It’s no secret that cannabis has been used both medicinally and recreationally throughout the world for centuries by people from all walks of life. We know that the plant has a long list of health and wellness benefits ranging from reducing anxiety to lowering blood pressure and treating some gastrointestinal disorders, but exactly how do athletes and cannabis mix?
For many reasons, it’s essential that athletes be acutely aware of what they put into their bodies. Among the most important is to have a better chance of maintaining their peak performance. So does cannabis affect athletic performance, and if so, how? Before we answer that, let’s take a quick look at some interesting science.
Relationship Between Cannabis & the Human Body
Despite the fact that cannabis use has been widespread for centuries, the endocannabinoid system system in the human body was only discovered somewhat recently, in 1988. Cannabinoids are naturally-occurring compounds found in the cannabis plant, with THC and CBD being the most prevalent, as well as the most well-known. THC is the most abundant cannabinoid and CBD is the second. While similar in what they treat and both quite popular, the main difference is that CBD’s side effects are milder, producing low levels of psychoactivity, while THC actually produces a high.
When scientists discovered the endocannabinoid system in 1988, they found that the human body naturally produces many of the same cannabinoids found in cannabis. The endocannabinoid system helps the body regulate numerous functions including sleep, appetite, pain control, mood, the immune system, memory, and more.
Receptors in the endocannabinoid system work to replenish the body’s cannabinoid levels after they’ve been depleted, helping return the body to its normal balance. Adding extra cannabinoids to your system can help boost this natural process to make it move quicker and work more efficiently.
How Athletes and Cannabis Mix Together
Cannabis can have several great benefits for athletes. Cannabinoids can speed up the recovery process after a workout. Some athletes use cannabis in order to make recovery quicker and easier. Faster and more efficient recovery prepares and optimizes the body for the next workout.
Many people also find it easier to fall and stay asleep when using cannabis. Quality sleep plays a huge role in helping the body recover and also gives you more lasting energy the next day.
Other athletes may find it difficult to eat enough throughout the day. This is important to replenish the nutrients and calories bodies lose from intense exercise. Food may often the furthest thing from an athlete’s mind after a challenging workout. Cannabis helps the body build up an appetite. It helps to ensure there are sufficient nutrients to support the recovery process.
Using Cannabis as a Medical Supplement
Cannabis can also be a great alternative to other medicines and therapeutic techniques. Many athletes frequently take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicines like ibuprofen to help keep their muscles loose. This can increase endurance during workouts, games, and races. CBD can be a highly effective anti-inflammatory medicine and doesn’t have the same side effects common with long-term usage of ibuprofen.
Another anti-inflammatory benefit of cannabis is helping athletes cope with pain. Many athletes push their bodies to the absolute limit. Unfortunately, this can result in serious injuries with debilitating aches and pains. Cannabis helps manage that pain by reducing inflammation. Topical CBD creams are very popular for muscle pain relief.
Nervousness and anxiety before a big game or performance are things athletes deal with on a regular basis. It’s extremely difficult to fully focus the mind and perform at your best when overwhelmed with nerves. Cannabis can be a huge help by calming nerves and relaxing anxious feelings so you can stay cool and calm. Focus on the task at hand.
Why Don’t More Athletes Use Cannabis?
You may be asking yourself why you don’t hear about more athletes and cannabis if it can provide these impressive benefits. The answer has two main sides. The first is that many people still have a negative stigma about cannabis. This is particularly true in the sports world. Many leagues and organizations strictly prohibit its use. Legality also varies significantly in different areas.
The other side of this attitude about athletes and cannabis is that it’s largely kept hidden. This can even be true for previously stated reasons. Many professional athletes use some form of cannabis. However, if they were to fail a drug test or publicly admit usage, they may face punishment. While plenty of athletes are actively using cannabis, some remain clandestine about it.
Tips for How Athletes and Cannabis Mix Well
When used properly, there are several great ways for athletes and cannabis to mix.
1. Stick to ingestion, rather than inhalation. This keeps your lung capacity as high as possible.
2. Research local laws and league restrictions to ensure you can continue to compete.
3. Avoid products that have high THC: stick with CBD. Avoid THC altogether if you’re subject to random drug testing.
4. Treat cannabis as medicine, not a habit. Monitor how your body reacts and whether you see the benefits that you seek.
5. Experiment with different forms to determine which method works best for your body. CBD may be found in capsules, oils, edibles, and topical creams.
If you have any questions about what products, dosages, and methods work best for how athletes and cannabis mix, contact us at Moss Crossing. We’re here to help both first timers and seasoned cannabis users. We offer a number of guides, tips, and a wide range of products both in store and for delivery!