CBD for a Pre-Workout & What You Need to Know First

CBD for a Pre-Workout & What You Need to Know First

Cannabis supplements, particularly CBD-heavy hemp extracts, have found their way into gym bags all over the world. Many users, including an array of pro athletes, report positive experiences using CBD products as a fitness supplement. But many people still have questions.


For instance, with the overwhelming amount of CBD tinctures for sale online, which is the best formula for people who make exercise a priority in their lives? Aside from classic CBD oil tinctures, what other products could produce favorable results for fitness enthusiasts and athletes?


And finally, when should you use those products?


Many think of CBD products specifically as post-workout tools to control minor pain from heavy training sessions. But there is a growing movement that encourages people to use CBD before workouts – particularly slower-acting delivery methods like gummies and capsules.


But there’s more to consider, especially if poor sleep hinders your recovery from strenuous exercise.

Gray-haired lady sits in living room on pink yoga mat in black workout attire next to blue exercise ball and pink weights and water bottle

CBD Product Basics for New Users

Whether you want to use CBD pre-workout or at any other time in your routine, there are a few important things you should know. For instance, what is CBD and what kind of products are available to exercise enthusiasts?


First, the vast majority of CBD products sold in the U.S. contain hemp plant extracts. And while marijuana plants also produce CBD, marijuana is illegal under U.S. federal law due to its “high” (so to speak) concentrations of THC, the substance that causes intoxication.


On the other hand, hemp became a federally legal crop in late 2018 since it contains negligible levels of THC. In other words, federally legal hemp extracts will not cause physical or mental impairment when consumed.


Most individuals and companies in the United States use CBD as a catch-all term for a nearly endless variety of hemp extracts and formulas.


For instance, full spectrum extracts contain all of the cannabinoids, essential oils, plant terpenes, and other substances, including 0.3 percent or less of THC.


Further refinement can yield broad spectrum hemp extract, which usually contains undetectable amounts of THC.


Some CBD product makers also use isolated CBD, or CBD isolate, in their formulas. These CBD-only items contain no other compounds from hemp.


You may also find brands that create products from multiple isolates.


For example, cbdMD formulates many of its THC-free* products using isolated CBD and other isolated compounds like CBG, CBN and plant terpenes. This method provides consistent amounts of the compounds across all product batches, which is impossible to achieve in typical full or broad spectrum hemp extract products.


Along with the differing extract types, you’ll find an expanding assortment of delivery methods like oils, topical lotions, capsules, and edibles. Each product type provides different benefits and requires different amounts of time to cause the desired effect. For instance, vaping CBD takes effect the fastest, while absorption through the digestive system works more slowly. But you can use that slow absorption time to your advantage.

Bottle of CBD PM 1000 mg softgel CBD capsules by cbdMD on bedside table with alarm clock in background and softgels scattered on table

Your CBD Pre-Workout Routine Begins the Night Before

When many people think about using CBD before workout sessions, they don’t always consider whether or not they slept well the night before.


The experts agree: You must get enough sleep to get the most out of your exercise. And active people need more sleep than those who live sedentary lives.


While sleeping, the body regulates itself in ways that are not possible during waking hours. Protein synthesis increases during non-REM sleep to repair muscles damaged during exercise. Inadequate sleep also inhibits the production of glycogen, which acts as fuel for your muscles. Without it, you simply cannot exercise or compete to your full potential.


Clearly, preparation for your workout begins with a good night’s rest.


While preliminary studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that isolated CBD may improve sleep quality, there are also purpose-formulated CBD products that contain melatonin and herbal extracts to promote better sleep.

Bottle of cbdMD CBD PM 1000 mg CBD sleep aid tincture on bedside table next to bed with white sheets and small clock in background

You’ve Had a Good Night’s Sleep. Now What?

This is where things get a little trickier.


Experts and CBD users have weighed in with various interpretations of how, when, and why fitness enthusiasts should use CBD before workout sessions.


Some experts indicate that CBD may work as an anti-inflammatory and inhibit the release of stress hormones. Both effects would make CBD the perfect tool for people who wish to maximize their workouts. But preliminary evidence also points to CBD’s sedative effect – an effect many may not wish to experience during workouts or athletic competition.


But again, users report varying effects, and most experts have called for further research. That position stems from the fact that CBD formulas and serving sizes vary greatly from product to product and early studies sometimes provide conflicting results.


With that said, there are a few points you’ll want to consider for a CBD pre-workout routine.

Birdseye view of assortment of CBD gummies by cbdMD dusted with sugar specks in glass jar with top open

CBD Before Workout Sessions: Capsules, Gummies, and other Edibles


When introduced to the body through digestion, these products take around one to two hours to take effect. As a result, there are two primary schools of thought on how these can become part of your CBD pre-workout routine.


