If there is one thing that athletes are not strangers to, it is muscle aches. Whether in training or competitive games, muscle aches and strains occur far more often than athletes and coaches would like. There is a need to find a pain management regimen that will provide athletes with relief. While painkillers like NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are a common remedy, more athletes are turning to cannabidiol (CBD) in hopes that it will help keep their muscle aches in check.

Since the popularity of CBD started increasing among athletes, researchers have been investigating whether this cannabinoid extracted from the cannabis plant can help alleviate pain and muscle soreness. Since CBD does not provide the same psychoactive effects to users that THC does, it is seen by many as an ideal alternative to pharmaceutical pain medications. To be effective in reaching the source of muscle soreness and pain, CBD is best used as a topical cream so it can be absorbed through the skin.  Please note however that CBD has not yet been proven scientifically to be effective for pain treatment or as a safe alternative to pharmaceutical treatments.

What are CBD Creams?

There are three common types of CBD products that can be applied topically: CBD salves, CBD lotions, and CBD creams. While not being as thick as CBD salves, CBD creams are thicker than CBD lotions. CBD creams contain approximately 75 percent oil and 25 percent water. CBD creams are made from CBD oils or isolates, water, carrier oils, and emulsifying agents. CBD salves, on the other hand, don’t contain any water. CBD creams are great for athletes because they can provide the skin with much-needed moisture, even in cold conditions.

How Athletes Use CBD Creams

It is easy for athletes to use CBD creams for possible relief of their sore muscles while warming up or cooling down. Similar to applying a moisturizing lotion, they just need to identify the area of discomfort and apply the CBD cream to that area for localized effects. However, it can be difficult to determine the proper amount of cream to administer to the affected area. It is very important for the athlete to identify the amount of CBD in the cream so they can identify the dose they need to provide the desired effect. The higher the concentration of CBD in the topical cream, the more effective it tends to be.

It is advisable for athletes to first consult a health expert before they start using CBD creams for warming up or cooling down. Health professionals will be able to advise on the correct dosage for the athlete to use. Since research on the effectiveness of CBD for pain relief is still ongoing, and appropriate dosages are yet to be determined, athletes typically start with low doses and gradually increase the amount until they find an optimal dosage.

Researchers are investigating a wide range of potential applications for CBD creams. Though none have yet been approved by the FDA, medical researchers are looking into the ability of CBD to help athletes relieve pain and soreness, reduce inflammation, and speed up the healing process in general.

It is important for athletes to consider the type of CBD creams they use since they are not all the same. Different manufacturers and vendors offer CBD creams of different qualities. Research is key if you wish to ensure that you receive a quality CBD product. Since regulation of the manufacture and sale of CBD products is still in its early stages, it is up to the athletes to watch out for themselves. Using a substandard CBD product may result in a failed drug test that can hurt one’s career. Sports associations are still warming up to the idea of athletes using CBD products for their well-being and improved performance. One way to know whether a CBD cream is of good quality is to ensure it has been tested by an independent third-party lab. The product should also have a Certificate of Analysis. At buyCBDproducts.com, every single product batch is independently tested, and we make the test results available to you directly on the packaging.

How CBD Creams Work

The body has an endocannabinoid system that produces its own phytocannabinoids. These phytocannabinoids bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors to maintain the body’s homeostasis. CB1 receptors are mostly found in the central nervous system. On the other hand, CB2 receptors are more common in the immune system. The receptors are spread throughout the body.

The CB receptors found in the skin help ensure that there is a well-balanced and proper reproduction, variation, and survival of the skin cells, and that they are competent when it comes to immunity. When an athlete applies CBD creams to their skin, the CBD binds to the CB receptors found in the skin to produce the desired effects. While it doesn’t get to the bloodstream when applied topically, the CBD binds to and activates the TRPV1 receptors found in the skin. These receptors are responsible for helping the body alleviate pain.

CBD tinctures or isolates are the best for making CBD creams. This is because CBD tinctures are usually made by mixing CBD with a carrier oil such as coconut oil, MCT oil, or hemp seed oil. These carrier oils have a molecular structure that enables them to easily penetrate the skin. CBD isolates, on the other hand, contain pure CBD and don’t contain any of the other cannabinoids found in some other CBD products. CBD isolates are ideal for use in CBD creams and make it easy to measure the exact amount of CBD in the product.

It is, however, important for athletes to understand that research into the perceived benefits of CBD has yet to produce any conclusive findings. If an athlete is going to use CBD for acute pain and inflammation from training sessions or competitive games, they should only do so at the advice of a qualified health expert to avoid worsening their injuries.

Athletes should also understand that topical CBD creams can only penetrate up to one centimeter from the surface of the skin. This means that deeper muscle soreness may require other pain management methods. While increasing the dosage of CBD may help it reach deeper into the skeletal muscles, experts are still investigating how deep the diffusion can go. This is one reason why it is very important to consult a healthcare professional before embarking on a CBD medication regime.

So, Should Athletes Try CBD Creams?

There are no conclusive results from research being conducted on how CBD can help athletes warm up or cool down. The perceived benefits of CBD are still being investigated, and reliable data has not yet been made public. Any company that definitively claims that CBD cream has the ability to heal muscle soreness or pain is simply providing unfounded marketing hype.

It is important for athletes to carefully read the ingredients of any CBD cream product they intend to purchase. Some of these products just contain analgesic compounds such as camphor, menthol, and capsaicin which distract the nerves from the pain by desensitizing them through a cooling or heating sensation. These compounds can also be found in topical pain relievers that don’t contain CBD. Massaging the affected area also improves blood circulation and reduces muscle spasms, thereby helping reduce levels of soreness and pain.


The use of CBD products by athletes hoping to positively affect their well-being and performance has been allowed by the World Anti-Doping Agency. However, not all sports associations have removed CBD from their list of banned substances. Some associations, such as the National Football League (NFL), the National Hockey League (NHL), and the National Basketball Association (NBA) still ban the use of CBD. Furthermore, THC—the other common cannabinoid found in cannabis plants and the compound responsible for psychoactive effects in users—remains on the list of banned substances. Before using CBD products for any reason, it is advisable for the athlete to find out whether it is allowed in their sport, and legal in their location. They should also beware of excessive THC levels in their CBD products to avoid returning a positive anti-doping test.

Lastly, since the stakes are high and their careers are on the line, athletes who intend to use CBD creams should only purchase products from reputable manufacturers and vendors.

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