Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis




Kinesiology and Health Promotion

First Advisor

Dr. Stuart Best


Background: Exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD) results from unaccustomed exercise and can lead to delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Impairments associated with EIMD and DOMS can result in moderate-to-severe discomfort and hindered performance. Recently, a compound derived from the cannabis plant, cannabidiol (CBD), has been used as a recovery tool for EIMD and DOMS. Despite the rising popularity of CBD products, their effectiveness in mitigating EIMD and DOMS is unknown. Purpose: The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effects of CBD cream on DOMS and performance after an intensive lower-body exercise protocol. In addition, the study sought to determine whether the cream has a localized or systemic effect. Methods: Fifteen men and thirteen women (n = 28; age: 23.29 ± 2.54 yr, body mass: 73.14 ± 12.85 kg, body fat: 22.24 ± 7.80%) untrained in lower body resistance training were included in the analysis of this randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled experiment. Participants were randomized and matched for age and biological sex into three experimental groups: control group (CON, n=9), CBD group (CBD, n=9), and placebo group (PLA, n=10). All participants completed a fatiguing exercise protocol (FP) consisting of repeated, maximal concentric and eccentric isokinetic muscle actions of the quadriceps and hamstrings (5 sets, 10 repetitions, repeated for muscle groups and legs). CBD and PLA group participants applied approximately 100 mg CBD cream and placebo cream to match in weight, respectively, immediately after, as well as 24- and 48-hr after FP, while CON group participants engaged in a seated rest period. Subjective measures of soreness (electronic questionnaires, pressure-pain threshold (PPT)) and objective measures of performance (peak torque test (PTT), countermovement jump (CMJ)) were evaluated throughout the study. Two-way (group × time) and where required, three-way (group × muscle × time) repeated-measures ANOVA tests were conducted to assess main effects and interactions. Results: There were no main effects for group on overall soreness (p = 0.531, η2 = 0.049), muscle soreness (p = 0.077, η2 = 0.186), soreness pattern (p = 0.144, η2 = 0.144), or tightness (p = 0.063, η2 = 0.198). While it was observed that PPT of the hamstrings was significantly lower than the quadriceps (p = 0.008, η2 = 0.250), there was no main effect for group (p = 0.303, η2 = 0.091) or time (p = 0.065, η2 = 0.118). There were no significant group effects or interaction effects for all CMJ (all p ≥ 0.289, all η2 ≤ 0.090) and PTT (all p ≥ 0.072, η2 ≤ 0.190) outcomes. There was no group effect for cream/rest effect (p = 0.276, η2 = 0.098). Conclusions: The present study found no evidence that CBD cream improved muscle soreness or performance. Future research should consider using a larger sample size (trained versus untrained individuals) with increased or varying CBD doses, accompanied by additional physiological measuring techniques.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)