As a supplement for post-workout recovery, it’s best to take a serving immediately before you exercise. This method gives your body time to digest the product and begin moving it through your system when you need it most. Taking CBD in this manner also negates the possibility of experiencing any sedative effects during your workout.


If you wish to experience effects of CBD immediately before or during your workout, you can take capsules or gummies approximately two hours before you start exercising. Utilizing CBD before workout sessions in this manner provides time for your body to absorb the product.

Hand holding tincture bottle of premium CBD oil 750 mg by cbdMD in forest with tree and sunlight in background

CBD Before Workout Sessions: Tinctures

CBD oil tinctures take effect faster since sublingual (under the tongue) absorption bypasses the digestive tract. CBD tinctures are versatile and frequently come in flavored options. As a result, many athletes and fitness enthusiasts prefer to use CBD pre-workout by adding it to beverages like smoothies and shakes. Taking CBD in this manner provides similar results to gummies and capsules.


You should only use CBD tinctures sublingually if you want to feel the effects during your workout. In that case, take CBD tinctures 30 minutes to one hour prior to your workout  Otherwise, tinctures provide better support when taken after exercise.


If you’d like to mix CBD oil into a drink, you should follow the suggestions for capsules and allow one to two hours for the compound to take effect.

Squeeze tube of 1500 mg CBD Freeze by cbdMD on wood table with rolled up yoga mat and rubber balls in background

CBD Before Workout Sessions: Topicals

CBD topicals for pain relief make using CBD particularly easy. You do not have to make a plan for when to use them. Simply apply the product when you need it.


There are two primary types of muscle soreness associated with exercise – acute muscle soreness (AMS) and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).


AMS refers to the kind burning soreness you may feel during or immediately after a strenuous workout. On the other hand, DOMS refers to the soreness you typically feel 24-48 hours after workouts.


DOMS can certainly hinder performance in the gym. CBD creams and gels, particularly those containing FDA-approved pain fighters like menthol, work well as a CBD pre-workout option for this particular problem. Those same products can provide relief after your workout as well.

Things to Consider Before Using CBD

Speaking with your physician before you begin any new supplement regimen is always a smart move. It’s especially important to get a doctor’s advice if you have any health problems, take prescription drugs, or use other supplements. One of the most prominent concerns medical professionals have about CBD involves the possibility of drug interactions.


It’s also crucial for you to choose the right CBD maker. Many CBD brands claim to use good manufacturing practices (GMP), and it’s the law that they do so. But few can prove it.


cbdMD recently earned GMP registration through NSF International, the gold standard in the supplements industry for verification of GMP compliance.

Dark-haired woman in back workout shirt and gray pants doing crunches on blue yoga mat

CBD companies should also provide easy access to third-party lab tests certifying their products’ contents are accurate when compared to the label. You wouldn’t want to take a product that contains significantly more or less CBD than what is advertised on the package, and you certainly don’t want to ingest a contaminated product.


Finally, you should decide whether or not you want your products to contain THC.


While full spectrum hemp extracts only contain a tiny amount of the substance, many athletes prefer THC-free* products like those offered by cbdMD. This issue is particularly important for anyone who participates in a sport where THC isn’t permitted for use.

Rejuvenation CBD bundle 3-pack by cbdMD featuring roll-on tube of 300 mg CBD Freeze, 300 mg premium CBD oil tincture, and 300 mg CBD gummies

Bundles for Your CBD Pre-Workout Routine

You might feel overwhelmed by the amount of recommended products, but don’t worry. cbdMD offers CBD product bundles that can save you time and money!


Here are a few CBD pre-workout options you can use to get started:


Rejuvenation 3-Pack (15% off regular purchase price)



  • 300 mg CBD Oil Tincture
  • 300 mg CBD Gummies
  • 300 mg CBD Freeze (2020 Product of the Year - CBD Topicals1)


Product of the Year 2-Pack (20% off the regular purchase price)



  • 500 mg CBD PM Tincture (2020 Product of the Year - CBD Sleep Aid1)
  • 300 mg CBD Freeze (2020 Product of the Year - CBD Topicals1)

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1Product of the Year winners are determined by a survey of 40,000 consumers in the United States which is conducted by independent research firm Kantar.

Disclaimer: The cbdMD page contains general information about health, diet, lifestyle, and nutrition. Any information provided should not be considered or treated as medical advice and always consult a medical professional before making any lifestyle changes. Products and information mentioned on the cbdMD blog are not intended to be used as a substitute for medical diagnosis, advice, or treatment. Any links to third-party websites are provided as a convenience only and cbdMD is not responsible for their content.


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