It is true that research on the medical benefits of cannabis (cannabinoids) is still in its early stages. But there’s enough evidence on record that the majority of states in the US allow for the use of medical marijuana. In fact, the indications are that cannabis can help treat a very long list of health conditions; and some physical activity.
So, it’s natural to wonder if it can help with athletic performance for cannabis users. Can it help you work out more effectively? Can you lift weights and run on marijuana and expect better performance? This is an ongoing debate that’s raging right now.
If you’re considering this option, you may want to take note of the following facts.
Part of the evidence that supports the theory that marijuana helps with workouts is anecdotal. In other words, some people say that it worked for them. In fact, quite a few people including professional athletes attest to how products such as CBD oil have improved their sports-playing abilities.
Many say that the use of products such as CBD oil can improve endurance and even focus. However, some experts say that these improvements are merely the result of the anti-inflammatory effect of cannabis. If you take cannabis for pain relief and you don’t feel the pain anymore, it’s natural that you’ll be able to perform and focus better.
Actual research tests and studies involving humans are very rare, however. A lot of these tests actually involve just laboratory mice and rats. While it is true that lab mice and rats are used because they share many processes with humans (with lots of behavior and biological similarities), the fact is that animals are still different than humans.
Recreational Marijuana even has different effects on individuals. The effect for one person may be very different for another. The use of marijuana can cause giggling fits and craving for food in one person, while another person may just become very sleepy. So, these anecdotal reports only indicate the results for these people—you may have a very different reaction to cannabis.
Cannabis plants have different strains called sativa or indica. Actually, there aren’t really any pure sativa or indica plants. Just about every cannabis plant these days is a hybrid, though some are sativa-dominant while others are indica-dominant.
What’s the difference? Experts say that the sativa strain tends to be more stimulating and energizing. In contrast, the indica strain is rather more mellow. If you take marijuana and just lie there on the couch for hours watching TV, you probably took an indica plant.
This should mean that if you’re going to take marijuana for your workout or any exercise routine, you have to go with a sativa plant. The problem, again, is that all these beliefs aren’t supported by a lot of scientific evidence. In other words, it’s a stereotype that may not be true at all.
Another problem is that many manufacturers aren’t exactly conscientious when it comes to proper labeling. One test of more than 80 marijuana types found plenty of mislabeling cases. You may read “sativa” on the package label but it’s actually indica.
CBD and THC
If you want to get high, you want a marijuana product that contains plenty of THC. This is the chemical compound that causes the intoxicated “high” feeling. Since for decades, this is the effect users were going for, marijuana growers have bred for high THC content.
However, there’s another chemical compound in cannabis called CBD, and it’s the compound credited for many of the medicinal attributes of marijuana. This is the compound that even parents use for their children, as it’s not an intoxicant at all. Products such as CBD oil can contain very little THC, and you can even buy CBD oil extracted from hemp instead of marijuana. Hemp, unlike marijuana, contains just 0.3% THC at the most.
This means that in general, you’ll want to get a CBD product instead of a cannabis product with lots of THC. The CBD can relax you without the risk of making you too relaxed. The CBD may also help with muscle soreness and pain and increase endurance.
The products with THC still have their uses though. This is especially true when you do yoga. The THC can calm down your mind and relax you, and you’re better able to do deeper poses. Just don’t use too much THC as it can affect your balance and coordination.
Taking It Easy
If you’re using marijuana for the first time for your workout, it’s best to go easy at first. Minimize your marijuana use dosage so you know just how much to take. What you don’t want is to take too much, and then you start feeling dizzy while you’re biking up a steep mountain.
You also should avoid taking edible marijuana right before a workout. A full stomach doesn’t really improve performance at all. In addition, it takes a very long time for the chemical compounds in cannabis to enter your bloodstream through the digestive system. It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours before you feel the effects of cannabis.
Instead, try a cannabis tincture and put a drop or two of the CBD oil under your tongue. This sublingual method acts much more quickly. You can feel the effects in less than 15 minutes. You’re also able to gauge the dosage more accurately.
You may also want to consider taking the CBD post-workout. In this case, you don’t have to worry about your balance. You only find out if it is really true that the CBD oil can alleviate your sore muscles.
There are a lot of unknowns when it comes to cannabis (cannabidiol) consumption to improve workout performance. The real truth is that you won’t know until you try. Just be careful if you do try it so that you don’t hurt yourself running and lifting weights when you’ve taken cannabis.