The long-term effects of cannabis on athletes are still being studied for more definitive answers. But for now, there’s enough evidence of cannabis’ effects on athletes, even in their training, competition, or rehabilitation. In recent years, cannabis and athletes have never been a good combination. Many athletes will testify that using cannabis during training can significantly decrease their performance; they will be distracted from the true task at hand, which can be physical and mental stress.
But even in its own realm, there are negatives. Most notably, it is extremely difficult to get high as an athlete while using cannabis. This means that many athletes will choose to consume hemp instead of marijuana, which may offer them a better high. This is particularly true of hockey players who struggle with sleeping or staying awake during games. Hemp can also help alleviate chronic inflammation, which is common among athletes and can lead to cramps and pains.
Even if athletes aren’t using cannabis specifically, the cannabis plant itself can cause great pain relief. And the high that cannabis provides is highly addictive. When used properly, cannabis can completely eliminate pain and reduce the dependence on painkillers. Many athletes report that they feel more alert and energetic after using cannabis regularly for a period of time. Athletes also report improved immunity to injuries and a better sleep, as well as fewer headaches and tension.
But perhaps even more compelling evidence that cannabis and athletes should be avoided is the side effects that can come with the substance. The most obvious is the fact that marijuana, when used over a long period of time, can cause significant addiction. Athletes will attest that it is not uncommon for them to need the occasional marijuana joint to feel good. As for the long term health effects, there’s a lot to be said for the fact that hemp is a natural substance, meaning that the potential side effects are minimal, if any at all.
If athletes are going to use cannabis, it may be preferable to take it under the guidance of a qualified professional. That way, the professional can determine the ideal dosage and ratio of hemp and cannabis for each particular athlete. For example, a professional runner might take twenty milligrams of thc for every kilo of pure cannabis. That would equal one-eighth of an ounce of cannabis.
In addition to minimizing the potential for adverse side effects, professionals recommend that athletes start slow, by taking only what they need, when they need it. That means consuming only a small amount at first, ideally as a supplement. Consuming more than the recommended amount can cause adverse side effects including anxiety, muscle spasms, anxiety, nausea and drowsiness. So if athletes want to experience the benefits of cannabis without experiencing all of its negative side effects, it makes sense to begin with a low dose. Over time, the dosage can be raised gradually as needed, depending on the specific athlete.