Cannabis (marijuana, hashish, and hash oil) is an herbal plant with various active ingredients. It can be used medicinally and recreationally, and is the second most common recreational drug in the world.
Athletes are known to use cannabis in a variety of ways, but it’s not clear whether marijuana has any direct impact on athletic performance.
1. Increased focus
If you’re looking for a way to increase your focus while doing physical activities, cannabis may be the answer. Not only does it reduce stress and anxiety, but it also elongates your attention span so you can concentrate longer on a task.
This is a great benefit for those with ADD or ADHD, as well as anyone who is struggling to focus on a specific task. Some studies have found that cannabis can actually help improve these conditions, while others have not.
In addition, people who are suffering from depression can also benefit from increased focus and concentration. This is because cannabis reduces stress and anxiety and produces dopamine. This dopamine can boost a person’s mood and energy levels, and help them feel more optimistic and motivated.
It’s also a great way to relax and unwind after a long day. This can make it easier to concentrate and study during the next day.
Another positive effect that cannabis has on a person’s mental state is that it promotes creativity and motivation. This can help a person brainstorm and come up with new ideas to solve problems, or even think outside the box.
However, research has shown that cannabis can cause cognitive impairment in people who are young or frequent users. This is especially true for those who are just starting to learn and are still developing their brains.
For example, children who have been exposed to cannabis early on in their lives are more likely to have thinner temporal and frontal cortices, areas of the brain that process memory function.
The negative effects of cannabis on a person’s memory are so significant that the National Institutes of Health has declared that marijuana should be avoided by children before the age of 15. This is because the brain continues to develop until age 25.
Those who are battling the effects of chronic pain can benefit from the enhanced focus that cannabis provides. The plant can help a person find relief from symptoms like pain, insomnia, nausea and fatigue.
Besides boosting focus, cannabis can also ease feelings of anxiety and stress, promoting relaxation and improving sleep. It is also a good alternative to sleeping pills and other prescription medications that can interfere with sleep patterns.
2. Pain relief
Pain is a common reason that people use cannabis, whether they are trying to treat chronic conditions or simply want to ease their daily discomfort. And it’s not unusual for athletes to incorporate weed into their workouts, either to help motivate them through a tough run or to relax muscles after intense exercise.
Several strains of marijuana have been found to be highly effective at relieving pain, especially for athletes. These strains typically have an equal balance of the two most common cannabinoids in cannabis, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). They also often contain the terpene caryophyllene, which has been shown to have pain-relieving effects.
The main difference between THC and CBD is that THC causes an intoxicating effect, while CBD doesn’t cause that “high.” Both of these cannabinoids act on certain cannabinoid receptors in the brain to help relieve pain, but the exact mechanism by which each one works isn’t completely understood.
However, it is possible that the pain-relieving properties of both THC and CBD may work synergistically to provide relief for athletes. THC can reduce inflammation, which is a common cause of muscle and joint pain for athletes.
There’s also evidence that cannabinoids can improve recovery after high-intensity exercise. It is also known to decrease lactic acid accumulation in muscles, which can result in muscle pain and fatigue.
In addition, both THC and CBD can have a positive impact on the body’s chemistry, which can lead to faster recovery times and increased muscle strength. This can also allow athletes to train harder for longer periods of time.
Many athletes who are unable to take opioids for chronic pain find that cannabis can be a more effective alternative, because it doesn’t have the same side effects. It can also be more cost-effective and easier to manage. In fact, some athletes report that they are able to reduce their daily dosages of opioids and other pain medications when using marijuana instead.
3. Muscle relaxation
While it is often thought of as a drug that can have euphoric or psychoactive effects, cannabis also has powerful muscle-relaxing properties. This is largely because of the active ingredients (or cannabinoids) that are present in cannabis. The most common cannabinoids found in cannabis are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
There have been many studies that have investigated the effect of marijuana on athletes’ performance, but those findings are still fairly preliminary. These studies typically used products that contain much lower levels of THC than the strains available today, Ogle explains. Moreover, the research was done in a non-athletic setting and with measurements using techniques that are not current standards.
The effects of cannabis on the body are a result of a complex series of reactions that occur between cannabinoids and receptors within the body’s nervous system. This can lead to positive or negative effects depending on the type of cannabinoid and how it’s ingested.
Muscle relaxation is one of the most beneficial effects of marijuana that athletes will experience. This is because cannabis can help the muscles relax and release their tension, which helps with recovery and can improve overall health.
To get the most out of this, you should practice progressive muscle relaxation (PMR). PMR is a process of tensing your muscles, then relaxing them and focusing on breathing during this time. It is a simple yet effective way to help relieve stress and tension in your body and it is a great way to increase your fitness level as well.
Once you have mastered the technique of PMR, you can use it when a physical ailment is causing tension or pain in your body. This can be particularly helpful if you are suffering from migraines, back pain or neck and shoulder pain.
The most important thing to remember when using cannabis for muscle relaxation is to use it in a safe manner. This means not consuming more than recommended amounts or taking it with another substance, such as alcohol. It is also important to use it in a place where you don’t have to worry about anyone else seeing you. In addition, be sure to check with a doctor if you are experiencing other medical conditions that may be affecting your ability to use cannabis safely.
4. Better sleep
One of the most common benefits of cannabis for athletes is its ability to improve sleep. Whether recreational or medical, about 70% of casual users and 85% of long-term users report that cannabis has helped them sleep better.
The reason for this is that marijuana interacts with the brain’s endocannabinoid system, which regulates pain, anxiety and other physiological processes. It also reduces stress, which helps the body relax and ease the effects of a night’s rest.
Moreover, CBD and THC, the two main cannabinoid compounds found in cannabis, have also been shown to induce sleep and increase deep, restorative sleep. In addition, they can help people with a variety of sleep disorders, including PTSD and snoring.
In fact, a recent study published in the journal Sleep Medicine Reviews shows that patients who used medical cannabis to treat their insomnia experienced significantly better sleep than those who didn’t. And they were also able to reduce and/or discontinue their prescription medication.
While a lot more research is needed to determine the exact relationship between cannabis and sleep, these findings are encouraging. They suggest that cannabis can be a viable and safe alternative to benzodiazepines, which are often prescribed as sleep aids but cause more side effects than they do benefit.
However, some research suggests that frequent use of THC or CBD may not help with sleep in the long term. It’s important to avoid prolonged THC use and always talk with a doctor before starting any new treatment.
Another potential sleep aid that’s gaining popularity is cannabis-based edibles. These can be consumed before bed, and can help you fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night without causing drowsiness or anxiety.
For the best results, try 2 to 3 milligrams of THC. That’s a low dose that won’t cause you to become too high, explains Dr. Caplan, who says you can gradually increase your dosage if you have trouble sleeping.
If you’re not sure what’s the right dose for you, ask your dispensary or a knowledgeable friend to guide you. For most people, a single dose of edibles is enough to produce a mildly euphoric effect that won’t keep you up or interfere with your sleep.