CBD and Soothing Muscle Soreness 

When you’re wiped out after a day of physical activity, CBD topicals have the potential to ease unpleasant aches, pains, and tension.  

It doesn’t take a competitive athlete to experience muscle soreness. Some of us can overdo it after long hours in the garden or an intense baking session (usually involving a whisk). Those who haven’t tried CBD for sore muscles may want to consider it as an at-home spa and therapy experience. 


Can CBD help with soreness?

CBD, otherwise known as cannabidiol oil, is a widely-used plant extract derived from hemp/cannabis plants. Since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized CBD at the federal level, discussions about the therapeutic properties of CBD have captured the attention of researchers and enthusiasts far and wide. 

So far, experts know that CBD has anti-anxiety, sleep-inducing, anti-epileptic, and anti-inflammatory effects, without the psychoactive component of THC. 

Cannabinoids in cannabis/hemp, such as CBD and THC, affect the sleep/wake cycle, mood, and pain response, primarily due to their influence on the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). 

CBD balms, lotions, salves, and creams may reduce muscle spasticity and post-workout inflammation. 

When applied topically, CBD interacts with skin receptors in the ECS, regulating painful sensations caused by muscle stiffness, tearing, and exertion. 

In essence, CBD topicals have a localized effect on muscle soreness since they don’t pass through the bloodstream, but absorb directly into the skin. 

Ways to use CBD for muscle soreness

These massage techniques help activate CBD topicals and may end up lowering stress and anxiety while you’re at it:

  • Neck massage

  • For particularly tense patients, massage therapists are beginning to add CBD oil to their toolkits. Look for therapists in your area who advertise CBD massages, or simply get yourself some CBD cream for a DIY neck massage. Use your fingertips to work the CBD deep into your skin as you gently place pressure on painful knots and rub the neck muscles supporting your head.  

  • Deep tissue kneading

  • If your legs, arms, and back muscles feel heavy and stiff, consider using CBD balms with peppermint oil and sandalwood to knead the pain away. The slick consistency adds lubrication so you’re able to massage deep into sore muscles. Plus, one whiff of a CBD balm and you could be pulled into a relaxing, tantric state. Essential oils not only smell wonderful but have mood-enhancing effects, giving CBD topicals the added perk of aromatherapy

  • Hand moisturizer + numbness 

  • Compared to CBD roll-ons, salves, and balms, CBD-infused lotion may be a more relatable texture to start with. We use our hand muscles every day and for this reason, they’re often prone to spasms, stiffness, and numbness. As you would with any lotion, apply CBD lotion to your hands by using your thumb and palms to firmly press into the joints. Those with arthritis-like symptoms may experience significant relief from CBD topicals. 

  • Body pain from PMS

  • Muscle cramps are an inevitable part of PMS and often spread to the back, legs, and abdomen. In addition to the usual ibuprofen and heat therapies, CBD salves may provide more relief when it’s that time of the month. Consider it the perfect opportunity to ask for a massage from a sympathetic friend or partner. According to women with endometriosis (which causes unusually painful periods), CBD is one of the most effective self-management strategies for pelvic pain.   

  • Ingestibles 

  • Although we suggest using CBD topicals for muscle soreness (given their localized effect), they are by no means the only way to consume CBD. Vaporizers, tinctures, gummies, soft gels, sprays, and patches are also viable options for muscle soreness. Thanks to CBD’s ability to help lower anxiety, these delivery methods all have the potential to help. People who manage chronic pain may find that CBD takes some of the edge off by promoting mind and body relaxation. 


    To sum it up

    CBD topicals could provide relief for many conditions, from everyday aches and pains to arthritis-like symptoms. If you’re managing chronic inflammation, supplementing with CBD could alleviate your discomfort, putting your mind and body at ease. Hopefully, future research will pave the way for increased interest in CBD alongside more traditional therapies for muscle soreness. 


    The Run Down

    Does topical CBD actually work?

    Preliminary research suggests a positive relationship between CBD and pain relief. Anecdotal evidence from people with arthritis also sheds light on the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD. That said, cannabis studies tend to feature whole-plant extracts with CBD and THC, making it difficult to access the benefits of CBD alone. This is why CBD topicals generally include the addition of essential oils such as peppermint and eucalyptus since they boost the soothing, pain-relieving effects of CBD. 

    Is CBD absorbed through the skin?

    When applied topically, CBD absorbs through the skin and reaches receptors within the peripheral nervous system. CBD lotions are an effective delivery method because they bypass digestion in the liver, which often affects CBD potency. For best results, look for topicals with full-spectrum CBD to unlock the benefits of the “entourage effect.” This formula contains CBD and other cannabinoids such as CBG, which are believed to work synergistically. 

    How long does it take for a CBD oil to work on muscle pain?

    With CBD, delivery method is key. Vaping CBD goes into effect more quickly than CBD edibles, for example. If you’re medicating with CBD for muscle soreness, stick with a topical such as a lotion, salve, or balm. You can expect to experience relief within five to ten minutes after applying CBD topicals. Cooling agents like peppermint oil are often added to amplify the pain-relieving sensation. 

    How can CBD help with muscle soreness?

    Applying CBD cream to sore muscles works through the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), a fascinating network of cannabinoids, enzymes, and receptors. The ECS modulates sleep, mood, pain, and many other normal body processes. Phytocannabinoids in hemp/cannabis influence receptors involved with pain response and inflammation. While scientists can’t fully explain how it works, they believe that CBD indirectly affects ECS functioning.