With the legalization of marijuana in several states of the USA, more and more people are developing the right kind of awareness about this plant.
Yes, even today, several myths and stigmas are associated with this compound, but things are slowly and steadily changing. The wellness spectrum of marijuana is spread out such that even yoga gurus and athletes are swearing by its benefits. Platforms like Veriheal have played a pivotal role in helping people procure medicinal marijuana to soak up its benefits.
But the question here is if marijuana, with its medicinal properties, can really help sportspersons boost their performance. Can it improve or inhibit performance? In what ways?
Let us find out below.
How does medical marijuana influence athletic performance?
- Ease inflammation – Medical marijuana research has mainly been focused on reducing pain and inflammation. And joint and muscle inflammation is an integral part of athletic training and activities. So experts feel that the non-psychoactive components of this wonder plant, marijuana, can help ease the effects of inflammation from the body. Athletes, yoga gurus, and researchers have observed the positive impact of medical marijuana in reducing various inflammations and healing their bodies. In case they have had to undergo surgeries or have experienced muscle injuries, medical marijuana can help in the faster recovery from inflammation of muscles and connective tissues.For athletes who do not wish to smoke or vape cannabis, they can use topical lotions, tinctures, or edibles, which are equally effective without the side effects of smoking. Notable athletes have also confirmed using CBD products to treat conditions such as Achilles tendon.
- Relieve pain and soreness – Along with reducing inflammation, cannabis is also used to treat joint and muscle pain. Several researchers have observed that medical marijuana has been capable of managing chronic pain, muscle spasms, acute pain, etc. Catering to traditional pain killer medicines like opioids to reduce pain and discomfort from the body does have undesirable side effects. These medications are quite strong and might harm the liver, kidney, and other organs of the human body. But medical marijuana-based products like CBD, on the other hand, are known to have lower or no side effects; and can be consumed for a prolonged period to ease out the pain.
- Manage muscle spasms – Medical marijuana has shown to offer great relief from muscle spasms in certain medical conditions. It has been used in treating muscle spasms experienced by individuals suffering from ailments like multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. There have been several studies conducted that suggest that due to the anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis, it can effectively help in reducing muscle spasms and aid muscle recovery for athletes as well. However, researchers are still working on experiments to confirm this matter.
- Improve the quality of sleep – One of the best things about medical marijuana is that it reduces insomnia and helps you have a good night’s sleep. Sleeping uninterrupted for eight to nine hours is one of the essential components for improving the performance of an athlete. Researchers claim that marijuana can help in easing out various sleep disorders and improve the quality of sleep as well. This, in turn, can reduce daytime fatigue, boost energy levels, and consequently improve an athlete’s performance.In fact, many scientists feel that medical marijuana can be used to replace the use of traditional sleep medication, which often becomes a hard-hitting habit and comes with many side effects. But it is essential to take the right blend of CBD and THC for improving sleep optimally and athletic performance on the next day. Ingesting THC at arbitrary doses can create a “high” that is undesirable for athletes and hard to manage; it can also cause a dizzy feeling throughout the following day, which can hamper performance.
- Boost mental acuity – In yesteryears, most people believed that using marijuana comes with a damaging effect on the human mind. However, recent studies have shown results that are quite the opposite! Researchers say that small and measured doses of THC can improve the brain’s cognitive function and capabilities, thereby helping athletes achieve better focus and ensure the calmness needed for an effective workout regularly. Cannabis has also been shown to improve focus and reduce anxiety to a great extent. Medical marijuana has also been shown to act as a catalyst to achieve the flow that one needs during meditation, which significantly improves an athlete’s performance.
Are there any risks of medical marijuana consumption?
It cannot be said that marijuana is safe and there are no drawbacks involved, for, along with all the benefits, medical marijuana has risks, too.
For instance, smoking marijuana can be harmful to the lungs of athletes. For sportspersons, it is essential to have healthy lungs for their overall impactful performance. So, needless to say, they should keep away from smoking. But they can always resort to other ways of marijuana consumption, like using topicals and CBD oils for better results.
With prolonged and heavy use of marijuana, there is an increased likelihood of chronic depression. It can cause a lack of motivation and increase cortisol level, resulting in weight gain, a weak immune system, fluctuations in blood sugar level, and gastrointestinal issues.
Medical marijuana has been observed to improve the overall athletic performance when taken in measured amounts and a controlled environment. But athletes must always consult their trainers and doctors before thinking about consuming marijuana to improve their performance.
Moreover, it is equally important to choose the right strain of medical marijuana for the best benefits and safety. It can help fight insomnia and offer the required motivation and energy to perform better at sports activities. Instead of smoking or vaping marijuana, if sportspersons opt for safer consumption methods, as mentioned before, they can expect to maximize the benefits and diminish the health risks.