Use Cannabis To Boost Athletic Performance

Can You Use Cannabis To Boost Athletic Performance and Recovery? 

In the world of professional sports, many athletes turn to weed as a natural way to boost athletic performance and recover after a hard workout. After all, weed has anti-inflammatory and mind-boosting compounds, making it an ideal substance for getting into an athletic mindset or recovering from an intense training session.

However, cannabis has yet to be considered or even accepted in the athletic world, despite the many benefits that some professional athletes claim it has. In this article, we’ll talk about weed as an athletic booster and recovery aid, and how some professional athletes use it in their training and rest sessions.

Can Weed Boost Athletic Performance?

Use Cannabis To Boost Athletic Performance and RecoveryTo date, there is no research available to show that weed can enhance athletic performance. However, some studies have shown that marijuana has other benefits that may be useful for athletes, such as relieving pain and enhancing the recovery process.

According to a 2020 study, there are no ergogenic or ergolytic associated with weed consumption. In other words, it does not improve athletic performance. 

However, the study authors noted that marijuana may be conveyed as a psychotropic enhancement or pain reduction remedy for athletes, and may provide benefits when taken as a supplement. 

Here are some important key findings from the above-mentioned study on chronic cannabis use and athletic performance:

  • To determine if weed can be used as a potential doping agent, researchers who conducted a 2018 analysis found three studies on the topic that were published between 1975 and 1986, indicating a small ergogenic effect on bronchodilation and an opposing ergolytic effect on anaerobic performance 
  • Past studies on VO2 max showed that there were no significant effects on physiological measures or VO2 max, except for heart rate, which was higher during rest, recovery phases, and during exercise in the cannabis condition 
  • Athletes ranging from recreational to elite stated that they used cannabis due to its calming, pain reduction, and sleep aid effects - some reported that cannabis use was similar to a “runners high”

Another 2020 study indicated that unlike THC, which has intoxicating effects, CBD is no longer banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency and may have several various physiological and psychological effects that can benefit athletes, such as improving sleep, reducing anxiety, and improving sleep.

Additional research shows that marijuana may also be used to help improve concussion-related symptoms, especially in regards to pain management. It’s believed to be popular among athletes involved in sliding sports (skeleton and bobsledding) and ice hockey, as well as within injuries associated with Paralympics athletes. 

What Do Athletes Say About Weed?

Use Cannabis To Boost Athletic Performance and RecoveryDespite any controversies, an article published in Men’s Health indicated that many professional athletes use marijuana for various reasons, including getting into a training mindset.  

According to Jim Alpine, founder of the 420 Games, cannabis helps get your mind into a flow state as an athlete. He stated that cannabis can unlock your mind’s focus on the sport you’re partaking in - whether you’re running, lifting weight in the gym, or skiing. 

Alpine went on to state that marijuana has always been a huge part of the bodybuilding culture. He stated that most athletes hid their marijuana use due to negative stigmas, but not that the health benefits of weed are starting to come out and the plant is becoming legal in many places, it’s nothing to hide anymore. 

Endurance athletes also use weed for its anti-inflammatory properties, which can help with intense exercise sessions. According to professional ultra marathoner Avery Collins, using transdermal patches can help you bounce back from sports-related wear and tear. He stated that after a 30 or 40 mile run, he will use CBD compounds to help calm down his legs and stop the throbbing and pounding, allowing his legs to recover faster.

Doctors Agree Weed Should Be Considered As Possible Recovery Treatment

Use Cannabis To Boost Athletic Performance and RecoveryAccording to Suzanne Sisley, M.D., an Arizona-based psychiatrist and physician linked to the group Doctors for Cannabis Regulation, many athletes - including those in the NFL or NBA - are learning about the potential therapeutic effect of marijuana, and they are teaching each other how to use it. 

Other health experts have noted the safety of marijuana when compared to other pain-relieving drugs, such as Vicodin and opioids, which are commonly used when an athlete gets injured or in a serious accident. 

Although CBD is not legal in the UFC, it’s becoming an increasingly popular way for fighters to avoid prescription pain pills. UFC fighter Nate Diaz even uses it to treat symptoms of concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which is a progressive disease that may occur due to several repeated blows to the head. 

Diaz noted that CBD helps him with the healing and inflammation process. He stated that smoking a CBD-loaded vape pen helps make his life a better place before and after fights and training. The bottom line is that more research needs to be done on the impact of using weed if you’re an athlete, and how professional organizations might regulate the plant in the future. Fortunately, it looks like research initiatives are already getting underway. In 2019, Aurora Cannabis teamed up with UFC to develop clinical research on CBD, athlete wellness and recovery, and other research is sure to come. Expect to see more studies unfolding in this space soon.