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8 Ways Cannabis Can Boost Athletic Performance

Athlete | Source: Unsplash

There’s no denying that athletes are superstitious. Whether it’s a lucky pair of shorts or a ritualistic pre-game dance, they’re all looking for ways to give themselves an edge. What if we told you that there was something that could help boost athletic performance, and it’s legally available (in some shape or way) in all 50 states?


Many athletes are turning to marijuana for its ability to improve focus, calm nerves, and reduce pain—all without the side effects of other drugs. 

While marijuana is technically banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which regulates doping in sports, there are no current plans to ban its use by athletes. Many studies are showing that marijuana can improve athletic performance by reducing stress and anxiety while improving focus and endurance.

Cannabis can boost athletic performance in several ways, from reducing stress to helping with inflammation to improving circulation. Cannabis has been used by professional athletes as an anti-inflammatory pain reliever for years now!

8 Ways Cannabis Can Boost Athletic Performance

Cannabis can have a variety of effects on the body.

One of the most well-known cannabinoids is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis, or the “high” that people often associate with its use. Another cannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD), is non-psychoactive and is thought to have several potential health benefits.

While the use of cannabis has traditionally been associated with relaxation and sedentary activities, interest in the potential benefits of using cannabis in conjunction with exercise is growing.

Look… marijuana is a plant. Plants are good for you. They make you feel good, they smell nice, and they can help improve your athletic performance. But what does this mean for your athletic performance?

Let’s take a look at the science behind cannabis and athletics to see how it works. And why athletes may want to consider using marijuana as part of their training regimen.

Pain Management

Pain management is a big deal for athletes.

Cannabis has been shown to have pain-relieving properties. This makes it useful for managing the muscle soreness and inflammation that can occur after intense exercise. A study published in the Journal of the International Association for the Study of Pain found that cannabis was effective at reducing chronic pain in adults. 

Cannabis has been shown to have pain-relieving properties. This makes it useful for managing the muscle soreness and inflammation that can occur after intense exercise.

Several professional athletes have even reported using cannabis to manage pain related to their sport (according to a recent survey, anywhere from 60% to 80% of athletes use marijuana to help manage pain)!  So if you’re an athlete and you’re looking for ways to manage your pain without resorting to prescription painkillers, you might want to give cannabis a shot. 

You might be surprised at how well it works!

Improved Sleeping Patterns

Athletes, don’t be ashamed to admit it: you’re struggling to sleep.

The truth is, athletes are more likely than non-athletes to have trouble sleeping—and that’s not just because of their training schedule. It’s also because of their high-performance lifestyles. This often includes late nights and early mornings, stress from competition, and irregular eating schedules.

One of the most common reasons people use cannabis is to improve sleep. 

A study published in the National Library of Medicine found that it was effective at reducing the severity of insomnia. Getting enough rest is essential for recovery and overall athletic performance. Cannabis also helps reduce anxiety in athletes by reducing stress levels. Which can lead to increased muscle tension and decreased flexibility during exercise sessions.

Better Focus

Cannabis can increase focus in athletes.

It’s no secret that marijuana is a powerful drug. But what you may not realize is that it can boost athletic performance. THC increases blood flow to the brain, which leads to better focus and concentration. 

HC increases blood flow to the brain, which leads to better focus and concentration. 

Studies have shown that THC can help with ADHD by increasing focus and reducing impulsivity. In one study from 2015, researchers gave rats doses of THC every day for five days before putting them through a maze test called the Morris Water Maze (MWM). The rats that received THC were able to find their way out of the maze faster than those who didn’t receive any treatment at all. Another study from 2015 found that mice given moderate doses of THC per formed better on tests of learning and memory than mice not given any treatment at all.

Increased Strength and Power

Athletes, listen up! Put down those creatine pills, and pick up some cannabis instead. 

We know you’re out there. We see you at the gym, and we see you on the field. You’re always working hard, trying to get stronger and faster, and more powerful.

But have you considered adding cannabis to your workout regimen?

