CBD As a Pre-Workout Supplement: Does It Help?

Illustration of CBD products with Preworkout equipment.
Written by Nina Julia | Last updated: November 8, 2023

At first glance, it seems like a better idea to take CBD oil after a workout. After all, scientists say that it helps relieve pain, reduce inflammation, anxiety, and whatnot. So why should you take CBD before a workout? Is there a point in doing so?

Many athletes all over the world have included a CBD tincture in their warm-up routine. According to a recent study, this may help you reach your workout goals faster.

Even though sportspeople use CBD for enhanced exercise performance, there are still many questions as to how exactly this compound improves a workout routine.

Let’s look at the potential benefits of using CBD as a pre-workout.

CBD As A Pre-Workout

CBD oil affects workouts in several ways. Here’s how you can use it to boost your exercise routine.

CBD As A Sleeping Aid

Hemp Leaves, Tea, and Sleep Mask

If you’re the type who works out in the morning — as opposed to the evening birds — then you know just how important a good night’s rest is to your daily workout plan.

It is harder to smash your daily goals when you already woke up exhausted. Maybe you even slept in a weird position and now your muscles ache. Using CBD oil before you go to bed enhances your sleep time. It’s less tossing and turning, and more sweet dreams.

During sleep, your brain function is reduced. Your body can focus squarely on recovery and the building of cells. You’ve heard your parents say you grow in your sleep. It is true. You gather gains while you are asleep.

Studies have shown that ingesting the oil a few minutes before bedtime reduces REM sleep, and encourages NREM sleep. This helps your body rest properly and recover from the day’s activity. A sound sleep will help you wake up on the right side of the bed, energized for the day’s workout.

CBD For Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety are major causes of poor exercise. Many exercise reps require coordination and balance, and anxiety ruins that. When your body is under stress, because it hasn’t been able to recover properly — or because it needs time to adapt to those workouts — you spend more energy and get worse results.

Stressed muscles increase soreness and pain — yielding almost no actual workout gains. The deadly pair, stress, and anxiety, are both physical and psychological. This impacts the natural balance of your body. In response, you can’t work out properly because your body feels “off”.

That’s where CBD comes in. Cannabidiol intensifies workouts by reducing symptoms of anxiety and helping your body feel at ease. It is capable of relieving the tension and pent-up stress stored between your shoulders, back, and neck. This helps your movements become more fluid but precise, and your workout time worth the while.

CBD For Focus and Endurance

Focus and endurance are two keys to a successful workout session. If you aren’t stretching your limits while you exercise, you may be hindering your progress. In this manner, exercise isn’t just good for your muscles, it also teaches you lessons on discipline and perseverance. It’s about more than just looking good.

As CBD relaxes your body so that it can work better, it also enhances brain performance. In particular, CBD improves energy and focus, even memory and cognitive functions. As an athlete, the number one rule is this; do not take your eyes off the ball. If you’re still hung up on the past, it’s hard to move forward.

CBD oil will help clear the clutter in your head, making it possible for you to give it your best from the first whistle.

The oil also helps you hold out this heightened cerebral function. Instead of a concentration span or optimal playtime of 10 minutes, you find yourself doing more, for even longer periods. Your vision stays clear, and you can make swifter, more accurate moves while you’re on the court.

How Does CBD React With Other Pre Workout Supplements?

CBD Softgels and Tincture

The use of CBD in sports is still a topic of debate. The number of people interested in its benefits doesn’t match the research that has been done on its properties.

As a result, many questions remain unanswered.

Like any other supplement, CBD could react with other substances, leading to overdose, underdose, or hypersensitivity reactions. Although no glaring research has been done on the contraindications of CBD, it can cause the following side effects:

  1. Drowsiness
  2. Diarrhea
  3. Reduced blood pressure
  4. Dry mouth

Now that we have outlined the possible side effects of CBD, we can see that certain groups of medications should not be co-administered with cannabis.

CBD competes with the majority of pharmaceuticals in the liver, causing unwanted interactions, such as too high or too low concentrations of the drug in the liver. As a result, the user may not experience any effects at all — or suffer from toxicity.

