CBD is one of the wellness world's buzziest terms these days, and if you're not familiar with it yet, it won't be long before you see this ingredient popping up in everything from bottled water to skincare products. Derived from the cannabis plant, but without any of the psychoactive properties of THC, CBD (or cannabidiol) is being touted as a potential cure for a laundry list of ailments including autoimmune diseases, neurological problems, digestive issues, skin conditions, stress, and pain. And due to its promises to assist in the latter of the these, CBD for fitness recovery is one of the most exciting and promising new uses for this trendy plant extract.
The fitness market is full of trendy new things that can help you step up your workout game, including post-workout drinks, supplements, and mobility devices, so it's no surprise that a ton of CBD products are now being specifically marketed to help recover from sports-related injury or reduce pain. But with so much to choose from, how can you tell which is right for you? Not to mention whether or not you might be a good candidate to try it in the first place?
As a sports massage therapist to elite athletes and Hollywood stars (his clientele includes former professional football players, competitive body builders, and completive dancers), Mark Romero, is not only aware of the CBD for fitness trend — he's experimented with it firsthand. "As [someone who's] always looking for better methods in treating athletic-caused conditions, I thought it couldn’t hurt to incorporate the use of it — since it's now very accessible and being proclaimed to treat a variety of physical ailments."
The reason CBD might be especially good for fitness-related aches and pains can be attributed to its anti-inflammatory properties, so although it's not a cure-all for everyone, some conditions might be able to benefit greatly. "The two most common conditions I see that hinder most athletes or simply just need time to recover are delayed onset soreness (DOMS) and chronic and acute inflammation related to injury," Romero explains. "Since CBD has little to no psychoactive effects, it does little when it comes to the pain or discomfort caused from DOMS. However, when it comes to inflammation, it really helps."
Romero believes that one condition in particular can experience some amazing results with the use of CBD. "One of the worst possible inflammation-related conditions is arthritis," he explains. "This is something one cannot massage away. Desperate and wanting to help clients, I implemented topical CBD usage and in a matter of three to five weeks it has greatly reduced or completely removed arthritis related symptom." In fact, the massage therapist has treated a total of 95 clients suffering with arthritis — including his own mother — over the past year and found it to help tremendously.
Even if you don't suffer from such an extreme case of inflammation as arthritis, you might still benefit from topical use of CBD — the form Romero recommends. "If CBD helps one of the worst physical inflammatory conditions, it can help less severe conditions such as minor muscle tears or from overuse — and it has," he says. So just in case you happen to overdo it at your next boxing class or HIIT workout, it's helpful to know that this over-the-counter solution might just help you recover from minor wear-and-tear a little more quickly. Ahead, find a few options of topical products to try for yourself.