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Best CBD Products for Athletes

  • Products containing CBD can help support pain relief, better sleep, and mood regulation—all of which are crucial for athletes and fitness enthusiasts
  • There are a variety of CBD products available on the market, including CBD topicals, edibles, tinctures, oils, and smokeable products
  • The best CBD product for you will depend on your goals, preferences, and lifestyle

Can marijuana help with nerve pain after working out? Yes—and THC-forward products aren’t the only option for today’s athletes and fitness fiends.

Products containing cannabidiol (CBD) are a favorite among patients looking to treat pain (including exercise-related muscle soreness), and they can also support other health outcomes: mood regulation and better sleep hygiene are just two.

In this guide, we’re breaking down everything today’s athletes need to know about CBD. If you’re looking for a reputable relief guide, you’ve come to the right place.

CBD for Athletes: Uses and Benefits

While people have been using marijuana for joint pain and muscle soreness for generations, information about CBD has exploded in recent years. Let’s break down just a few of CBD’s potential health benefits for athletes.

Pain Relief

There are two important things to know about CBD and pain relief:

  • Science is behind the curve – While the results of early clinical trials are promising—evidence indicates that CBD can effectively relieve pain—the Western medical model needs much more clinical data to wholeheartedly recommend any cannabis product for medical treatment.
  • Anecdotal evidence is undeniable – While there’s a lack of clinical data on CBD, prospective patients have countless anecdotal reports at their disposal. Patients widely say that, as a pain relief tool, CBD is highly effective, isn’t habit-forming, and doesn’t cause many notable side effects.

At the end of the day, patients have shown that CBD is a safe, effective option for athletes looking for a non-psychoactive, plant-based solution for pain relief.

There are a few different ways today’s athletes can harness the pain relief power of CBD—we’ll discuss some of the most popular product options in a later section.

Sleep Support

Every athlete knows that a good night’s sleep is key to workout recovery; quality sleep and energy replenishment go hand-in-hand.

Luckily, CBD isn’t just an exceptional tool for pain relief.

CBD can also help you:

  • Fall asleep more quickly
  • Stay asleep throughout the night
  • Get more restful sleep

Of course, not all CBD products are created equal—while some strains (subtypes of the cannabis plant) may promote wakefulness and energy, others are more inclined to make you drowsy.

As you peruse CBD-forward products for sleep, consider:

Timing is also key for athletes looking to use CBD for both pain relief and sleep support. To avoid midday drowsiness (or prevent feeling lethargic before your workout starts), consider taking sleep-supportive CBD products only before bed.

Mood Regulation

Like its counterpart, the cannabinoid THC, CBD can help improve your overall mood. The best part: CBD could actually improve your workouts. How?

  • Your body’s built-in endocannabinoid system (ECS) regulates both your endocannabinoids (compounds made inside your body) and your two types of cannabinoid receptors.
  • New research indicates that “runner’s high,” a feeling of euphoria athletes sometimes feel during workouts, could be connected to the ECS.
  • Since CBD is a cannabinoid, it binds to your cannabinoid receptors to produce various effects.
  • By introducing CBD into your system before a workout, you could tap into that fitness euphoria earlier in your workout than usual—or, if you don’t normally experience runner’s high, you might begin to unlock the unique sensation.

By working with your ECS, CBD can improve your overall mood—a phenomenon that could improve the quality of your workouts and your recovery period.

CBD Products for Athletes: Top Options on Today’s Market

With an idea of what CBD can do for your athletic routine and recovery, let’s touch on some patient-favorite ways to introduce CBD to the body. Today, there are more CBD products on the market than ever before—you’re almost guaranteed to find one that’s compatible with your needs and lifestyle.

Topical CBD Products

Topical CBD products are applied directly to the skin, and they contain three major ingredients:

  • CBD extracts (usually oil-based)
  • Moisturizing ingredients
  • A lotion, cream, or ointment base

Since they’ve been available on the market for some time, there’s a wide variety of CBD topicals to choose from. While they’re not always available at the drugstore, you can find them online and in some brick-and-mortar nutrition stores.

