How to Use Cannabis as an Athlete, Without Negative Effects

How to Use Cannabis as an Athlete, Without Negative Effects

Over the last few years, the perception of cannabis has dramatically changed. With the legalization wave washing over countries worldwide, cannabis is no longer seen merely as a recreational drug but is increasingly recognized for its therapeutic properties. One group embracing these changes are athletes, who are exploring cannabis as a tool to enhance their performance and speed up recovery. But it's crucial to use it responsibly and strategically to reap the benefits without encountering negative effects.


Famous Athletes and Their Connection to Cannabis

The link between sports and cannabis is neither a recent phenomenon nor a hidden secret. Many successful athletes have not only embraced cannabis but are actively working to dispel the stigma surrounding its use. Take Conor McGregor, for instance. The UFC fighter has been open about his cannabis use and even launched his own line of cannabis-based recovery products called TIDL Sport. NFL Hall of Famer Calvin Johnson also entered the cannabis industry with his brand, Primitiv, selling plant-form cannabis, THC-infused edibles, and concentrated THC wax in Michigan.

Notably, athletes Sha'Carri Richardson and Marshawn Lynch faced repercussions and stigmatization for their cannabis use, highlighting the need for revised regulations and greater understanding. Sha'Carri Richardson, a Team USA Olympic sprinter, faced a ban from competing in the Tokyo Olympics due to testing positive for marijuana, raising questions about cannabis as a performance-enhancing drug. Marshawn Lynch, a former NFL running back, launched Dodi Blunts, a cannabis brand focusing on elevating Black and brown communities within the cannabis industry.

Cannabis is not just used for performance but also recovery. Soccer star Megan Rapinoe became an ambassador for her twin sister's CBD brand, Mendi, which sells CBD gels and oils for recovery. These are just a few of the athletes who are redefining the relationship between cannabis and sports, showcasing how it can be a useful tool when used responsibly.

Adopt Healthier Consumption Methods

Cannabis consumption doesn't always mean lighting up a joint. For athletes, smoking is not the most optimal method because it can affect lung health and stamina. Instead, edibles, dry herb vapes, and concentrates offer healthier alternatives.

Edibles, which range from candies and cookies to drinks, provide a smoke-free way of consuming cannabis. Their effects last longer compared to smoking, making them ideal for endurance activities. However, edibles take longer to kick in, so timing is crucial to align the peak effects with your workout.

Dry herb vapes are another excellent choice. By heating instead of burning the cannabis, they produce a cleaner vapor that is easier on the lungs. Athletes can use them for a quick and convenient pre-workout boost.

Cannabis concentrates, like oils and tinctures, offer a potent dose of cannabinoids, allowing for precise dosing. They can be consumed orally or sublingually, making them suitable for both pre- and post-workout use.


Invest in Recovery

Workouts, especially high-intensity ones, can put significant strain on your body. Muscles tear, inflammation occurs, and your body generally goes into stress mode. This is where cannabis can play a crucial role.

Cannabis topicals, such as creams and lotions, can be applied directly to the skin for localized relief. They are great for targeting specific areas of the body that are sore or inflamed after a workout.

Similarly, CBD oils and edibles can assist with recovery. Consumed orally, these products help manage inflammation, improve sleep quality – essential for muscle recovery – and provide overall relaxation.


Understand Your Dosage and Timing

When it comes to cannabis, there's no one-size-fits-all approach. Factors like your body composition, tolerance levels, and the specific strain or product you're using can all impact how cannabis affects you. Start with a low dose and gradually increase it to find your sweet spot.

Timing is just as important. For example, edibles should be taken 1-2 hours before a workout, considering their longer onset time. On the other hand, a vape might be used for an immediate pre-workout boost.


Listen to Your Body and Be Consistent

Just like with any training regimen or dietary plan, consistency is key when using cannabis as an athlete. Regular, controlled usage will help your body adapt and respond better over time.

However, don't ignore your body's signals. If you're feeling too tired, sluggish, or unfocused, it may be a sign that you need to adjust your dosage or consumption method. Keeping a cannabis journal can be a useful tool to track your usage, effects, and progress.


Don't Skimp on the Basics

Lastly, while cannabis can be a valuable addition to an athlete's arsenal, it's not a substitute for the basics of good nutrition, hydration, and rest. Make sure you're maintaining a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water, and getting enough sleep.


To Wrap Up

Incorporating cannabis into your athletic routine can be a game-changer, but it's essential to do so mindfully. Choose healthier consumption methods, use cannabis for recovery, understand your dosage and timing, listen to your body, and don't ignore the fundamentals. With these tips, you can use cannabis to enhance your performance and recovery without the negative side effects. Always remember to consult with a healthcare provider or a cannabis-educated professional to ensure you're using cannabis safely and effectively.

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