If you take any medication that may interact with CBD, consult your doctor to establish the right amount of CBD intake and routine for both substances.

Is CBD Safe To Take Pre Workout?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) identifies CBD as relatively safe for consumption. It can be readily combined with supplements containing vitamins, creatinine, amino acids, caffeine, and beta-alanine. Supplements with similar side effects as CBD should be avoided e.g., Melatonin which may worsen drowsiness.

That aside, combining the following supplements with CBD may result in extreme drowsiness. This doesn’t occur in a huge percentage of the population, but it’s a risk that shouldn’t be ignored.

  1. Kava
  2. L-Tryptophan
  3. Skullcap
  4. Sage
  5. Catnip
  6. Jamaican dogwood

Using Different Kinds of CBD Preworkout

CBD Leaf, Oil, Tincture and Other Forms

What forms of CBD are best suited as a pre-workout? Here are a few options:

CBD Capsules and Edibles

CBD capsules and edibles take an oral route, meaning they need to be metabolized by the digestive system before they can make it to the bloodstream. Therefore, it takes longer for them to kick in (up to 2 hours). On the other hand, they have a longer-lasting time and provide a fixed dose in each serving.

These premium CBD capsules online can be bought as either traditional pills or soft gels. For edibles, the choice is much broader, including gummies, honey sticks, chocolate, protein bars, and drinks.

CBD Tinctures Before Workout

CBD oil is a liquid extract that comes in glass bottles with a dropper attached to them. You take it under the tongue and hold it there for up to 60 seconds before swallowing. This way, CBD avoids the liver and absorbs through tiny capillaries in your mouth; as a result, the effects are noticeable after 15-30 minutes, lasting up to 6 hours. It’s one of the most bioavailable methods, combining dosage precision with ease of use.

CBD tinctures can also be added to your morning coffee or your favorite smoothie blend.

CBD Vapes Before Workout

Vaporization is the fastest and most effective way to deliver CBD to your system. CBD gets absorbed through the lung tissue in the form of vapor, ensuring almost instantaneous effects. CBD vapes also offer the highest bioavailability of all consumption methods, meaning you’re getting the most out of your CBD dose.

You can choose from products like CBD E-liquid, vape pens, and dry hemp flowers. Depending on the product type, you’ll need a dry herb vaporizer or a special vape pen for concentrates. The learning curve is a bit more difficult than with other formats, but it’s worth trying.

CBD Topicals

CBD topicals are a broad category covering products like creams, lotions, balms, and ointments. They have a localized effect due to their interaction with the skin’s endocannabinoid receptors. If you need to warm yourself up before a workout, using high-quality CBD topical cream products can prepare your muscles for exercise. However, topicals are better suited for a post-workout routine to help with sore spots on the body. Their absorption rate and onset vary depending on the formula, but usually, it takes between 20–40 minutes to experience the benefits.

Final Thoughts

CBD can make your workout better and more intense if you use it the right way. A little CBD just before bedtime, or a little CBD when you wake up can make the whole difference, not just in your workout routine, but in the whole day.

With more clinical research being done on the benefits of CBD for athletes, we may soon expect more formulations dedicated specifically to sportspeople.

Do you use CBD as a pre-workout? Does it work? Let us know in the comments below.


  1. ALL, W. O. F. S. O., & All, S. How do CBD and Melatonin interact to help you sleep better? What you need to know Jul 23, 2020| CBD, Melatonin, Sleeptime Gummies, Sleepy-Time, Uncategorized.
  2. Spinella, T. C., Stewart, S. H., Naugler, J., Yakovenko, I., & Barrett, S. P. (2021). Evaluating cannabidiol (CBD) expectancy effects on acute stress and anxiety in healthy adults: a randomized crossover study. Psychopharmacology, 1-13.
  3. Batalla, A., Bos, J., Postma, A., & Bossong, M. G. (2020). The impact of cannabidiol on human brain function: a systematic review. Frontiers in pharmacology, 11.
  4. Machado Bergamaschi, M., Helena Costa Queiroz, R., Waldo Zuardi, A., & Crippa, A. S. (2011). Safety and side effects of cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent. Current drug safety, 6(4), 237-249.

Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.

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