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

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

Considering using CBD before a workout? Learn more about CBD for pre-workouts, different types of CBD products & how they can enhance your fitness goals.

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 discomfort 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.

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. cbdMD’s Superior Broad Spectrum hemp extract is a version of this, made with carefully measured quantities of CBD, CBG, CBN, and select terpenes.

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

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.


cbdMD sleep aid cbd pm 500 mg bottle sitting on a nightstand next to a bed and clock


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.

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 helps soothe discomfort and stress. Both effects would make CBD the perfect tool for people who wish to maximize their workouts. But those calming effects also make some people feel a little sleepy – which you 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.

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 the 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.

CBD Before Workout Sessions: Tinctures

CBD oil tinctures take effect faster since absorption under the tongue 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 under the tongue 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.

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.

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.

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)




A woman sitting down on a yoga mat in her living room with a exercise ball weights and a water bottle


Can You Take CBD Before Your Workout?

As mentioned earlier, your pre-workout routine starts way before you hit the gym. Sleep is a crucial part of any rest or recovery from the day before. If you sleep is hindered, you won’t get the most out of the next day including your next workout. Even so, if you take a slow-acting form of CBD like a gummy or capsule right before your workout you’ll be ready to feel the calming effects of the CBD just as you are finishing up at the gym. Using this CBD method is technically a pre-workout step that really will be aiding post-workout recovery.

But everyone is different, which is why some people want to feel the effects of CBD during their workout to get the most out of it. The reason for this is that CBD could work as a way to reduce stress and keep your body balanced. For those who love exercise as a way to work through stress and get a sense of relaxation, CBD can be a great addition to your pre-workout routine.

Does CBD Affect Athletic Performance?

While CBD used to be a prohibited substance in all sports competitions, professional sports organizations have increasingly allowed it since products of hemp were legalized in 2018. Competitive and professional athletes have since been able to enjoy the benefits of CBD before, during, and after performance. CBD is especially useful for athletes who exercise intensely, as their bodies will need a little more help in recovery. CBD has been shown to help accelerate the recovery process by aiding in a more restful sleep and relax muscle tension. The more an athlete has recovered, the better performance quality they will have.

Since everyone is different, though (we seriously cannot stress this enough), not everyone will feel the same effects. While some might feel a little bit too relaxed to be able to compete and train, others will feel they are relaxed just the right amount to get that perfect level of focus. Experimentation when it comes to CBD is important.

Does CBD Affect Cardio?

This question makes a lot of sense since CBD is known to provide a sense of relaxation and when you are running you need focus and drive. However, CBD does not affect your ability to do cardio-based workouts and can make them easier as a post-workout recovery tool. Cardio is hard enough as it is, but it’s even harder when you haven’t fully recovered from your last cardio workout. Sore and tired muscles will be the thing that keeps you from getting the most out of your workout.

It's important to note that if you are taking CBD for the first time, you won’t necessarily feel its effect right away. CBD can take about a week or two of daily use to kick in (everyone is different) and then you will start to feel the wonderful benefits of CBD more fully.

Can You Take CBD Before a Race?

CBD can be a great tool for runners to incorporate into their routines. Because CBD can be quite helpful for recovery from vigorous training, it is a great way to help your body get the rest needed for race day. One of the most important parts of recovery is sleep! If you don’t get enough sleep, especially before race day, you won’t be at your best. Sleep is crucial for your body to repair and regenerate muscle tissue that has been damaged by workouts. CBD is a great way to help improve restfulness and sleep.

If you are the type of runner to get race day jitters, CBD can be a great way to calm those nerves as well. The night before a race you don’t want to be tossing and turning trying to sleep. Especially since sleep is extremely important not only for recovery but for overall performance in any activity in life. If you are someone who feels a certain amount of anticipation that night before running, CBD could be a great way to relax your thoughts and turn out the lights.

If you are also the type of runner who struggles with the mental game of running, CBD is also great. CBD provides a sense of calm, including in the mind. It is hard to focus during a run when your mind is going everywhere else but running. On a day where you need to focus the most, CBD can help!

Does Smoking CBD Affect Cardio?

While taking CBD softgels or oils won’t affect your cardio on a performance level, smoking CBD might. This is for the same reason that smoking cigarettes or cannabis would affect your cardio. Smoke will always affect endurance when inhaled due to the decreased amount of oxygen getting to your heart, lungs, and muscles.

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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.

Originally written by: Randall Goins