The stoner stereotype is slowly being blazed away as a new image of cannabis is emerging, one which can be linked to an active, healthy life. JADEO wanted to explore the relationship between cannabis and fitness for our readers so we took a look at what the research says and new, emerging best practice trends.
Remembering that the role of the endocannabinoid system is to achieve homeostasis and balance, it makes perfect sense that cannabis would be used as a natural health and wellness tool, but the stigmas around cannabis use may make us second guess it’s place in fitness. In fact, it can provide energy, endurance, pain relief from a sports injury, and can speed up muscle recovery. When using cannabis for its medicinal properties, it’s important to remember that it’s best consumed in conjunction with exercise, clean food, proper rest, meditation and self-care.
Cannabis and Sports Medicine
As we develop a new understanding of cannabis and health, we should consider the shift it has undergone in sports-related industries. The old and new attitudes of cannabis’ place in sports medicine reflect this shift, asking us to consider why athletes use it?
Once on the “prohibited list” of the The World Anti-Doping Agency, cannabidiol (CBD) was removed from the list in 2018 as a response to current scientific knowledge citing CBD’s benefits for pain and anxiety and the input of various stakeholders. As the leader in establishing standards for athletes regarding the use of performance-enhancing substances during competition, the lift of a 14-year long ban on any form of cannabis in competitive sports is paving the way for many professional athletes to acknowledge cannabis use in their career.
Cannabis can offer athletes relief from chronic and acute pain without subjecting them to the liver toxicity of anti-inflammatory meds or the addiction of opiate pain relievers. We now see the celebrity of athletes who are public about their use of cannabis helping to remove the negative stigmas associated with its use in sports. In fact, the NFL has publicly stated that cannabis for pain management deserves further research because it works so well anecdotally. NBA players have publicly stated that more than 80 percent of current players use cannabis for relief. NFL players have quoted stats around 89 percent.
With this kind of known presence in professional sports, we see how industry can shift common perception and invite cannabis into the wellbeing of professional athletes and give way for it in the fitness space. As we’ve transitioned into legalization, we’ve seen more sports aligned brands bring cannabis into the picture. For those of us who are not high-performance athletes, are we able to reap the same benefits? What can it offer the average individual who is looking to be active and mindful of their wellbeing?
Cannabis for Energy + focus
One of cannabis’ powerful effects is in heightening senses, but the high associated with the plant can be somewhat of a deterrent when wanting to be active and clear minded. So if you’re wondering how you can enhance your exercise routines with cannabis but not get high, the secret is in microdosing. That’s right, microdosing is defined by consuming a small, measured dose of cannabis at separate intervals that allows you to keep a sustained effect. Some athletes microdose pre-workout to bring a state of relaxation and focus to their training routine without getting high. In this relaxed mental state, anxiety and negative thinking recede and limitations are reduced, aiding at getting in “the zone.”
Many Canadians thoughtfully consume cannabis leading up to a workout with the intention of improving the overall experience. Cannabis is known to enhance the mind/body/nature connection, often providing us with a boost of inspiration which can help with our motivation before and during a workout. The most common applications would be low dose cannabis oil drops under the tongue or vaporizing a Sativa-dominant hybrid with a flower vaporizer.
Taking this approach requires the cannabis user to see cannabis as an enabler, and to thoughtfully choose strains that will boost energy and bring focus. People will usually choose a Sativa strain before a workout while relying on an Indica-dominant strain for more low-impact activities like yoga.
Cannabis for pain relief + muscle recovery
Further cannabis dosing helps reduce the inflammation and associated pain with sports injuries or soreness, after your workout. Since cannabis is a known analgesic, it is great for pain relief. This therapeutic benefit can be of assistance with muscle recovery and CBD, which is present in some ratio with THC in each strain is able to reduce inflammation.
Although they are not yet available in the legal space in Canada, cannabis topicals are known to offer powerful help to ease sore muscles. More and more individuals are googling for simple directions on how to make their own cannabis topicals at home and finding relief in balms and salves containing cannabis.
Properties of cannabis, when applied topically, target inflammation in that area and have been dramatically effective in helping me reduce muscle recovery times. Cannabis topicals are not known to induce a high so they are an excellent way for an athlete to introduce the natural benefits of cannabis into their life.