Just like there’s no science that’s a one-size-fits-all in how the body will react to medicine or food, the same holds true with cannabis. Personal biochemistry plays a role in how anything makes us feel, especially weed and it doesn’t matter which delivery system either. People and the effects that marijuana can bring will differ. But for those of us who want to take our athleticism to a higher level, pun intended, many are turning to weed to enhance performance of the body. The reasons are many.
Ask the Health Experts and the Answers Are Skewed
Perspectives are varied on the merits or detriments of a weed-infused workout. Traditional medical practitioners will focus on the increased heart rate, lack of focus and lethargy often associated with pot smoking as reasons to refrain from use before hitting the gym or a nearby running trail. Others will caution about popping a gummy or square of chocolate before suiting up to cycle 100 miles on the asphalt. More than the old school fears based on the Schedule 1 classification (when will they ever change that) there is a cause-and-effect phenomenon that really should be considered in blending physical performance and bud.
Sports Performance Goals Will Dictate the Cannabis Strain
Endurance athletes go through different challenges compared to typical gym rats and the requirements from the body and mind will also vary. What is of great importance is how the body naturally reacts to these workouts or races, and whether cannabis in any form would provide benefit or induce harm.
To properly assess the value of adding weed to a training session or race, for example, refer to the following characteristics and check off what you need for the optimal exercise experience, without the marijuana enhancement.
Sports Performance Goals
- Muscle Building
Most exercise regimens entail a combination of the goals listed above but consider what’s most important to you. Based on what your core goal is, the decision to include cannabis as part of a pre-workout, quick pick-me-up during or post workout regimen should be self-evident. If not, here’s a little more information that might help define an answer.
Why Endocannabinoids May Not Be Enough to Fuel through Pain
The human body has its own system for dealing with pain, known as the endocannabinoid system. Not only does this complex system help us deal with pain but it affects our ability to:
- Remember things that happen to us (memory)
- Feel happy, sad or indifferent (mood)
- Refrain from overeating or overindulgence in general (appetite)
When you consider all the ways that our endocannabinoids can enhance or adversely affect our decision-making and livelihood, adding to our natural state of endocannabinoids should be considered with care. When the body works efficiently, it will generate the level of endocannabinoids needed to combat the pain of a workout or training session. In this instance, this is how endurance athletes will feel that “high” from the exertion — it’s the endocannabinoids that create a response much like CBD and THC. It would stand to reason that perhaps more of that is better.
If endocannabinoids were enough on their own, there would be no need for massage, ice packs, heating pads, saunas, Jacuzzis and for that matter, prescription opioids that are meant to take the pain away and ready for the next workout.
To use cannabis or not for sports performance and heightened enjoyment? The answer lies in a combination of your sport of choice, core goal and choosing the right cannabis strain.
No Strain No Gain
The use of marijuana has been known to help athletes plow through rehabilitation after injury as well as making it through a grueling race. Whether there to numb the pain or reduce inflammation, topical products made from cannabis provide relief – and you don’t have to be a professional athlete to benefit from it.
But there are other aspects of athleticism that should be brought to light that have everything to do with behavioral health.
Focus, ADHD and Professional Sports
If you or anyone you know has ADHD or ADD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) focus is the focal point of concern. People with this condition find trouble in listening, following tasks and sticking with a direction or specific plan. Many are given prescription medications that wreck the trueness of their authentic self, reducing their spirit and putting a shadow on who they are and how they were meant to shine.
It turns out that the rate of professional athletes who have ADHD is double that of the general population. In fact 10 percent of these athletes (reported, diagnosed) have ADHD and sports is their saving grace. So how do these athletes with focusing abilities focus on their craft?
People with ADHD have a superior ability to focus on what they’re interested in. What is a bigger challenge is in staying focused without getting derailed by distractions.
High-end medical cannabis can help fight off these distractions, through specific strains meant to enhance focus for a longer period of time, which are far different than what would be prescribed for sore muscles.
Energy Boosters Happen with Bud
A common issue during an endurance training sesh or intense miler race is curbing muscle fatigue and mental exhaustion. Many athletes will use a go-to like goo or gummy bears for a quick burst of energy to get them past that temporary hurdle.
Bud can offer the relief that will surpass those sugary favs. Many runners will abstain from smoking or vaping as either can compromise lung efficiency. What they will turn to is edibles before or during their run to extend the high that their body will naturally provide and enhance the experience so they can “go the distance” with enjoyment and heighten their perception of time while increasing energy and stamina.
Because the effects of edibles are not set in stone due to dosing variables, it is recommended to start with a small dosage (5 to 10mg) to test how it feels and the way your mind, body and spirit react. In addition, the use of cannabis during a workout may dull your senses and your sensibilities. For this reason, we recommend that you stick with a tried and true routine while using marijuana during exercise. That way, you can enjoy the ride without biting off more than you can chew.