifically cultivated to be high in CBD and low in THC (Federal & state laws require the plants to be < .3% THC) and is the best solution for extracting CBD. Once extracted CBD is then formulated into a vast majority of health and wellness products.

How CBD aids in Muscle Recovery & Pain Relief?

Our bodies have a complex endocannabinoid system (ECS) with cannabinoid receptors influencing bodily functions like mood, pain perception, and inflammation. CBD, being a cannabinoid, interacts with these receptors in the body to:

  • Reduce Inflammation
  • Relieve Pain
  • Improve Sleep
  • Reduce Anxiety

Because of these potential benefits, CBD has become a popular choice for athletes seeking a natural and effective solution to muscle recovery.

What are the different Types of CBD?

CBD can be found in three primary forms within consumer products and each one has unique characteristics.

  • Full Spectrum CBD: Full Spectrum CBD includes the full range of cannabinoids, including THC. Products containing Full Spectrum Oil must be less than .30% THC to be legal. Many argue that these are the most effective products due to the “entourage effect” but athletes with concerns around testing positive for THC should avoid these products.
  • Broad Spectrum or Non-Detect CBD: Broad Spectrum CBD is like Full Spectrum because it includes other cannabinoids but, different in the fact that is does not contain detectable levels of THC. This oil undergoes additional processing to remove the THC to levels that are undetectable by labs. For athletes this form offers the benefits of the entourage effect with a low risk of THC testing.
  • CBD Isolate: CBD Isolate is a white powder and is the most refined form of CBD. This raw material only contains CBD and has no other cannabinoids present. CBD Isolate is seen by many to only be effective in large dosages and is not the cleanest from a solvent’s perspective, due to the additional processing and chemicals needed to produce it.


Which Products are best for athletes?

CBD is offered in various product forms and like the raw material, each product offers unique benefits.

  • Tinctures- Tinctures usually are 30 ml (1 oz) glass bottles with a dropper lid for taking the contents. CBD tinctures come in various strengths and are formulated with a carrier oil such as MCT or Hemp Seed Oil.
  • Lotions - CBD lotions or topicals are a popular choice among athletes due to their familiarity and effectiveness. Lotions with high CBD and other natural compounds, such as arnica seem to be the most effective. Elite Recovery Cream is a great example.
  • Softgels - CBD Softgels are filled with a CBD + carrier oil substance like tinctures.
  • Gummies – Gummies are found in all shapes, sizes, and strengths. They also have been paired with other botanicals to target specific issues such as sleep or anxiety.

In my experience, athletes looking to get immediate and targeted muscle recovery, should look at CBD infused lotions or creams first. Lotions allow for a targeted and direct application to the area of inflammation or soreness, allowing for quick relief and healing. With that said the other forms are great for additional benefits over extended periods of time. Ultimately, deciding on a product is up to the athletes’ preferences.

Important considerations?

Now that we know about the forms of CBD and the types of products. You may be thinking; how do I differentiate between the options available? Athletes should consider the following when purchasing CBD products:

  • Drug Testing: Specific sport’s governing agencies regulate the use of THC differently. Due to this it is important that athletes research their sports guidelines on THC before purchasing a CBD product.  If THC is a concern Broad Spectrum and Isolate based products should be purchased.
    • Pro Tip: You can also ask brands to see a COA for the exact breakdown per products.
  • Dosage: There's no one-size-fits-all approach. The ideal dosage depends on factors like body weight and pain severity. It has been shown that higher dose products tend to work more effectively.
  • CBD From: CBD comes in various forms, each with its advantages and disadvantages. Consider researching Isolate, Full Spectrum, and Broad-Spectrum options to find the best fit for your needs. Again, if THC is not allowed Full Spectrum products should be avoided.
  • Product Type/Application: As mentioned CBD comes in various product types, each with its own advantages. Explore options like oils, capsules, or topical creams to find what works best for you.
  • Product purity: The quality of CBD is a very important factor when considering purchasing as the quality can determine the effectiveness.  Ask brands for Certificates of analysis (COA) to confirm quality.


Overall, CBD has emerged as an intriguing option for athletes seeking a natural remedy for sports recovery and pain relief. While more research is needed to solidify its effectiveness, the potential benefits are certainly worth exploring.

Thanks for Reading!

Get After it,

Drew Recchia

CEO & Founder

Rebound Recovery


Disclaimer: Remember, regulations surrounding CBD use can vary depending on your location. Always check with your local authorities and athletic governing body before using CBD products.



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