Professional athletes in greater numbers are speaking out support of cannabis as a healthier alternative to opiates for addressing the pain and injury that comes with the job. This candor has gone a long way towards increasing awareness about cannabis’ effectiveness for exercise, and we’re seeing more events like ganja yoga and the annual 420 Games go a long way to educate people about integrating cannabis into their fitness regimes while eradicating old lazy stoner stigmas. Even I take occasionally take CBD to power through my exercise.
At the heart of the ongoing debate between current and former NBA and NFL players and the sports organizations that employ them is weed’s ability to provide therapeutic benefits without the risk of harmful side effects or overdose. If you’re looking to better understand why, check out these 3 ways cannabis can help with exercise and sports-related pain and injury.
1. THC and CBD reduce pain and Inflammation
Former tight end for the Dallas Cowboys Martellus Bennett estimated that about “89 percent” of NFL players smoke cannabis, adding, “…there’s times of the year where your body just hurts so bad, that you don’t want to just be popping pills all the time…It ruins your liver.” One of our favorite Instagrammers, retired NBA player John Salley, echoed that sentiment when he told High Times, “I was taking eight to twelve Advil a day for nine years. Can you imagine how my liver and kidneys looked like then?” Now an industry entrepreneur and wellness advocate, Salley says, “Cannabis changed my life, and I know it will change a lot of other people’s lives as well.”
For some athletes, having a joint, eating an edible or applying a topical before or after a workout or game can help mitigate discomfort and promote healing from an injury. This works because the cannabinoids in cannabis interact with the body’s endocannabinoid receptors to establish what’s known as homeostatis – basically, a stable internal environment – in reaction to what’s happening externally. THC (which is psychoactive) and CBD (which is not), while each effective on their own, work even better in cooperation with each other and the over 100 additional cannabinoids when it comes to addressing pain and inflammation.
2. Cannabis helps improve focus and endurance
CBD and cannabis strains that provide uplift, increase focus and boost energy enable athletes to hone in more on their workouts and test the limits of their endurance. Taking a dose of CBD tincture or a puff from a sativa-dominant pre-roll before exercising or performing fosters deeper concentration on the activity, allowing you to push into the background everything from distracting thoughts to the pain from sore muscles. Not only that, THC’s euphoric ways can help enhance the experience overall, making those planks and crunches much more bearable.
3. Cannabis can bolster recovery time
After a game or workout session ends, the aches are often just getting started. Consuming cannabis after rigorous exercise helps address that pain thanks to the anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and analgesic properties present in CBD and THC. An indica-dominant flower, vape or edible can take things further by relaxing the body and bringing on sleep, which is exactly what the muscles need to grow and recover.
Things to Keep in Mind
Because we all have different lifestyles, diets, tolerance levels, and body types, no two people react the same way to the same cannabis strain or product, which is why it’s important for athletes to play around and find out what works best for them. Some things to consider include…
* THC helps with pain, but can also bring on anxiety and paranoia. CBD counteracts the effects of THC while also addressing pain, so consider having some handy or trying a product, like a tincture, containing a higher ratio of CBD to THC.
* Be mindful of the strain. Use what we know about cannabis strains to your advantage. Sativa is stimulating and energizing, which is why it’s best before and during a workout. Indica is relaxing and sedative, making it perfect for post-game decompression and rest.
* Method of consumption matters. Because smoking can negatively impact the lungs and edibles have a tendency to be high in fat and sugar, ingesting cannabis via these methods may be counterproductive. Consider vaping, taking capsules or making your own edibles instead.
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