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Can You Take CBD Before Exercising?

Green Shoppers Written by Green Shoppers
Updated on May 15, 2019

Those of us who spend a lot of time in the gym will know the importance of buying gym-related paraphernalia. Buying a new gym outfit gets you motivated to hit the gym every day of the week, showing off those new leggings. Investing in a new tool, such as barbell pads or ankle straps, will have you keen to flaunt your new product and expertise in the gym. And purchasing the latest workout supplement will have you eager to crush your workouts like never before.

The latest darling of the supplement industry is cannabidiol. It has become somewhat of a superfood, famed for its ability to improve general health and wellbeing. But can it help your workouts, too?

As more and more athletes have been turning to CBD oil, a question has been raised as to whether it can really help to improve your workouts. There are even brands like Herbstrong, aimed specifically at bettering your athletic performance using CBD.

While many athletes are using CBD to ease sore muscles after a workout, it may also be the case that CBD can act as an effective pre-workout. Today, we will be investigating how taking CBD before exercising might affect your workout.

Can CBD Improve My Workout?

One of the primary reasons for taking CBD prior to working out is the energy boost. It has been suggested that CBD can act as a wake-promoting agent, especially if you take it during the daytime. In a study published in Current Neuropharmacology in 2014, researchers found that CBD has “promising pharmacological properties as a wake-inducing drug.” This means that taking it pre-workout could deliver an energy boost that allows you to exercise better for longer.

Another important effect is CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties. It is fairly well-known that CBD can act as an anti-inflammatory, reducing inflammation and thereby relieving pain. A study published in 2015 suggested that CBD is an ideal treatment for arthritis and its symptomatic inflammation. Even if you don’t suffer from a condition like arthritis, CBD can help reduce inflammation during workouts. Taking CBD beforehand may reduce any muscle stiffness you already have in an effort to help you work out better.

Finally, CBD may act as an effective pre-workout because it can counter the effects of cortisol. If you weren’t aware, cortisol is a hormone released by the body which can be triggered by stress; it is also released during exercise. Sadly, cortisol eats away at muscle tone, and it can make it hard to achieve muscular definition and tone up. If this is one of your goals in the gym, you’ll want to reduce cortisol at all costs. In 1993, Zuardi et al. published a study which found that CBD interferes with catabolic systems, countering the effects of cortisol and reducing stress. In this way, CBD may help you to retain muscle mass if you use it while working out.

How Will CBD Make Me Feel?

Since CBD comes from cannabis, many people erroneously believe that it can cause them to get high. They associate it with other cannabinoids like THC, and thus they think that CBD will cause psychoactive and possibly hallucinogenic effects.

To the contrary, CBD is non-psychoactive. It will not cause any high whatsoever.

You might think that, if you take CBD as a pre-workout, you will experience a minor buzz that propels you through your exercise session. You might think of CBD’s effects like a muted, toned down version of the THC high. Perhaps unfortunately, you would be wrong.

The effects of CBD are less about what you feel, and more about what you don’t feel. The way that CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system will simply sharpen what’s already there. Rather than experiencing a sudden rush of energy and an intense urge to bench press every plate in the gym, you will simply feel more awake, more energised, and more focused.

When you take CBD pre-workout for the first time, you might not notice the effects. If you suffer from muscle soreness, then you may notice the absence of pain for the first time in a while. Otherwise, just be on the lookout for the newfound sense of alertness you possess. Just because you don’t feel buzzed does not mean that the CBD isn’t working.

When and How Should I Take Pre-Workout CBD?

There are plenty of ways to take CBD. It is quite hard to say precisely when you should take CBD before working out, because a lot of factors come into play, including your age, cannabinoid tolerance, potency of the product, and even method of consumption.


Sublingual CBD tinctures are one of the most popular methods of consuming CBD. If you choose to go down this route, you will need to hold the CBD oil in your mouth for around a minute before swallowing. In this method, the CBD will take around 15 minutes to take effect – you should take the supplement approximately 20 minutes before your workout begins.


Although capsules are much easier than taking tinctures, they do take longer to take effect. The CBD must be metabolised before it can be used, and therefore it can take an hour or even longer for the CBD to kick in. If you like to work out as soon as you wake up, this option is not for you.


CBD vapes are actually the fastest way to get the CBD to take effect. When you inhale cannabidiol, the effects can be noted almost immediately, within just a couple of minutes. If you like to take your pre-workout right as you step through the doors of the gym, then vaping CBD could be the way to go for you.

Final Thoughts on CBD Before Exercising

CBD has been considered such a good supplement for exercising that there is a possibility gyms will be stocking the compound soon enough. We are not surprised, as CBD is certainly an enormous wellness trend in the current climate.

There are plenty of reasons to try out CBD as a pre-workout, whether you decide to vape it, take a capsule, or administer it sublingually. You might even find another method that you prefer. Remember, you can also use CBD after your workout to help with muscular soreness; in this case, you might find topical rubs to be to your liking.

Bear in mind that the effects of CBD are not going to be immediately obvious, but you will probably notice a heightened sense of focus and a sharpened determination; these factors are definitely going to improve your exercise. This is why so many people are loving the way CBD makes them feel right before a workout.

Do you use CBD before you exercise? Which method of consumption is your favourite, and how do you think it improves your gym session? Let’s have a chat in the comments below!