Everything You Need to Know - CBD for Runners

Posted on August 27 2021

Our team sat down with Dr. Dave Gordon, MD, IFMCP, ABoIM and asked him a series of questions related to CBD for runners. Why would a runner want to take CBD? When is the best time to take it and how does it work? An avid fitness enthusiast himself, Dr. Dave outlines why CBD would be a great addition to your training toolbox.


Why is CBD a great recovery tool for both runners and athletes in general?

Healthy recovery is crucial for athletes that want excellent performance and continued enjoyment of their sport. CBD has been shown to positively affect so many aspects of recovery including discomfort, inflammation and sleep. It’s not surprising that CBD is regularly used by runners as well as athletes in other sports. Research has shown that a small dose of CBD may significantly help delayed onset muscle soreness, one of the biggest problems for athletes. Another reason CBD for runners is great is due to its safety. When you compare CBD to the commonly used ibuprofen and naproxen, CBD has so much potential to help without causing undesired side effects.   


Should you take CBD right after a run? 

It makes sense on many levels. Taking CBD after a workout can reduce muscle soreness. Plus, many people need help winding down after a run in order to get back to their regular day, or get ready for sleep. CBD can help there too.


Why is CBD great for runners’ joints?

Inflammation…Inflammation…Inflammation from running. Running is tough on the joints as the constant pounding leads to pain, inflammation and potentially even arthritis. CBD is great at reducing that exercise-induced inflammation and could be considered safer than commonly used ibuprofen and naproxen. It’s great that CBD can be ingested, or applied directly to the muscles and joints to help reduce inflammation and discomfort from your run.


Are there any benefits to taking CBD before training?

Does discomfort limit your training? Do you get pre-performance stress? Does stress from your workday affect your training? Those are just some of the reasons someone might use CBD for running. Getting yourself in the right mindset and not allowing yourself to be distracted by discomfort, stress, or jitters is crucial to a good workout.

Additionally, research suggests the renowned “runners high” is due to our endocannabinoid system (ECS). About 30 minutes into a run, many people feel a “runner’s high”, described as increased feelings of pleasure and happiness (euphoria), along with reduced discomfort and anxiety. This phenomenon can lead to better performance and can also produce more persistent and positive mental health. The long-standing myth is that the “runner’s high” was caused by endorphins, but now, multiple studies show it’s likely due to our endocannabinoid system and the release of the chemical anandamide (aka the “bliss molecule”). CBD strengthens and supports our ECS and increases anandamide levels, thus providing the potential to magnify your “runner’s high”.


A lot of athletes get anxious/pre-run jitters, disrupting their gut. Any tips to help prevent this or how best to prepare for it?

Pre-performance nerves can be crippling for many athletes, whether it sends them running to the bathroom or limits their success. CBD for runners has been shown to improve pre-performance stress and stress-induced spikes in heart rate and blood pressure, so it’s a great tool to consider.   

Also don’t forgot the basics! Regular practice, breathing exercises, positive visualization, quality nutrition, and sufficient sleep are all necessary to limit pre-performance jitters and should always be done alongside your CBD routine.


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