For most people, marijuana and athletic performance are two words you wouldn’t normally expect to see in the same sentence; however, growing research suggests there may be more of a link between the two than first suspected.
While it’s easy to conclude that CBD for athletes is detrimental to sporting performance, it’s important to point out that the World Anti-Doping Agency has listed the plant as a prohibited substance as “cannabis can be performance-enhancing for some athletes and sports disciplines.”
Not only that, but since the recent legalization of marijuana across multiple US states, several cannabis industries have emerged that solely focus on improving athletic performance and recovery. Let’s take a look at the details.
Effects of Marijuana on Athletes
Here are some of the known effects of CBD for athletes, both during and after exercise:
One of the key effects of CBD for athletes is their ability to reduce inflammation during and after exercise. In the cannabis plant, there are hundreds of different chemical compounds that interact with our endocannabinoid system when they enter the body. One of the most prevalent active compounds in the plant is cannabidiol (CBD).
CBD binds to the receptors known to mediate the inflammatory response, which is great for athletes looking to stay on top of their game. Reducing inflation drastically decreases recovery time and speeds up the recovery process after sustaining an injury.
Eases pain and soreness
CBD and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are the two main active ingredients in the cannabis plant. THC is the compound responsible for creating the psychoactive experience that makes you feel “high.” However, both of these compounds are well known for their pain-relieving properties.
THC and CBD activate certain cannabinoid receptors in the nerve cells, which reduce the sensation of pain. This is one of the most beneficial effects of marijuana on athletes as it allows them to sustain intense levels of training for longer and makes it easier to deal with recovery.
Improved sleep is another one of the major effects of weed on athletes. As most people are aware, sleep is a major factor in our overall mental and physical wellbeing, and it also plays a significant role in athletic recovery and protein synthesis.
Deeper, longer sleep is linked to improved strength and faster reaction times, which is why CBD for athletes has become a significant product in the last few years.
Generates more focus
Lastly, marijuana has been reported by many athletes to improve focus, reduce anxiety, and reach a state of increased concentration on game day. This is extremely useful in precision sports that require extra focus and control over fine motor skills.
How to Use Marijuana for Athletic Performance
Did you know that 67% of American cannabis users consume cannabis for workouts? Whether it’s to help push through the pain barrier, reduce inflammation, or simply achieve a higher state of focus and concentration during workouts, there are many reasons why you should follow suit, but what is the best way to consume it?
Firstly, it all depends on your goals. Do you want to take CBD for athletic performance, or are you more interested in THC to help you achieve a deeper sleep? Keep in mind what you want to achieve so you can choose the right product for your needs. Here are a few of the most common methods athletes use:
- Edibles before/after a workout
- CBD/THC vapes for post-workout recovery
- THC supplements for improves sleep
- CBD tinctures and oils
- Topical lotions to apply to injured/inflamed areas
- Smoking pure bud (less common due to risk of lung damage)
However, while all of these methods are great options, you should be aware that some sporting bodies have placed marijuana on the doping list, which means you could face disqualification and penalties if you test positive for the drug. To avoid this, you should consider taking a marijuana detox to ensure the compounds are out of your system.
Marijuana stays in your blood and urine for around three days (depending on usage), and it can be detected in your hair for up to 90 days after consumption.
How Much CBD Do Athletes Need?
Recommended dosages of CBD for athletes vary a lot and it depends on which type of product is used, but to determine your sensitivity, it is smart to start with small doses. According to science, it is recommended for athletes to take approximately 300 milligrams orally. It is a common dose for athletes to take CBD.
Is CBD Allowed in Professional Sports?
As cannabis is still illegal on a federal level in the USA, the amount of scientific research on its effects remains relatively thin. With that said, there are still many studies that vouch for the benefits we have listed earlier, as well as many testimonials and anecdotal reports from high-profile sports stars.
One notable example is UFC star Nate Diaz after his record-breaking bout with Conor McGregor. After the fight, he arrived at the press conference vaping CBD in order to help ease his pain and reduce the inflammation from his heavy injuries. When quizzed about why he was vaping the substance, Diaz replied:
“You want to get this (CBD) before or after the fight, in training, to make your life a better place.”
In fact, Nate and his brother Nick have now launched their very own company selling CBD for athletes. They focus on high-quality products designed to help with athletic performance and recovery.
Recommended Marijuana Strains for Athletes
Head down to your local marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles to check out the vast amounts of strains available to you. Just keep in mind what your desired outcome is, as you may be better off opting for a strain that is higher in CBD than THC and vice versa.
In general, it’s advised to look for strains that are good for chronic pain, inflammation, sleep and reduce muscle spasms such as OG Kush, Durban Poison, Bubba Kush, and Sour Diesel.