How can you use topical CBD products?

  • Apply them to sore areas after your post-workout shower
  • Apply them to your whole body after working out for widespread relief
  • Apply them before working out to keep soreness from interrupting your set

Since you don’t ingest them, CBD topicals are one of the simplest and best options for athletes—there’s no need to modify your nutrition plan or your lifestyle to harness the healing benefits of CBD.


Unlike CBD topicals, edible products must be ingested—hence their name.

Edibles come in a variety of forms, including:

  • Candies
  • Baked goods
  • Beverages

Athletes can even make their own edible (or drinkable) products by combining a CBD extract with their favorite protein shake or snack recipe (more on this in the next section).

However, store-bought CBD edibles are widely available, and they have some notable benefits:

  • They’re pre-dosed – No need to worry about how many drops to add or how many pumps of lotion to use—premade edibles are precisely dosed, so you always know how much product you’re getting.
  • They’re discreet – While applying lotion or smoking flower isn’t very subtle, popping an edible after a workout is simple, quick, and easily unnoticed. If you’re looking to avoid judgment from your gym buddies, this is the method for you.
  • They’re tasty – Who doesn’t like candy and cookies? Edibles are an excellent way to get a small dose of sweets and unlock workout-boosting benefits without sacrificing your nutrition plan.

Tinctures and Oils

If you’re looking for a more hands-on approach to CBD administration, you might take a liking to tinctures and oils.

While they’re both liquids and typically sold in dropper bottles, there’s one key difference between these two product types:

  • Tinctures are alcohol-based CBD extractions—like vanilla and almond extracts
  • Oils are fat-based CBD extractions

This creates some functional differences, too:

  • Tinctures stir easily into beverages—soothing teas, kombucha, or just water
  • Oils are generally easier to add to baked goods, meals, or other homemade edibles

If you want to keep it simple, you don’t have to combine tinctures and oils with anything—just put a few drops on or under your tongue to introduce CBD to your system. These options are relatively discreet, low-odor, and low-calorie.

Smokable Products

Smoking has been essential to the cannabis community for generations—it’s one of the most straightforward ways to introduce beneficial cannabinoids to your system.

While athletes can purchase CBD-only hemp flower for smoking, this isn’t always the ideal application (especially for athletes):

  • Smoking isn’t subtle – Depending on your lifestyle, smoking may simply not make sense for you. If you have small children at home, live in a rental property, or can’t easily get outside to smoke, it might not be feasible for you to roll a hemp joint after a workout.
  • Smoking can be harsh – If you’ve never smoked before, it might be difficult to pick up the habit. While there are ways to make cannabis smoking slightly more comfortable (e.g., vaping or using water pipes), smoking just isn’t for everyone—and that’s okay.
  • Smoking takes time – While it takes just a few seconds to pop an edible or stir a few tincture drops into a glass of water, smoking is time-consuming (especially if you’re rolling joints or packing glassware yourself).

While smoking is certainly an option for athletes (and it’s a straightforward way to introduce CBD to your system), it might not be a good fit for your lifestyle, schedule, or preferences.

TeleLeaf: Connecting Athletes with Medical Cannabis Treatment

While you might not associate cannabis with athleticism, this couldn’t be further from the truth: athletes have been using medical marijuana for chronic pain, mood regulation, and sleep support for years, and clinical evidence is finally catching up with anecdotal reports.

CBD isn’t the only cannabinoid that offers athletic benefits, and you can explore all of the options available to you by getting a medical marijuana card. That’s where TeleLeaf comes in: while you might be an expert in the gym, we’re experts at helping people unlock the holistic, plant-based cannabis care they deserve.

Schedule an appointment with us to get started.


GoodRx. Using Cannabis for Pain Relief.

Forbes. CBD for Pain Relief: How to Use CBD to Manage Pain.

Sleep Foundation. Is CBD a Safe and Effective Sleep Aid?.

Finest Labs. Terpenes for Sleep: Does It Help & Which to Choose.

University of Colorado Boulder. Study: Cannabis can make workouts more fun, but it’s no performance-enhancer.

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