Why Cannabis Is Used as a Sports Medicine

Cannabis may have experienced a surge in popularity from the mid-20th century, but the plant’s history goes way back. Pieces of archaeological evidence trace cannabis use to as early as 500 BC, particularly in Asia. 

Fast forward, and today, intensified efforts by medical researchers have uncovered more health benefits of cannabis. That explains why marijuana is slowly but steadily finding its way into other industries besides the health and wellness sector, such as the sports industry. 

But why would you consider cannabis as your ideal sports medicine? The following are some of the reasons why.

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  1. Cannabis can treat pain

Numerous studies have attempted to investigate the pain-relieving effects of cannabis, and the results have been largely positive. 

In this 2018 review, researchers assessed how effective cannabidiol (CBD) is against conditions that manifest in chronic pain, such as fibromyalgia, cancer, and neuropathy. CBD is one of the over 100 medically-beneficial extracts of marijuana. 

The review examined studies that were conducted from 1978 to March 2018. At the end of the review, researchers concluded that cannabidiol had powerful analgesic properties and could help with overall pain management.

But just how does cannabis relieve pain? 

As with most other medical conditions, cannabis relieves pain by interacting with certain pain-regulating receptors that are spread throughout your body. The exact way in which marijuana manages pain depends on the specific extract you consume. 

For instance, CBD treats pain by enhancing the body’s access to its own cannabinoids responsible for pain management, such as anandamide. 

On the other hand, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the primary psychoactive marijuana compound – treats pain by binding to opioid receptors located around the brain and central nervous system.

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  1. Cannabis might relieve anxiety

It’s almost impossible to detach anxiety from sports. Anxiety is more common in competitive sports, where it could make a world of difference between winning and losing a match. 

Generally, the higher the stakes in a match are, the more anxious you’re likely to be. And it can only get worse if you’re already suffering from an anxiety disorder like post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, or social anxiety disorder. 

The good news, however, is that you can hybrid  seeds  if you’re seeking to grow cannabis. Once your plants are ready for harvesting, you can readily use their extracts to relieve anxiety and boost your athletic performance. 

Cannabis mostly relieves stress and anxiety by increasing the body’s ability to detect the presence of feel-good neurotransmitters, such as serotonin. 

Medical experts have consistently observed low serotonin levels in people with stress and anxiety. So, administering cannabis is a natural way of increasing serotonin in your body, thereby relieving stress and anxiety. 

  1. Cannabis may alleviate inflammation

Inflammation is one of the body’s natural defense mechanisms against the presence of invaders like bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Inflammation could also result from repeated strain on muscles and tissues, as is the case with endurance sports. 

The actual swelling occurs when the body increases the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the damaged tissues. 

Thankfully, inflammation is another medical condition that you can effectively relieve with cannabis. 

Cannabis extracts like CBD and THC alleviate inflammation by blocking some of the body’s inflammatory messenger activity. These extracts are also renowned vasodilators. As such, they enhance blood flow while also removing toxins from the affected areas. 

  1. Cannabis can attenuate muscle soreness

Have you ever heard of delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS)? This is the pain that you experience between 24 and 72 hours after engaging in energy-intensive sports. DOMS is more common among athletes with an erratic workout or training schedule. 

Like inflammation, DOMS eventually goes away on its own. However, the condition can be a major setback while it lasts. 

Thankfully, the analgesic properties of cannabis may come in handy in terms of relieving DOMS. 

Various studies cite marijuana compounds like CBD for their ability to manage DOMS and other forms of exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMS). By attenuating DOMS, cannabis allows you to maintain your peak form even after engaging in high-energy sports.

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  1. Cannabis can improve sleep quality

The importance of adequate sleep among professional athletes cannot be overemphasized. During sleep, the body undergoes a natural healing and repair process in readiness for the day ahead. 

Sadly, millions of athletes grapple with insomnia and other sleep disorders worldwide. But researchers now believe that incorporating cannabis into your fitness routine can go a long way in terms of boosting your sleep quality. 

Marijuana improves sleep by shortening sleep latency while enhancing sleep duration. Studies have also cited cannabis extracts for their ability to eliminate or shorten rapid eye movement (REM) sleep

REM refers to a phase during sleep where we tend to experience the most vivid dreams. Eliminating or reducing REM translates to a dreamless, hence a more restful, sleep. 

Lastly, cannabis can improve your sleep by treating some of the common medical conditions associated with insomnia, such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

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