The phenomenon of cannabis, better known as marijuana, has brought the world into heavy dispute regarding its legality and legitimacy in certain fields. Once viewed as a societal detriment (like that of cocaine or heroin), the stigma around cannabis is on its way towards dissipation. Being a $13.6 billion industry in the US alone and medically legalised in 43 countries, it is hard to believe the substance is still considered ‘taboo’, especially with many online retailers, such as Smoke Cartel, selling marijuana-related products, the stigma is disappearing quite quickly.
The recent controversy of Sha‘Carri Richardson surrounding her disqualification from the Olympics after using cannabis had only aggravated marijuana’s stigma in sports. Banned by the International Olympic Committee, cannabis has been proven to have a positive impact on athlete’s performance. So a thorough understanding of cannabis’ benefits on human performance is much needed to form a judgment on the matter. Here are 5 of its bits of help:
It helps control weight
Contrary to preconceptions, medical marijuana does not play a factor in increasing a person’s appetite. In actuality, it is the opposite. Cannabis suppresses the appetite and regulates blood sugar levels in your body. The control of such intakes can be of beneficial use to stay at an ideal weight. For athletes, this means being able to build and follow a standard procedure in training and stability in health.
It puts you in a better mood
The importance of mental strength is vastly underappreciated in the sports world. A high testosterone level is cardinal for an athlete to perform at their best. The constant pressure athletes face is bound to bring upon stress and anxiety which leads to the synthesis of the hormone cortisol and suppresses testosterone production. Cannabis, in turn, can halt the production of cortisol. This is their crucial mechanism in bringing users towards relaxation and high output. Marijuana can also enhance creativity and concentration. Corresponding doses of the substance can help you enjoy exercising more and pay attention to honing finer details in your technique.
It improves sleep
The rigorous tasks of daily life and painstaking training for athletes can make one’s sleep schedule get out of step. Cannabis is widely regarded in the medical marijuana community as a successful therapy for a variety of sleeping problems, with few to no adverse effects. Marijuana helps to restore a person’s normal sleep cycle which is highly important for retaining our productivity and momentum in daily exercise.
It kills pain
It goes without saying how pain remains instrumental in exercising and training. An excruciating amount of such could be disastrous to athletes themselves. Not only can marijuana numb momentary muscle soreness, but it can also deal directly with chronic, long-term pain. Considering the risky and exorbitant alternative of painkillers pills, cannabis is the most viable option that leaves no sizable implications. Moreover, the anti-inflammation and antioxidant effects of the plant aid its users with higher pain tolerance. Possessing such capabilities pushes athletes to their limits.
It treats muscle spasms
Muscle spasms are a notable occurrence among athletes when training laboriously; overexercising, dehydration, and stress are the most common causes. Though not usually a cause for concern, they may give rise to tremors and seizures. Cannabis has a proven impact on toning down muscle spasms in both humans and animals and assisting athletes in regaining muscular control. Another significant reason to continue taking cannabis is the lack of a good universally effective medication for muscular spasms.
All in all, cannabis use greatly impacts athletes and trainers both on a physical and mental level. Exercise enthusiasts are evidently the biggest beneficiary of marijuana’s benefits, including better pain control and a desirable attitude towards constant training. For athletes, although the prospect of deterioration is immense considering what they are going through daily, the question of whether it is justifiable for them to use cannabis in sports is for another day.
Helen Bradfield did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.
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