Several links have been discovered between cannabis and sports. The positive effects of this plant have aroused the interest of the sports world. The classic stereotype of the cannabis user is a person lying on the couch all day eating pizza, despite the fact that this image is continually being challenged thanks to the progress of cannabis culture and scientific research. Let’s look at the relationship between the athlete and cannabis, and how it affects performance.
Let’s start with the legendary Michael Phelps. With 23 gold medals, Phelps broke the world record at the Olympic Games. As many of you already know, 3 months after the Beijing Olympics, someone took a photo of him using a bong, which caused a lot of controversy; a world famous athlete using drugs. Phelps apologized for the incident, but that event meant a lot more to the world of cannabis than we realised; how can a gold medalist consume weed? Isn’t it bad for sports performance? As Phelps has shown, apparently not. Keep in mind that Phelps is not an activist in favor of the legalization of cannabis, but the truth about what Phelps smokes or quits, no longer matters. What is important is the effect that the bong “incident” had on the world of sports and marijuana.
Many athletes claim that marijuana helps fight pain, improves concentration, facilitates recovery, reduces anxiety, and makes exercise less boring. Science has shown that cannabis is linked to a lower BMI, which is critical for many sporting activities (though perhaps not sumo). Adequate sleep is essential for athletes to be alert during the day, and for the body to recover at night. Several studies link marijuana to a good night’s sleep, so weed may be beneficial for athletes. THC has also been shown to cause bronchodilation, which improves airflow in the lungs of the cannabis-using athlete. The analgesic properties of marijuana have helped and improved the performance of many athletes. Due to the opioid crisis in contact sports, cannabis could replace opioids as a healthier alternative. Triathlete Cliff Drusinsky uses cannabis to stay focused, and applies a CBD oil-based topical to his muscles to aid the recovery process. Marijuana appears to provide numerous health and performance benefits for athletes.
The aforementioned studies show that cannabis is very beneficial for athletes and physical exercise in general. Keep in mind that the different varieties of marijuana differ in their chemical composition, which consists of hundreds of compounds. The Sativa genetics create a more uplifting sensation that could stimulate exercise, while the Indica genetics are used to relax the muscles and wind down. The dose is very important; if you consume too much, you can fall asleep, something we don’t want to happen during a workout. So be careful about the dose of marijuana you take before going to the gym.
In the US, the use of cannabis for athletic purposes does not fall within the scope of medical treatment, and is still taboo in the world of sports. Although things appear to be moving forward on the issue of cannabis legality, the DEA recently classified CBD oil as a Schedule I substance, along with heroin. We still have a long way to go.
It is important to end the stoner stereotype and see cannabis for what it is: a chemical compound with beneficial properties for humans. Let’s focus on paving the way for science to carry out studies on the effects of marijuana and its consumption in order to improve exercise and sports, among other activities. In the meantime, if you don’t feel any ill effects from marijuana during exercise, keep working those muscles!