The World Anti-Doping Agency prohibits the use of cannabis by athletes. But is there evidence that it makes athletes faster or stronger? 

Some athletes claim this to be accurate; however, many aren’t allowed to compete after testing positive for cannabis. The prohibition ignites the debate on whether and how marijuana affects athletic performance. 

Scientists argue weed has the same effects on the lungs as tobacco, which can hamper an athlete’s ability to exercise. On the other hand, some fitness gurus laud marijuana’s wellness benefits.

To avoid trouble, many sportspeople only enjoy marijuana during the off-season. Some even have their own garden where they cultivate popular strains like Crystal Pinkman cannabis seeds.

So, how does smoking weed affect athletes? Discover more below.

Does Smoking Weed Affect Athletic Performance? 

Pro-cannabis athletes may report several benefits from indulging in the herb. However, there are also potential risks. Users claim that the advantages outweigh the negative if you stick to moderate doses. 

Some of the most common advantages include:

Improved Sleep

Sleep has general benefits and is vital for fitness. But, how does cannabis affect it?

The THC compound in weed reportedly improves the quality of your slumber. The herb helps suppress dreams, and some tokers report that it also benefits people with sleep apnea. Some may use weed as an alternative to prescription sleeping pills or anti-anxiety drugs.

Users need to moderate their doses carefully because there may be slight side effects if used in excess. A little THC before bed can be helpful, but overindulging may affect your memory the following day or make you feel sleepier in the morning. 

Assistance With Muscle Spasms 

Another way marijuana and sports performance may be related is with injury treatments. Users claim that it has a soothing effect and assists with muscle spasms. It’s a common issue for athletes, especially during intense training.

Cannabis reportedly has anti-inflammatory properties for various forms of pain and muscle recovery. Evidence is anecdotal, but users assert they can feel the difference when using marijuana products.

Reduce Inflammation

Athletes claim that cannabis eases joint inflammation. Some studies report that non-psychoactive CBD helps deal with the issue. Some athletes even use marijuana for more severe problems such as a ruptured Achilles tendon. 

People who don’t want to smoke it can opt for alternatives such as topical products. Tinctures typically come in highly concentrated doses, and a popular option among athletes is CBD lotion.

Weight Loss

Does cannabis help you to become thinner?

Some users report that smoking weed makes you skinny! Weight gain can hamper an athlete’s performance. A sports person must strike a balance between a proper diet, exercise, and maintaining body weight. 

But, does weed affect workouts by reducing weight?

Some claims support this idea, but there isn’t adequate scientific evidence. Existing anecdotal research shows how cannabis can affect your metabolism, appetite, and overall weight. 

For instance, a study conducted in 2011 shows a correlation between weed and weight loss. People who consume marijuana at least three times a week are less likely to become obese. 

Mental Health

Some athletes and mental health experts argue that weed increases your focus. They also claim that smoking weed can help reduce your anxiety, enabling you to concentrate on the exercise. 

It can also get you into a meditative state, which some sports enthusiasts claim is crucial for athletic success. There are also reports of the herb washing away stress and inducing relaxation, which is essential after a long workout.

Alleviating Pain 

Physical exercises sometimes result in painful muscle and joint injuries. Besides its anti-inflammatory properties, athletes report that cannabis has a soothing effect. It helps users deal with pain.

An athlete can opt for CBD oil or other high-grade THC concentrates as a choice for alleviating pain. Medical users sometimes prefer marijuana to opiates. 

While pharmaceuticals help, weed is an additional measure many use to facilitate healing. Some athletes even make their own ointments from buds they cultivate at home. 

They keep track of their marijuana plants in special diaries for weed growers. Once they harvest their nugs, they turn them into soothing creams and other topicals.

Potential Side Effects

Does weed hurt athletic performance?

Marijuana use may have certain adverse effects. If you smoke it, you can cause damage to your lungs, just like with cigarettes. Cannabis can also be carcinogenic due to toxins and other contaminants such as pesticides.

Overindulging in cannabis can also impair your motor skills, coordination, and decision-making skills.

Is weed healthy for athletes?

Cannabis use can have benefits, but certain health risks are associated with the herb. Heavy usage can trigger certain disorders like depression and anxiety. Reduce your risk by taking small doses until you know how it affects you. 

Should an Athlete Use Cannabis?

Does smoking weed affect athletic performance?

Yes, cannabis can positively and negatively affect your athletic performance. Benefits include motivation and focus as well as reported pain-relieving qualities.

On the other hand, consuming too much could result in adverse effects. It’s important to start with small doses and see how you feel. Adjust it gradually until you find the amount that suits you. 

Curious about how weed will impact your performance? Decide for yourself with a low dose of premium cannabis.

Kyle Kushman

Kyle Kushman is an American writer, educator, activist and award-winning cannabis cultivator and breeder specializing in veganic cultivation. He is a representative of Homegrown Cannabis CO company, has been a contributor for over 20 years, and has taught courses in advanced horticulture at Oaksterdam University in Oakland, California and across the United States. Kushman also hosts a cannabis podcast called “The Grow Show with Kyle Kushman”.

Featured image from: Medical Marijuana, Inc.


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