There are people who support the theory that marijuana is beneficial for weightlifters, increasing our pain threshold as well as our appetite, and helping with our post-workout recovery. Many countries have legalized marijuana in the past 2 or 3 years, especially in the USA, and people are starting to feel less repulsive towards it.
However, when it comes to lifting and marijuana, the effects vary from one person to another. Here, we will deal with sturdy facts based on recent research regarding marijuana and its effect on human physiology.
Human Endocannabinoid System
The endocannabinoid system is a system that regulates a wide variety of physiological processes such as mood, pain-sensation, memory, appetite, temperature regulation, and mediates the psychoactive effects of marijuana. Endogenous cannabinoid receptors are located throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems, as well as in the mammalian brain. When it comes to your metabolism’s ability to react and adapt to its environment, the endocannabinoid system is one of the major command and control centers for tweaking that ability.
Performance and Muscle Building
However, those who perform frequent strength trainings are probably not going to experience muscle growth or increase in performance as a result of smoking marijuana. Even though cannabis is still a banned substance for the majority of regulating bodies in sports, this is not grounded in the fact that it is a performance-enhancing substance. Marijuana is known to interrupt concentration, decrease reaction time, reduce exercise capacity, and disrupt hand-eye coordination. A study published in 1991 (not so recently, that is), conducted at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, has concluded: “after smoking a moderate dose of marijuana, the complex human/machine performance can be impaired and the user may be unaware of its influence.” This was one of the earliest scientific data that indicated the effects of marijuana on our psychomotor abilities.
What about muscle building? Marijuana consumption may inhibit the secretion of growth hormone which is, alongside testosterone and insulin, one of the hormones crucial for building muscles. However, the study which brought these results was conducted in 1976, and researchers used very high amounts of cannabis. A protein called mTOR (mechanistic target of rapamycin) is a protein that regulates cell growth and protein synthesis. This protein is in fact regulated by CBD – the non-psychoactive component of marijuana. CBD might counteract the detrimental effects of marijuana and actually have health promoting effects.
A 2009 study conducted by Future Medicinal Chemistry showed that cannabis use can have anti-inflammatory effects. Increased inflammation due to weight lifting can be either a good or a bad thing. Inflammation is good to a certain point, because it is necessary if one hopes to see any results out of a workout regimen – increased strength and stamina, hypertrophy, and improved work capacity. It is the inflammatory response to stress that makes our body stronger – our body rebuilds and refortifies tissues in order to deal with future physical demands. Having your body fully recover before the next exercise session is important, and cannabis has proven its assistance with this. Namely, cannabinoids have displayed a noteworthy potential to be used as anti-inflammatory agents and to mediate immunosuppressive effects without causing psychotropic side effects.
Of course, this relates to consuming moderate amounts of marijuana. Cannabis improves sleep time and muscle relaxation, reduces anxiety and deals with memories of negative experiences that may lead to enhanced performance. Reading and learning about various cannabis strains is required, so one can discover which strain will work best by bringing out maximum workout performance.
Cannabis and Appetite
Short-term cannabis use is known to increase appetite, which can mean a lot to all the muscle gainers out there. On the other hand, chronic marijuana users can experience appetite decrease. Namely, our bodies naturally produce their own cannabinoid 2-AG (2-arachidonoylglycerol). THC, which has a weaker impact on appetite than the naturally produced 2-AG, binds the CB1 receptor over it. Chronic cannabis use thus decreases appetite by downregulating CB1 receptors.
To conclude, marijuana is still an insufficiently explored plant and there is not enough noteworthy research on all of its potential. When used in moderate amounts, weightlifters may gain benefits during post-workout recovery and appetite increase. Exceeding amounts of marijuana are not advised in any situation.