CBD and running

CBD for runners: 5 ways CBD can benefit your exercise

Lots of people don’t yet know the benefits of CBD oil for runners. We are here to change that!

Running is one of the most popular forms of exercise. Most people run not to only get in shape physically, but also to boost their mental well-being. And it is a great way to do so as running can clear your thoughts and provide a sense of freedom and clarity.

But is there a way to enhance your running routine even more?

Either you are a beginner runner or advanced ultra-marathoner you most likely deal with similar problems – anxiety, injuries, muscle pain, or soreness.

Is there a way to solve them?

In this article, we will overview the benefits of CBD oil for runners.

Why is CBD a good idea for runners?

First of all, what is CBD oil?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that is found in hemp or cannabis plants. CBD oil is made by extracting hemp plant and this way preserving all the goodness of the plant – cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids. These are believed to have medicinal effects.

Each of us has an endocannabinoid system (ECS) in us. It is responsible for sleep, mood, pain, memory, appetite, metabolism, and immune function.

And as “endocannabinoids are arguably one of the most widespread and versatile signaling molecules known to man.” (UCLA health) we know it plays an important part in our bodies.

So, how does the ECS work?

It is made from cannabinoid receptors, the two main being CB1 and CB2 that are located in various body parts.

CB1 is expressed mainly in the brain. It is thought that it deals with mood and appetite.

CB2 is mainly expressed in the immune system and is thought to deal with pain.

CBD does not attach to either of these receptors, but rather it stimulates the body to create its own cannabinoids.

Even the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has removed CBD from it’s banned substance list. So, CBD is recognized as an effective solution for inflammation to use for elite athletes by a world’s leading athlete governing entity.

CBD oil for running

So, Is CBD good for athletes?

These are the ways CBD can help enhance your exercise routine:

1) CBD can reduce inflammation

When you run, your muscles are working harder than usual. That is believed to cause microscopic damage to the muscle fibers, which then become inflamed, resulting in muscle soreness. When muscles heal they then become stronger and bigger.

Long-distance runners have to always deal with inflammation – their muscles being constantly inflamed. A popular choice to deal with it is by taking Ibuprofen, however, long term use can do serious liver damage. The solution

A natural alternative to Ibuprofen is CBD oil. One study found out that even in high doses up to 1500mg it was perfectly tolerated by humans.

Most athletes use CBD as an anti-inflammatory agent. CBD can help your muscles recover faster. On top of that, it can help you improve your sleep quality, leading to better rest, which means improved recovery times.

We talked with Kristy Thibodeau, a physical therapist and 12x marathon finisher, what are the benefits of CBD oil for running that she feels:

“I use CBD after I run as part of my recovery. A protein shake and a couple of drops of CBD oil are my go-to following a hard workout because of the positive effects on muscle reduces inflammation and promotes rebuilding.”

“I feel like my running has improved with CBD oil because of its anti-inflammatory effects. My muscles are performing better because they are recovering faster with the use of CBD. In addition, my sleep has improved with CBD which also helps with muscle recovery and my overall performance.”

Running and CBD

2) CBD for pain relieve

Do your muscles feel sore after your run?

It happens to all of us!

But how to relieve it?

A study has suggested that cannabinoids may bring positive effects on health by decreasing inflammation and pain.

Also, some preclinical studies [1,2,3] suggest that cannabinoid receptor agonists block pain in various acute and chronic pain models and that inflammation is reduced. So CBD might help you “feel” less pain. Which might be awesome when you are in pain after an intense exercise.

3) CBD to relieve stress and anxiety

You have probably already noticed that your state of mind can impact your athletic performance.

If you are feeling depressed or anxious, it can be hard to do your best during the exercise.

Sometimes it can even be hard to come up with the motivation to go out for a run at all. And that is all very human. Fortunately, there are ways to ease your mind.

A study observed CBD has anxiolytic (anti-anxiety), antidepressant-like effects. 

So how does that help running?

It can help you stay in a positive, relaxed state of mind. By reducing stress and anxiety, CBD might help you train harder by enhancing your mental well-being.

4) CBD for better sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep is crucial. It is one of the key factors in after workout recovery.

Unfortunately, most of us know what insomnia feels like. And no one likes that. In fact, a bad night’s sleep is impacting your mood big time.

How to sleep better at night?

CBD might help you sleep better by calming your anxious thoughts. In one study people supplemented their routine with CBD. After one month of use, 66,7% of people reported improved sleep. On top of that 79,2% of participants reported reduced anxiety, which is also a key factor of having a proper night’s rest.

Sleep can influence your running routine tremendously. If you get enough sleep, your mood is more stable and you have a higher energy level which in the long run lets you run more and perform better.

5) Increased mood

Running benefits reach far beyond the physical ones. Most runners would probably agree that it is also a very powerful mental practice.

Runners report that time spent alone while running clears their minds and helps them to solve problems or think more sharply. It is almost like a meditation (in fact it is). And meditation has been shown to boost your gray matter, fight depression and anxiety, and even improve focus.

We all know that running also gives us mood-boosting effects.

When running, your brain releases two feel-good chemicals. The two being – endorphins and endocannabinoids. Huh, cannabinoids?

Yes, you heard it! When you run your body produces its own endocannabinoids.

The most researched one is Anandamide (Ananda means “bliss” in the Sanskrit language). In fact, it is now thought that this endocannabinoid is responsible for the “runner’s high” that you experience after a long run, as levels of Anandamide increase when you exercise.

Even more interesting is that CBD might help prolong your runner’s high.

Anandamide, like all neurotransmitters, doesn’t stay long in your system as enzymes (FAAH in this case) break them down.

Interesting thing?

CBD slows down the breakdown of Anandamide by inhibiting the FAAH enzyme. To put it more simply – the endocannabinoids can stay longer in your body. So if you take CBD before you run, you will feel the longer moments of blissful runner’s high.


CBD can enhance your running routine by improving your sleep, state of mind, and helping you recover faster.

Moreover, it is well tolerated by humans even in high doses so it makes a perfect natural alternative for ibuprofen.

In Kristy’s words:

“I would absolutely recommend CBD to fellow runners and athletes. When used as part of their daily routine, they will experience improved sleep quality, reduced anxiety, and faster muscle recovery which will result in improved performance. It’s a win-win-win.“

4 thoughts on “CBD for runners: 5 ways CBD can benefit your exercise”

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