Marijuana has been shown to help athletes build strength and power by reducing anxiety and promoting relaxation in the body. The calming effects of cannabis can also help athletes recover from strenuous workouts more quickly, allowing them to get back into their training schedule sooner. 

This means they can train harder and longer before needing rest or sleep. This can be crucial for achieving peak performance!

Enhanced Recovery Times

Tired of being tired?

Cannabis has been used by athletes for centuries to increase their recovery time and get them ready for their next workout. In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, researchers found that combining THC with CBD can help build recovery time for athletes.

The study looked at 18 men who were divided into two groups. One group was given a mixture of THC and CBD for 4 weeks, while the other got a placebo. Both groups received their treatments before exercising on a stationary bike. The researchers measured their heart rate, blood pressure, and rate of perceived exertion (RPE) after using the stationary bike.

The results showed that those who received the mixture of cannabinoids had lower RPE scores than those who got the placebo. Meaning they felt less tired after exercising. They also had lower heart rates and more stable blood pressures throughout their workouts compared to those who took placebos. That means you can do more exercises over a shorter period without getting as sore or tired!

Avoid Prescription Drug Addiction

Athletes who use prescription drugs to help them perform better in their sport are at risk of becoming addicted. Many athletes have turned to the use of prescription drugs because they tend to increase energy levels and pain tolerance. These drugs include muscle relaxers, steroids, and painkillers such as Vicodin (which is an opioid). They can cause an athlete to become dependent on them if used regularly over time.

However, there is another option that could help some athletes avoid this trap: cannabis.

Studies show that marijuana does not have any serious side effects when taken in moderation and does not cause dependency in users who take it responsibly (i.e., not too often or too much at once). Marijuana is one of the most effective ways for an athlete to overcome an addiction. It contains high amounts of cannabidiol (CBD) which has been shown in studies to help reduce cravings for other substances like opioids.

May Protect Against Brain Damage

Many athletes are known to take a lot of hits to the head.

CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, is a degenerative brain disease caused by these repeated hits. But cannabis can help.

CBD has proved to have neuroprotective effects. It has been shown to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, as well as protect against cell death caused by cerebral ischemia. THC also shows to improve memory and reduce anxiety. Both of these are very helpful for athletes after they’ve taken a hit. While more research needs to be done on this topic, it’s clear that marijuana could be an effective treatment for CTE and other brain damage caused by sports injuries. CTE can lead to memory loss, depression, and dementia.

But what if there was a way to help prevent this? It turns out there might be: cannabis.

Mood and Depression Relief

Athletes are no strangers to the mental and emotional toll that their sport can take.

For many, it’s not just the physical pain that is difficult to bear—it’s also the emotional pain that comes from losing a game or letting down their teammates.

The good news is that cannabis may be able to help.

Though it’s rarely talked about, athletes have long used marijuana as a way to manage their moods and relieve stress before competing. And recently, researchers have been looking into whether or not cannabis is an effective treatment option for athletes who suffer from anxiety or depression. It’s ultimately been found that CBD use can benefit mental health.

Though it's rarely talked about, athletes have long used marijuana as a way to manage their moods and relieve stress before competing.

So, what’s the verdict? Will cannabis help you win at your sport?

If you have a sport-specific goal in mind, you should know that cannabis can improve athletic performance. But it’s not a magic pill! You need to make sure the strain and product are right for you—after all. It’s not going to help if the THC content is too high for your tolerance level or if that particular strain doesn’t mesh with your body chemistry. 

Additionally, the use of cannabis can have potential negative side effects, such as impaired coordination and judgment. You should use caution when considering the use of cannabis. Always follow the laws and regulations governing its use in your area. If you are considering using cannabis in conjunction with exercise, it is important to speak with a healthcare professional and carefully consider the potential risks and benefits.

We’ve seen it happen time and time again: cannabis helps athletes perform better by improving focus, reducing stress, and increasing motivation. So what are you waiting for?

Come to The Happy Campers for all the latest cannabis news and findings.