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CBD, Inflammation, and Exercise: Taking a look at the research


How do CBD, inflammation, and exercise all relate?  You may or may not realize the full extent of CBD’s relationship with both exercise and inflammation.  We’re tying together all 3 and explaining how and why CBD can be helpful after a workout below.

Exercise and Inflammation

There’s no denying that regular exercise is a net positive for the human body.  Working out has innumerable benefits and positive effects on us.  That being said, intense exercise can still strain the body.  One of the major issues exercise can cause in its immediate aftermath is inflammation. 

There is a sizable volume of research that has found increases in various inflammatory markers after exercise, particularly after long and intense workouts. A systematic review conducted in 2020 highlighted increases in pro-inflammatory cytokines TNF- α, IL-6 and IL- 1β.  It summarized: “intense long exercise can lead, in general, to higher levels of inflammatory mediators, and thus might increase the risk of injury and chronic inflammation.”

The review examined both the impact of the length and intensity of exercise, as well as of the recovery period.  It found that “high-intensity exercise, especially when performed with reduced recovery periods, induces a persistent dysregulation of the immune system with increased susceptibility to illness.”  Inflammation following intense exercise can impact the immune system, as well as increasing long-term inflammation and risk of injury. 

Before we move on, it is important to note that not ALL inflammation after a workout is bad.  Low levels of muscle inflammation can actually help the body heal and recover.  However, intense exercise can increase inflammation to a level that becomes detrimental, which can lead to Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) and the dysregulation of the immune system mentioned above. 

CBD & Inflammation

So, it is clearly well-established that intense exercise can lead to increased inflammation.  And while some inflammation is not necessarily concerning, we do want to be careful to prevent inflammation from going too far.  This is where CBD comes in. 

A couple of the more widely studied benefits of CBD are its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.  CBD can help to reduce or prevent inflammation, as well as working to protect the body by interrupting free radicals during workout recovery. The movement and production of the pro-inflammatory cytokines and immune cells mentioned above is regulated through the immune system and endocannabinoid system.  When CBD is consumed, it interacts with the endocannabinoid system, serving to to moderate and modulate it. 

Clinical studies have confirmed that CBD reduces the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines in the body.  The anti-inflammatory benefits of CBD have been shown to provide benefits for everything from arthritis to MSFollowing an intense workout, when the inflammation levels are elevated, CBD can thus aid in a quicker recovery and help prevent injury or the onset of DOMS. 

Additionally, according to a 2020 review, “CBD, like other antioxidants, interrupts free radical chain reactions, capturing free radicals or transforming them into less active forms.”  Thus, both the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of CBD can prove to be beneficial for workout recovery. 

Elevated Gains CBD Protein Bars

Based on the benefits detailed above, you should consider adding CBD to your post-workout routine.  Our protein bars contain 25 mg of full-spectrum CBD, so starting your workout recovery with one of our CBD protein bars can help kickstart the anti-inflammation and recovery process.  Additionally, our bars contain high levels of carbohydrates and protein as well, which, in tandem with the CBD, can elevate your recovery even more. 


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