How Cannabis Might Help with Sore Muscles After a Workout

You’re an active person—maybe even a weekend warrior—and you just finished an intense training session at the gym or a six-mile run. You’re probably going to be stiff and sore by tomorrow, if not sooner. Should you consider trying a little cannabis to ease the pain?

Cannabis As Anti Inflammatory

It just might help. Cannabis is well-known for its ability to reduce pain, especially chronic pain and the severe, persistent pain associated with serious illnesses such as cancer. It seems likely to expect that cannabis would have a similar effect on moderating short-term, sports-related pain, although there is little research yet available to prove it.

A major study published in 2017 by the National Academy of Sciences concluded that patients who were treated with cannabis or cannabinoids, mainly for chronic pain resulting from conditions such as neuropathy and arthritis, were likely to experience a modest but “clinically significant reduction in pain symptoms.” In addition to connecting with the receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system, cannabis has anti-inflammatory properties — another reason to believe it could help after a strenuous workout.

NFL studies cannabis for pain relief

In fact, the National Football League Players Association announced in 2016 that it was studying marijuana as a possible alternative pain reliever for players dealing with chronic pain, and the league has agreed to work on the issue with the union.

It’s not surprising that NFL players would be interested in new options for pain management given the limitations of current solutions such as opiates, which are addictive, dangerous and often ineffective for long-term users. Even non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen can be dangerous to the kidneys, stomach and other organs, Dr. Jordan Tishler, a Harvard-trained physician who specializes in medical cannabis, pointed out in an interview with Men’s Journal. Cannabis has a safer profile, he said.

So if cannabis can be helpful after a hard workout, and you want to give it a try, the question is how to take it. For those comfortable with the full range of effects from cannabis, including the high, Tishler recommends vaping a little cannabis flower. Edibles are another option, although they can take an hour or two to take effect, which can make it harder to achieve the proper dose.

CBD-only options available

For those who want to try the pain-reducing properties of cannabis without any psychoactive effect, a wide range of products are available with cannabidiol or CBD, a chemical derived from cannabis that provides many of the benefits without the high. CBD creams, oils, capsules and other products have become increasingly common even at major retail stores, especially since the federal government essentially legalized CBD in 2018, at least if it is derived from the hemp plant.

High CBD Low THC Best

CBD based cannabis products are lightly regulated, and their potency may vary from what the label indicates, so the best bet is to find a provider you trust and ask how the product was developed and sourced. While hemp-based CBD products are widely available, you may prefer to try a capsule or oil that includes both CBD and a low dose of THC, the psychoactive compound within marijuana. Many anecdotal reports and early-stage research suggest that CBD, THC and other compounds within marijuana work together in an “entourage effect” that can be beneficial for pain and other medical conditions.

While there is no evidence to show that cannabis helps with muscle recovery or muscle building, judicious use just might get you back to working out again sooner, and that’s a good thing.

Greenlight Approved is a consumer education platform dedicated to “guiding the cannabis curious.” We believe when you start something new, it’s best to start slow. Gather all the information you can to make a safe informed decision. Let Greenlight Approved be your guide so your first experience with cannabis is an educated, safe and positive one. Let us direct you to premium product and brand options as well as participating retailers near you, at

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