Marijuana: Does It Help You Improve Your Exercise Performance?
13 Jun 2016
Marijuana has recently become more mainstream and the drive for its legalization in more states is increasing day by day. The sphere that marijuana has been most used in recently is sports. It is being used to increase pain tolerance while training and alleviate stress. The options of edibles, vaporizers and other methods that don’t harm lungs further increase the attraction. Although cannabis sativa is banned by the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA), its legality is on an increasing curve.
What is it that makes legalization of Marijuana inevitable?
As we all know Marijuana which is also known as weed, pot, grass or bud is a greenish and gray colored mixture made from the dried and shredded flowers and leaves of a hemp plant named Cannabis Sativa. Let us explore some facts about Marijuana.
l Around 42 percent of American citizens have tried marijuana at least once in their lifetime.
l Marijuana has been proven to be less harmful than tobacco and alcohol.
l Since the year 1975, Marijuana has been legalized in Alaska for personal use and is still legal in today’s time.
l A compound derived from marijuana helps freeze cancer cells and also prevents them from spreading.
l George Washington used to grow marijuana in his farm.
Effect of marijuana
If you are smoking marijuana, you reach peak blood concentrations level of cannabinoids after 3-8 minutes. In case of edibles, this time is increased to 60-90 minutes. Neural effects begin 20 minutes in and end up staying for around 2-4 hours. In fact, it has been generally witnessed that people who consume marijuana from time to time lead a relaxed life.
Dosage and the difference it makes
To hit the so-called sweet spot (equal to the feeling of a couple of drinks) the THC level is around 2-3 mg. the average joint could contain up to 1-15 mg per hit, depending on the type of strain and the smoking method and wastage. In the case of edibles, the psychedelic effects last twice as longer.
Studies done to calculate effect on performance
In a study where one group of pilots were given placebo cigarettes and the other was given marijuana, it was found that for at least two hours after smoking, the likelihood of errors increased, hand-eye coordination was disrupted, and overall impairment in some form lasted for up to 36 hours.
This and other studies seem to conclude that marijuana impairs performance. However, it actually depends on the type of task. Before exceedingly complex tasks, marijuana will definitely have a negative effect on performance. But for, say, an endurance athlete, marijuana can help in pain numbing and endurance. Moreover the dose used in such experiments is often ridiculously high.
Marijuana’s effect on muscle growth
According to a study conducted over two weeks, marijuana does inhibit muscle building by inhibiting the Growth Hormone. However, this study too used a very large dose of marijuana – 210 mg THC per day – which doesn’t really answer the question of whether marijuana taken in moderate doses would inhibit muscle growth or not.
Apart from THC, CBD – which is the non-psychoactive component of marijuana – has been shown to have numerous health benefits such as killing off breast cancer cells, ameliorating epilepsy etc.
Effect on hormones
Most results that say that marijuana has a long-term effect on hormones are based on mice studies. The largest human study that has been conducted till now came to the conclusion that for chronic marijuana users, there is no significant long term change in hormone levels. For males, for example, the testosterone levels dip immediately after usage but come back to normal levels after 24 hours.
Does marijuana make you lose or gain weight?
Studies have shown that the obesity rate in marijuana users is significantly lower than non-users. But the lower BMI of users can also be explained by the eventual dampening of hunger signals over long usage. Some animal tests have shown that marijuana can indeed reduce weights, but these kinds of strains are rare to find in the market.
It has also been seen that THCV in marijuana can help reduce body weight. However, do not get your hopes too high - as many products in the market have been seen to contain too high a level of THCV. So, it is important that you know what you are buying first to know the benefits you would get from it.