The Effects of Cannabis on Athletic Performance

The effects of cannabis on athletic performance

There’s a growing number of athletes, including professional sportsmen, who are mixing weed with their workouts to help them achieve greater endurance, speed or relaxation. Research is now aimed at finding out just how cannabis influences physical performance, and whether or not it enhances or hinders it.

There’s some evidence that cannabis can improve athletic performance, but there’s also a lot of confusion surrounding it. In this article, we’ll look at what researchers are finding so far and what more they need to know about the effects of cannabis on athletic performance.

Increased Endurance

There is growing interest in the potential of cannabis (marijuana) to affect athletic performance. This is due in part to its widespread use and recreational popularity in the United States, as well as the discovery of the human endocannabinoid system. However, there is a lack of comprehensive research into this topic. The paucity of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in the sports field that address whole plant and/or separate THC and CBD intake, along with their subsequent impact on exercise performance and recovery specific outcomes, leaves an important vacuum in the literature.

Historically, investigations into the effects of cannabis on exercise have focused on understanding exercise safety rather than exercise performance. These investigations typically employed clinical populations and were performed 3 to 4 decades ago, when the drug was illegal and not widely used in competitive sports.

Early investigations into the effect of cannabis on cardiovascular function tended to report alterations in heart rate (HR) and blood pressure during submaximal exercise. This effect can be attributed to the fact that cannabis alters myocardial oxygen supply-demand relationships. This can result in a decrease in the ability to maintain peak exercise capacity, especially during cycling.

While this has a direct impact on performance, it also has the potential to interfere with exercise recovery and/or lead to serious cardiovascular events, both of which have been linked to chronic cannabis consumption in other settings. It is therefore important that future studies examine these effects with an emphasis on cardiovascular fitness and recovery, to determine whether they have any significant impact on athletic performance.

One of the most common reports from athletes is that cannabis helps them to maintain a high energy state during their workouts, and can help them stay focused and motivated during their training. In addition, it can help alleviate pain caused by muscle soreness or inflammation after an intense session of training.

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Another possible benefit of cannabis is that it can boost respiratory function, which may improve your ability to work out harder and longer without getting tired. This is particularly important for endurance athletes, who are often at risk of developing asthma and lung disease. THC has been found to have a bronchodilator effect, which can be beneficial for asthma patients who struggle to breathe at high intensities of exercise.

Increased Speed

Despite widespread unscientific reports of athletes using cannabis while performing various sports, no scientific study has found that it can enhance athletic performance. But the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has long ruled that marijuana use is prohibited for competitors. It’s even stood by the decision of rising star Sha’Carri Richardson, who was unable to compete in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics because of a positive cannabis test.

The primary psychoactive compound in cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which collaborates with its fellow cannabinoids to trigger receptors in the brain’s endocannabinoid system. This is a system that interacts with the body’s central nervous system and has been linked to numerous positive effects, including increased motivation, enjoyment and relaxation.

However, THC is also a known sedative and can negatively impact physical performance. It can cause muscle spasms and nausea, which may hinder an athlete’s ability to focus on the task at hand.

This is one of the main concerns with the rise in recreational marijuana use. The drug contains a high amount of tetrahydrocannabinol, which can impair motor speed and balance, making it dangerous for drivers and other users.

It’s also a common concern with concentrated cannabis, which is the highest-potency form of the drug. The concentration of THC in this form can range from 15% to 90%.

Increasingly, people are turning to cannabis concentrates to get the same effects as smoking marijuana. They can be smoked in a variety of ways, including hand-rolled cigarettes (joints), pipes or bongs and vape pens.

Although the use of concentrates has spiked, there is still no research on how they affect motor performance. In this study, researchers used a battery of simple motor tasks to investigate the effects of cannabis concentrate on basic movement speed and balance.

The results showed that cannabis concentrate decreased limb speed with arm and leg peak acceleration slowing by 16 and 7%, respectively. It also impaired balance both with eyes open and closed. It affected performance similarly in men and women, but the impairment was only weakly correlated with changes in plasma THC levels.

