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  • Post Time Posted March 29, 2019
Cannabis has long been riddled by myth and beaten down by stereotype. Suffice to say, the image of the typical stoner – feet up on the couch, eyes glazed over and red over a perma-smile, with a bag of chips in hand – still finds resonance in the collective consciousness. Thankfully, however, that viewpoint is quickly starting to morph and a new picture is beginning to emerge.

In addition to being used by a new class of professionals and sophisticated consumers, cannabis has also found a fanbase among athletes. A new lifestyle trend that links medical cannabis to fitness has very much become a celebrated part of the industry, and is being embraced by everyone from professional athletes to weekend workout warriors.

Much of the connection shared between medical cannabis and fitness can be attributed to two specific things: advocates in the space, and the emergence of the CBD cannabinoid as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory that doesn’t, in any conventional sense, provide consumers with the psychoactive component that THC is notorious for.

Athletics and CBD

As one of the most promising aspects of cannabis research to date, using cannabinoids to help reduce muscle and joint inflammation is of particular interest and significance to athletes. Because many health-conscious and fitness-forward individuals eschew smoking and aren’t interested in getting high, CBD is a means of getting the holistic benefits of the plant without flirting with THC.1

In fact, there are literally dozens of concentrated cannabis products on the market today – tinctures, oils, topicals, pills and pre-loaded vape cartridges, to name a handful – that possess only CBD. What this means for athletes is that they can medicate, before or after workouts, using cannabis-based products that are safe to use. 

The Link Between Fitness and Medical Cannabis

Robust Product Line 

The sheer number of different products available on the market today is another one of the reasons fitness and medical cannabis have formed a closer bond than ever in recent years. Again here, there are few athletes, particularly amateurs and professionals, who dare run the risk of consuming cannabis by combustion, so concentrates and technological advancements like vaporizers have made integrating the plant into a healthy routine a plausible option.

In addition to conventional concentrates, there are also now rubs, balms and a number of oils and tinctures that athletes can incorporate into their fitness regimen. Many athletes choose to microdose low levels of CBD and THC using edibles and oil capsules, while others are turning to vaporizers to help with pre-and-post workouts.2

The Link Between Fitness and Medical Cannabis


Injury and Recovery

In the context of proper fitness, CBD is not the only significant cannabinoid. There are numerous studies that show THC extracts can be as effective as opiates for treating chronic and acute pain symptoms. Where opioids come with a list of harmful side-effects and are inherently addictive, cannabis doesn’t show any signs of similar impacts on the human body and mind.3

After a sport-related injury, physicians and patients have, for the last 20 years, turned to narcotics like Percocet and OxyContin for relief from symptoms. As cannabis continues to find acceptance among the medical community, it is being prescribed more often to deal with injuries. The plant and its extracts can also be used for simple recovery after workouts, and many advocates lobby for this practice to become commonplace.

Much of the challenge, is in how best to educate both the public and healthcare practitioners about the advantages medical cannabis can present in the context of both fitness and recovery. Part of mending that gap entails building a bridge from myth and stereotype to fact and science. Additionally, healthcare practitioners should continue to be educated and up to date on the best practices for cannabis use just like any other medication that is prescribed to patients.

One of the most egregious myths that hinders a healthy dialogue about medical cannabis is that any-and-everyone who consumes it is lazy. The opposite, say some experts, may actually be true. For athletes with so-called “Type A” personalities, cannabis can serve as the catalyst to a healthy lifestyle, and even a vigorous fitness routine. Like many substances, cannabis can be used safely, or irresponsibly, and the responsibility lies with the individual.4
References:
  1. "9 ways weed can help (or hurt) athletic performance." https://www.muscleandfitness.com/workouts/workout-tips/9-ways-weed-can-help-or-hurt-athletic-performance
  2. "Cannabis and fitness: 5 reasons why this is really a thing." https://www.straight.com/cannabis/973761/cannabis-and-fitness-5-reasons-why-really-thing
  3. "How the right strain of weed can help your workout." https://www.esquire.com/lifestyle/health/a14426770/marijuana-workout-tips-benefits/
  4. "6 weed myths fit guys can ignore." https://www.mensjournal.com/health-fitness/6-weed-myths-fit-guys-can-ignore/

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