It’s some of the newest and most prevalent anecdotal evidence in cannabis out there — how marijuana affects sports. More and more professional athletes are coming forward and talking about how they use cannabis to help them train. And with cannabis making an appearance on the list of banned substances by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), people are talking about cannabis and sport more than ever before.
Even though athletes are calling for cannabis to be removed from WADA’s banned list, the agency claims that cannabis can enhance athletic performance. Is this true? And how?
A survey run by the University of Colorado found that seventy per cent of respondents who consumed cannabis prior to exercising called the experience more enjoyable. Just take a minute to let that seep in.
For decades, stereotypes of lazy potheads with the “munchies” have persisted. According to this survey , these stereotypes might not be altogether true. As more positive anecdotal reports come in, we’re thinking that maybe THC and athletes were made for each other.
As participants report exercise as more enjoyable, cannabis may make it easier to train. The secret to transforming your body and improving in a particular sport is, in fact, training. Athletes have reported that consuming cannabis for a workout makes it easier to zone out and enjoy the process. Perhaps this is one of the reasons WADA claims cannabis enhances performance.
Pro-athletes are also saying that their preference for cannabis and sport is influenced by its ability to treat aches and pains. Cannabis, and CBD especially, may have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. By reducing inflammation in the muscles and joints, recovery time following an intense work may be lessened.
Along with inflammation reduction, cannabis may also help with pain. When dealing with a sport injury or just a hard day on the body, cannabis may ease your brain’s perception of pain. Further to this, THC and CBD may work to suppress cytokines in the body. Cytokines cause muscles to inflame after training, which in turn causes aching muscles.
Marijuana may also help you sleep. Of course, sleep is also integral to the body’s recovery process. The better you sleep, the better your athletic performance may be. Plus, the more you exercise, the better you’ll sleep. Cannabis may help fuel this healing process. Remember that while you sleep, your muscles are also rebuild themselves.
It is worthy of note that science is still in its most preliminary stages in the cannabis community. Interestingly, research is showing that a cannabinoid called cannabigerol (CBG) might help encourage protein synthesis. By doing so, it’s possible that CBG may help reduce inflammation and contribute to muscle growth. However, science has yet to catch up to the trend of cannabis and sport with more information. In other words, more research needs to be done.
Excitingly, what we do know is that cannabis may indeed help with inflammation. Weed may also help you sleep. Both of those factors lead to better recovery. Thusly, cannabis and sport seems like a good match when it comes to improving your performance.
Unfortunately, there is a downside. When talking about cannabis in sports, it might not always be the best option. If your sport is a fast-paced, high impact activity — like downhill mountain biking — you might not want to be high while you’re doing it. Marijuana can affect your cognitive abilities, slowing your reaction time. This can lead to minor mistakes or miscalculations that could leave you in an injury-inducing accident.
However, if your sport is slower paced or drawn-out and safe, cannabis may work for you. Getting a little high beforehand might actually help. Evidence suggest that weed can enhance the feeling of runner’s high, making the activity all the more rewarding. Athletes have also reported that consuming marijuana before lifting weights made them feel more present and aware of their muscles. Having that sort of awareness while lifting weights can fine-tune the process. Perhaps this may yield better results?
Before you smoke weed and head out for your favorite sporting activity, consider what you’ll be doing. Remember that a slower reaction time will affect your overall safety. Enticingly, it seems that cannabis and sports go well together. Who doesn’t want to reduce your overall recovery time? The bottom line is that before giving this a go, you need to consult with your physician to see if cannabis and sport is right for you.