Top 5 Ways Cannabis Improves Athletic Performance

A lot has changed since Ross Rebagliati’s legendary performance at the 1998 Winter Olympics. After winning gold for Canada in the first-ever Olympic snowboarding event, the Vancouver-born athlete was then stripped of his medal when he tested positive for THC, the psychoactive element in cannabis. 

Fast-forward to today, and the idea of cannabis as a performance enhancer is no longer a joke. Studies indicate that it can, and often does, improve an athlete’s performance. There are different cannabis strains, each with varying levels of THC. THC refers to the chemical component that determines how one becomes high after consuming cannabis. Although the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) prohibits the use of cannabis during competitions, it allows athletes to use it days before or after a competition. Below, we list five ways in which cannabis can improve your performance as an athlete:

1. Improves REM Sleep

The cannabis plant has been used for centuries as a sleep aid. Contemporary scientific research has measured what people have known and experienced since ancient times: cannabis has relaxing, sedative effects. In particular, cannabis makes falling asleep easier. One recent study found that cannabis shortens the time it takes to fall asleep, both for people with sleep problems and people who fall asleep without trouble. Among people with active difficulty falling asleep, cannabis use resulted in an average of 30 minutes less time in falling asleep. The study also included a group of people who were able to fall asleep without difficulty. Among this group of strong sleepers, cannabis helped them fall asleep even faster, by 15 minutes. 

When the body is relaxed, anxiety levels also go down. Therefore, you don’t have to wake up in between your sleep to think about an upcoming sports competition. During this period, the body gets rejuvenated and gets rid of toxic substances. Thus, you wake up feeling fresher and ready for the challenge ahead.

2. Reduces Pain Caused by Inflammation

Not only is chronic inflammation associated with a host of very serious and deadly diseases, but new studies have found that unnecessary inflammation plays a part in many common day-to-day ailments that lower quality of life and contribute to pain, illness, and suffering. Cannabis acts as a painkiller to the muscles. Taking it after an exercise makes the muscles relaxed. The anti-inflammatory property of marijuana plants eases the pain in the joints. Therefore, you can exercise for long periods without feeling drained. Painkillers can fail to work at times, leaving cannabis as an ideal option.

3. Enhances Weight Loss

Just as CBD and THC have different effects, so too do other cannabinoids. While THC and CBD are more common than other cannabinoids, the effects of the lesser-known cannabinoids could be just as important when it comes to weight loss. Some studies suggest tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) could play a role in regulating blood sugar. Blood sugar levels affect the experience of hunger. High blood sugar suppresses the appetite, while low blood sugar promotes hunger. Low blood sugar also leads people to make poorer nutritional choices, such as picking a donut over a piece of fruit. A study carried out in 2011 showed that people who used cannabis were three times less likely to become obese. Athletes who consume cannabis are more likely to shed weight than those who don`t.

4. Improves Lung Capacity

Cannabis increases air flow to the lungs. Thus, athletes who consume cannabis have more air flow into the lungs. Therefore, you can carry out very demanding exercises for a long time without getting fatigued. Exercising more gives your body the ability to take part in rigorous competitions without having breathing difficulties. Therefore, ensure that you take a small dose of weed if you struggle to breathe.

5. Helps in Recovery

Studies have shown that athletes who consume marijuana heal faster than those who don’t. During training or a competition, you are likely to get injured. When you take marijuana during the healing process, your recovery process is improved. According to Erich Anderer, a chief neurosurgeon, cannabis reduces muscle spasms. If you find yourself struggling to heal, try using cannabis.