With the legalization of Cannabis, there is a growing interest in its effects on cognition, mood, and daily activities. Recreational use of cannabis is getting more accessible. Some professional sportsmen and athletes are using marijuana as pain relief. Those who have never put their bodies under pressure cannot understand the pain associated with hard work or strenuous exercise. However, athletes need ways to soothe their muscles and bones after straining them to their limits.

Physical excellence is crucial for a professional athlete or die-hard sports fan hoping for a championship season. Another universal truth about sports is injury. All athletes, amateurs and professionals, need a quick recovery strategy.

The dawn of cannabis as the new sports medicine has provided an alternative to athletes at every level of competition. For many athletes, weed and fitness go hand in hand. But is cannabis truly a miracle drug to enhance athletic performance? Or do its side effects outweigh its benefits?

Let’s see: does weed help muscle recovery? Should everyone start using it after a workout?

 

How does Cannabis affect Athletic Performance?

To understand how cannabis can help athletes, let’s examine how CBD & THC interact with our endocannabinoid system. The primary cannabinoids of the cannabis plant are THC & CBD. THC – Tetrahydrocannabinol is famous for its psychoactive properties, while CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid.

You might have noticed that red shot eyes are common side effects of cannabis consumption. Generally, it occurs due to vasodilation caused by THC – blood vessels expand and increase blood flow.

However, the effect of THC on the circulatory system may be beneficial for athletes as the increased blood flow keeps the muscles oxygenated. THC also works as a bronchodilator to open the airways and help deep breathing. Moreover, the anti-inflammatory properties of THC help reduce inflammation that is instrumental for post-workout recovery. Sleep is a fundamental part of recovery, so relieving insomnia symptoms can expedite the recovery process. THC with a natural terpene profile can provide an uplifting feeling that makes you feel energized and active.

CBD – another phytocannabinoid, is the trendiest wellness supplement of this decade. It interacts with our body’s endocannabinoid system that regulates various body functions, including pain, sleep, memory, and immune system. Much like THC, CBD can provide pain relief and quick recovery without unwanted euphoric effects THC.

 

How does weed affect Athletes?

Cannabis contains numerous phytocannabinoids that are similar to the body’s natural endocannabinoids. The cannabinoids of the cannabis plant interact with cannabinoid receptors in the body to help maintain homeostasis. These receptors, when stimulated by the cannabinoids of Cannabis Sativa, may help alleviate several health ailments. The most common benefits of cannabis include:

  • Reduced inflammation
  • Pain relief
  • Wound and bone healing
  • Neuroprotective
  • Sports anxiety
  • Rehabilitation and recovery

 

Does Cannabis help muscle recovery?

THC, also termed Delta-9 THC, is a highly potent anti-inflammatory cannabinoid. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, THC is more effective in muscle recovery than aspirin and steroid hydrocortisone. In addition, CBD also has anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, antioxidant, anticonvulsant, and anti-anxiety properties.

CBD & THC together produce entourage effects that enhance muscle recovery after strenuous exercise.

 

Benefits of Cannabis for Athletic Performance

How marijuana affects hard training athletes? Here is what you need to know.

Reduce Inflammation:

One of the most promising areas of cannabis is reducing muscle and joint inflammation. In addition, some studies show that cannabinoids are novel anti-inflammatory drugs and can help manage autoimmune conditions [1].

Ease Soreness & Pain:

Cannabis may help manage pain caused by injury during a workout, going hand-in-hand with its anti-inflammatory properties. Studies indicate that cannabis can alleviate chronic pain and acute pain [2]. For athletes, cannabis is a safe alternative to habit-forming opiates.

Muscle Spasm:

Athletes suffering from muscle spasms can take benefits from natural cannabinoids of the cannabis plant. The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD & THC reduce muscle spasms by interacting with ECS and their cannabinoid receptors.

Improve Sleep:

Another significant advantage of cannabis is better night sleep. For an athlete, it becomes difficult to get enough night’s sleep due to muscle and joint pain. CBD helps manage sleep apnea and suppresses dreams that improve an athlete’s overall fitness [3].

Moreover, cannabis is an alternative to other habit-forming sleep medication that comes with litany side effects.

Boost Mental Health:

The struggle is the enemy, but weed is a remedy. You might be thinking about how cannabis relates to an athlete’s mental health. Focus is an essential part of sports. Sometimes, an athlete cannot focus on his task due to stress and performance anxiety. In athletics, cannabis acts as a catalyst for achieving a meditative state of flow [4].

 

Side Effects of Cannabis on Exercise:

It is too early to say that cannabis is safe to consume before a workout. More research is essential to understand the possible benefits and adverse effects of cannabis. Here are some risk factors involved in marijuana consumption for sportspersons.

Lungs Damage:

Although cannabis involves less risk of lung disease than tobacco, smoking cannabis can cause breathlessness, wheezing, and increased mucus production. Athletes know that healthy lungs are essential for overall fitness. So be sure to consult with your doctor before adding cannabis to your regime.

Impair Motor Skills:

There is no secret that THC is a psychoactive drug that causes euphoria and impairs motor skills. Cannabis smoking can cause difficulties in decision-making and motor coordination. It is better to use CBD products if you want to avoid the euphoric effects of THC.

Increased Heart Rate:

Cannabis consumption can increase the heart rate. Enhanced heart rate combined with sudden exercising may amplify the risk of a heart attack.

However, cannabis-infused edibles can change the quality of effects, as they bypass the digestive system and liver before reaching the bloodstream.

 

Final verdict:

The magic herb cannabis has a strong following in sports, and many cannabis enthusiasts are athletes. Weed can alleviate the symptoms of muscle soreness, pain, and inflammation. The idea that you will feel better after cannabis consumption does not mean it makes you surpass your physical limit.

Marijuana is an effective remedy, but the current status of research is not impressive. More scientific research is essential to prove weed effectiveness for athletic performance. If you are interested in trying cannabis for muscle recovery or pain, talk to your doctor.

Cannabis can be used in various ways, so you have a lot of options for including it in your recovery routine. However, to be on the safe side, it is best to start small and go slow to examine the effects of cannabis on your body and ask your doctor to suggest a particular amount for daily use.

Why not give it a try to see how cannabis before or after a workout can benefit you.

 

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2828614/
  2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11916-015-0524-x
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28349316/
  4. https://www.nature.com/articles/nm.4311.epdf?referrer_access_token=Bgl8_C6kUUVFf8KKwbBl-dRgN0jAjWel9jnR3ZoTv0NRYIx8hdsuruNThmdB6mWxOPT5d6eN7Wl4yrXSx6ZoNKSAgOdMbTc3Kv2pyVb-35LLelbRYK_FR1trN3sPcchI_iCafZa3OrrtGSPwQzTageqUNpGfuSdyLcnR35NN8isXlhFUZebAEEyKpR8evQ-bAH3G4jjMcyhTbYAuO3OM2sWMrMV029LHRauIP61jOLqGSDxdHwp-QYZun_24Uk_cMvIDHyKx7SIowWazFqObWg%3D%3D&tracking_referrer=www.newsweek.com

 

 

 

 

 

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