Is Cannabis and Sport a Smart Combination?

Photo: Diyahna Lewis - Unsplash

Weed, cannabis, marijuana, pot — whatever people call it, Cannabis Sativa is a hot topic in wellness, sport, and the medical community. While cannabis has long been here, this substance gained popularity only during the last few years. Even though marijuana is mostly known for its high and euphoric effects, it may also be beneficial to both health and wellness.

That is why doctors and professional athletes consider cannabis as a natural way to soothe symptoms of several health diseases and boost athletic performance. However, it is worth noting that cannabis is still considered a drug in most countries, though some legalize its use for medical purposes and sports if rules are met. 

Proponents report that cannabis has helped many patients with various ailments, but more research is needed to explore how cannabis can help them achieve sports goals. Even though an increasing number of state and federal governments have legalized cannabis, THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid, is still listed as a Schedule I substance under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act. 

So in order to explore whether cannabis and sport are an effective combination, you need to first learn how cannabis works, what elements are legal, and what are beneficial for sport and wellness. Let’s dive into the topic. 

Effects of Cannabinoids

The most abundant cannabinoid in cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the intoxicating compound responsible for making smokers high and is usually associated with marijuana consumption. However, several cannabis strains high in THC , like the Lilac Diesel strain, have also been shown to treat and soothe symptoms of some health conditions. 

CBD, or cannabidiol, is the second cannabinoid that attracts lots of attention and doesn’t have any psychoactive properties. CBD is safe and non-addictive, which has also been shown to positively affect ECS and wellness. That is why CBD is found in many supplements that can help people achieve homeostasis and boost physical performance.

There are also many other compounds in cannabis, including over 100 cannabinoids, terpenes (aromatic molecules), flavonoids, plant oils, and much more. When all elements of the plant work together, they contribute to the entourage effect, which is an amplified action.

How Cannabis Works in the Body

Our bodies have an internal system that affects many bodily functions. It is known as the endocannabinoid system, or ECS for short. ECS represents a vast network of receptors in the central and peripheral nervous systems that is responsible for keeping many bodily functions in check, like sleep, temperature, inflammatory responses, metabolism, and appetite. Once consumed, cannabis compounds interact with the ECS through two types of receptors:

  • CB1 Receptors – These receptors are located primarily in the brain and central nervous system, taking part in regulating learning, memory, pain perception, and appetite.
  • CB2 Receptors – These receptors are found in peripheral cells, acting as a “traffic cop” of sorts for information that flows to and from the bones, muscles, skin, cardiovascular system, as well as the immune system. This helps it to maintain inner balance in the body. 

Molecules that stimulate these receptors are known as endocannabinoids and are produced naturally by our bodies every single day. This usually happens when we exercise, allowing for the release of endocannabinoids that are not endorphins, as was once believed. 

Can Cannabis be Beneficial to Athletes?

Since you now know what cannabis is and how it works, it is time to verify whether this plant can benefit athletes and sports people or not. The answer depends on the product. It is worth noting that cannabis contains both THC and CBD, where THC is on the list of drugs and is prohibited in sports. Therefore, anyone who may have to pass a drug test should avoid THC in their system. 

Nevertheless, CBD and its supplements containing CBD isolate are an excellent choice for sports performance. CBD isolate is a type of CBD oil that contains up to 99% pure cannabidiol and no THC traces, making this option safe for consumers who want to boost athletic performance with no side effects of THC.

There are many supplements infused with CBD that are developed for sports people. These include CBD oil, capsules, gummies, and even topicals like creams and balms. CBD not only may help establish inner balance but also boost concentration, and focus, increase strength, stabilize mood, and other benefits that allow athletes to achieve their goals. In addition, CBD topicals may help soothe pain and aches after exercises, speeding up recovery.

Final Thoughts

Cannabis is a plant that has gained immense popularity within wellness, medical and sports communities. That is because cannabis can both deliver psychoactive effects and medical properties depending on cannabinoid content and uses. Some also believe that cannabis can bring many benefits to athletes. Even though more research is needed, here we explained how cannabis and its type can support sports people and help them achieve goals.



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