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This study is important because it shows that a naturalistic use of cannabis concentrates impairs some basic features of motor performance, including limb speed and balance. These findings are critical for understanding the effects of cannabis concentrate use on driving ability and suggest that a more accurate test of impairment may be required.

Reduced Pain

In the world of competitive sports, athletes often take cannabis to help them with recovery and reduce pain. Among the most famous athletes who use marijuana to boost their performance are swimmer Michael Phelps and Olympic medalist Adam Rippon. But the drug is also used by athletes in other fields, from football players to cross-country skiers.

Studies show that marijuana can help alleviate pain from sports injuries and stiff joints. It is believed that the compound binds to cannabinoid receptors in the body, which stimulate the brain’s reward system and reduce pain levels.

It has also been suggested that THC, the main psychoactive component of cannabis, may improve athletic performance by increasing the body’s tolerance to pain and by reducing inflammation in the muscles. However, more research is needed to determine the effects of marijuana on exercise performance.

THC is the most well-known cannabinoid, which binds to cannabinoid CB1 receptors. It causes a high that people call “getting stoned.” CBD, on the other hand, does not cause a high. It does, however, bind to cannabinoid CB2 receptors, which play a role in pain relief.

Several clinical trials have found that the pain-relieving effects of cannabis are stronger than placebo treatments. These clinical trials are all double-blind, meaning that the participants in the studies did not know which treatment they were receiving.

Researchers conducted the studies with a small group of people who were either recreational users or athletes who had been injured and were seeking alternative ways to relieve pain. They surveyed 1,450 people between the ages of 33 and 62, who had reported pain that met certain thresholds for relief.

The researchers compared the self-reported pain reduction between those who were given cannabis and those who received a placebo, which is a fake drug that looks and feels like the real thing. The researchers found that both treatments showed pain improvement, with the most dramatic reduction being seen in those who had been treated with cannabis for 45 days or longer.

There is a lot of interest in using marijuana to enhance performance and aid in recovery, but most of the studies so far have not been well-conducted. This is due to the complexities of marijuana and its various effects on an athlete’s body, so more research is needed to understand the potential impact that marijuana has on exercise performance.

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Increased Recovery

Athletes are increasingly using cannabis as a way to help manage pain and inflammation while working out. They are also turning to it as a natural alternative to pharmaceutical medications and anti-inflammatories, which can often have dangerous side effects.

A new study from the University of Colorado Boulder (CU) will examine how cannabis affects athletes’ motivation to train, as well as their performance during exercise. The SPACE study (Study on Physical Activity and Cannabis Effects) is set to launch in 2023 with more than 100 volunteers who have already used the plant while exercising.

The results from the new CU study will offer an important addition to the limited research into cannabis use during and after exercise. Researchers hope the study will reveal how cannabis interacts with the brain and nervous system to improve athletes’ mental performance.

Another potential effect of cannabis on exercise is increased blood flow, which can be a boon to endurance. In an experimental study, cyclists who used marijuana before a cycling workout had an increase in hemodynamic capacity, which allowed them to sustain more power output compared to control participants without weed. However, the effect was only measurable during rest and not at the high intensity levels that many athletes will face during their training or competition.

In a similar study, researchers found that patients with cardiovascular disease experienced a decreased recovery time after consuming cannabis. This decrease in recovery was a significant factor in their poor performance during exercise tests, demonstrating that chronic cannabis use might impact athletic performance in a manner not previously observed.

While there are no studies yet showing that cannabis can enhance athletes’ athletic performances, the substance does have a number of other positive benefits, including increased motivation and reduced anxiety. It is also known to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, which can be detrimental to sports performance.

Cannabis has been shown to be an effective treatment for anxiety and depression, and is a natural alternative to pharmaceutical medications that are commonly prescribed to athletes. It can also be useful for reducing pain and inflammation during exercise, and improving sleep patterns.

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