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.