Cannabis and exercise are not two things that you would usually consider to go hand in hand. But more and more people are advocating using marijuana when it comes to their workout regime. And even more unusually, professional athletes believe it can really help with their performance. So how can it assist with your workout? Here we take a look at the suggested benefits of including cannabis in your exercise regimen.
You Might Be Able To Focus Better On Your Training With CBD
Depending on which strain you use (whether it is indica or sativa), cannabis can have some great benefits to your training. It has been cited as assisting with improved focus, endurance, performance, and reduced soreness. However, a lot of this can be to do with CBD’s ability to reduce inflammation. Dr. June Chin, who is an integrated cannabis physician at MedLeaf RX, says it may simply reduce inflammation. So it enables you to focus or work harder by soothing any annoying pain you have. And while different cannabis strains may produce different effects when it comes to working out, this hasn’t yet been proved.
Dr Chin says: “Strains are a widely used marketing term, but in the medical field, we refer to them as chemical-variants or chemovars. “Most chemovars of the cannabis plant are a combination of strains [called] sativa and indica. “A pure sativa or indica plant doesn’t exist, though there might be a sativa-dominant or indica-dominant strain. “Sometimes, people will use a more stimulating strain, and in marketing terms, sativa tends to be a little more energizing.” So when it comes to being energetic, you may find sativa-based strains are better suited for your training.
THC, the primary chemical compound in cannabis that makes you feel high, might not provide the benefits you need for a weight-lifting session. However CBD, and CBD hemp oil products are more associated with healing properties so have a better capacity to be of benefit. So THC is not great if you are about to hit SoulCycle. CBD can help you remain alert. But if you are a yogi who wants to meditate and deepen your stretch, to could be a better bet.
This isn’t the first time cannabis has been linked to pain relief, which is essentially what enables you to work out harder and ignore those sore muscles. A 2016 study using rats found that CBD could be used help with arthritis pain and inflammation. And while that study was on rats, not people, a number of pro athletes stand by their CBD products and say they have enabled them to have improved performance on the field and court.
Cannabis Stimulates Feel-Good Receptors In The Brain
Researchers have discovered marijuana works on the same brain receptors as the body’s natural endocannabinoids. These are chemicals that act as mood-boosters. These work the same way as the endorphins produced during a workout and can give athletes a head start on achieving their natural “runner’s high.”
THC Can Help Expand Your Lungs
Studies on THC (the active ingredient found in the highest concentrations in many marijuana strains that gives you the “high”) have revealed that it produces bronchodilative effects. This means you get increased airflow as a result of consuming marijuana. So with what is essentially a bigger lung capacity, you have the potential athletic advantage and can potentially boost your performance while exercising.
There Is A Suggestion Marijuana Can Help With Metabolism
There have been a number of studies, which look at the connection between cannabinoids, metabolism, and body weight. One discovered THCV can aid with insulin sensitivity in mice and this can create a body weight reduction. Another study found the obesity is lower in cannabis users than in those who abstain. Of course this doesn’t create any solid evidence cannabis can be used as a weight-loss supplement. A lot of strains of marijuana are incredibly low in THCV. But it definitely isn’t bad news!
According to a report by Frontiers of Public Health revealed in a recent study by the University of Colorado-Boulder, 8 out of 10 marijuana users in legal states take cannabis shortly before or after a workout. That’s two-thirds (67%) who said they used it both before and after exercise. About 600 cannabis users aged 21 and up living in California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington were questioned and those who used the drug an hour before working out and/or within four hours after breaking a sweat, reported getting 43 more minutes of exercise each week than the cannabis users who didn’t.
Senior author Angela Bryan, a professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and the Institute for Cognitive Science said in a statement about the report: “There is a stereotype that cannabis use leads people to be lazy and couch-locked and not physically active, but these data suggest that this is not the case.”
Cannabis and Exercise Research
Combined with this was 52% of those who worked cannabis into their exercise regimens said they were inspired to go harder in their exercise regime. Meanwhile, 70% said they enjoyed the workout more, while 78% believed it helped their recovery. The report didn’t record how much cannabis these exercisers were taking, or what form they ingested it in (i.e., smoking it, vaping it or consuming edibles). However, it is important to note the World Anti-Doping Agency has banned athletes from using cannabis. Why? Because of its potential to help with improved performance. There were also no questions about any injuries or downsides, which could have been experienced.
San Francisco-based DIAKADI trainer Zach Scioli has a different vision for his clients. Scioli told Esquire: “I have coached clients who’ve struggled with ADD/ADHD. They might be prescribed a Vyvanse or a Ritalin or some sort of pharmaceutical stimulant they were on for years and years.”
He added: “I’ve used sativas to coach them off those pharmaceutical drugs to the point where they use cannabis extracts infrequently than regularly depending on a pharmaceutical.”
Athletic Drug Testing
Marijuana is a particular concern for competitive athletes, as many of the organizations that govern competitions and events require participants to submit to drug testing. The World Doping Agency for example, drug tests Olympic athletes, Ultimate Fighting Championship competitors, and participants in other major sporting events around the world. CBD was removed from their list of prohibited substances in 2018. However, as of 2019, all other forms of cannabis are still banned
Intoxication And Injury
If you don’t manage your high carefully, it could result in injury. If you are taking any substance, which is having an altering effect on your body, you should be very careful about the dose and always consult a physician before taking cannabis or CBD as part of your workout. Be mindful if you are handling heavy weights, or pushing yourself physically, you could be putting yourself at risk.
Also remember cannabis can potentially increase your risk of heart attack in the hour after smoking it. This is because it raises heart rate and causes blood vessels to dilate. So if you have heart disease, it could put you at risk if you smoke or ingest it before working out.
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