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Scientists are (finally) studying how weed affects athletic performance and recovery

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The recent surge in athletes in the cannabis industry is breathtaking given previous stigmas around weed in sports.

Legendary high-performance players such as bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps and record-setting champion Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA’s scoring leader, have destroyed the myths about slow and low-performing pot heads with their franchise. But even they faced scrutiny for using an illegal substance that was supposed to encourage “loss of habits.”

Bans and stigmatization have also disrupted research on the plant’s true impact on mental and physical performance.

That’s why University of Colorado researchers say New study On how fate affects athletes is a “first of its kind.”

“To date, there are no human studies on the effects of the legal market for cannabis on the exercise experience,” stresses Laurel Gibson, who is expected to receive her Ph.D. from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2023.

The new Gibson Space Study (Study on Physical Activity and the Effects of Cannabis) will change that by compensating volunteers who share how weed affects their workouts.

These blessed and highly preferred participants (men aged 21-40 and women aged 21-50) must already be experienced in cannabis use and exercise simultaneously.

Volunteers will have three meetings with the research team: the first will include a survey and some time on the treadmill, the second and third sessions will include 30 minutes on the treadmill, along with questionnaires.

Prior to the meeting, each volunteer will use cannabis in the home, but not on the college campus due to federal law. The study is ongoing, but the expected results may be game-changing.

Putting destiny into a doctorate

Gibson wants to know why more and more athletes, amateurs and professionals alike, are bringing cannabis into play.

Ultramarathoner and SPACE participant Heather Mashhoudi sometimes covers more than 100 miles a week while training. I told CU’s Boulder today Podcasts, audiobooks, and “the beauty of nature” usually keep her motivated, but when her will fades in the middle of a run, she occasionally spits out a half-dab of gummy filled with marijuana.

The CU study hopes to explore how athletes like Mashhoudi use cannabis in conjunction with exercise. This includes how it helps with recovery, how it contributes to enjoyment of the workout, and even how it can increase motivation.

More than two and a half years ago, University of California professor Angela Bryan and colleagues surveyed hundreds of cannabis consumers in five states.

More than 80% shared that they used cannabis around the time they exercised, either before or shortly after, and among that specific group, 70% said it increased enjoyment of exercise, 78% said it promoted recovery, and 52% He said it increased motivation,” according to A press release.

Gibson plans to investigate these findings further through her space studies.

NBA star Kevin Durant defies stereotypes by consistently performing at the highest level.
Kevin Durant is considered one of the best basketball players in the world. He is one of many high-performance professionals who are defying the stigmas and myths that have been raised about cannabis consumers in all sports. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Star athletes defend high performance

This survey and study, along with championing professional superstars like Ricky Williams and Kevin Durant, has gone a long way in killing the myth that retards are an idiot or a slouch when it’s time to perform.

But will new studies like Gibson’s prove that cannabis affects positive outcomes for both amateurs and professionals?

With the study still ongoing, we can’t confirm beyond anecdotes from high-performers like Clifford Robinson and Stephen Jackson, both of whom admitted to pre-NBA game consumption with mixed results.

I just have to be real, said Jackson. 2017 interview With “I Am Rapaport: Stereo Podcast.”

“It was two games where I smoked before games and had great games,” recalls Jackson, host of the 420 podcast “All The Smoke,” three years before the league stopped THC testing. “It was a few matches where I smoked before the game and I was on the bench after three minutes of sitting on the sideline, [thinking] ‘please calm down. That high should calm down—”I shot three shots over the backboard.”

NBA champion Dwyane Wade It is the latest that aims to fight stigma while achieving the green rush, with the release of a limited series of strains in partnership with Bud Giant. Jeter. With so much star power in the field, it’s no wonder that more and more leisure spectators and athletes are incorporating weed into their athletic experience.

Taking our understanding of the term “runner’s rise” to new heights

The bliss experienced by professional and amateur long-distance runners has long been credited to the effect of a biochemical known as endorphins. but after a Study 2015 Connect the feeling of joy with endocannabinoid system By studying the brains of mice on running wheels, more questions are being asked about the real chemical Wave From the phenomenon of high hostility.

The study above stated, “A higher level of runner-up is a subjective sense of well-being that some humans experience after prolonged exercise. For decades, it was assumed that exercise-induced release of endorphins was solely responsible for runner’s high. But recent evidence suggests that endocannabinoids may also play a role.” .

[The research] “Note that endorphins cannot pass through the blood-brain barrier,” said Johannes Voss of the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf.

This discovery drew the researchers’ attention to AnandamideIt is a fat-soluble endocannabinoid that also appears at high levels in runners’ blood. Since anandamide can travel from the blood to the brain, it may be the most likely cause of a runner’s high.

“But no one. [has] Investigating the effects of endocannabinoids on behavior after running,” Voss said in a 2015 interview with Scientific American After his team survey.

Fortunately, Gibson of the University of Colorado picks up the torch and runs with it.

Now that modern scientists have been able to legally study cannabis, our understanding of the plant is growing rapidly. (invincible_bulldog/iStock)

What is an endocannabinoid?

The short answer is that it’s an endogenous hemp plant, and it’s part of your body endocannabinoid system.

Basically, your endocannabinoid system sends messages to neurons throughout your nervous system. These messages affect areas of the brain associated with coordination, focus, satiation, movement, sensory perception, and more.

Studies have long shown that brain chemicals such as anandamide and other cannabinoids are likely to influence the mental phenomenon known as high runner. But there is still limited research linking cannabis to these and other positive mental and physical sensations that many athletes feel during physical activity.

It’s easy to speculate that THC’s close relationship with fellow cannabinoids allows it to collaborate with natural brain chemicals to stimulate receptors in the aforementioned neuronal regions, affecting enjoyment, motivation, and more during exercise. But it will take more studies, such as those of Gibson, to fully clarify the topic.

American sprinter Shaikari Richardson missed a chance for Olympic glory due to a positive cannabis test from the World Anti-Doping Agency. But can weeds give competitors an unfair advantage? (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Do hemp products enhance athletic performance?

Will lighting before a workout increase your speed or strength? No, this is not a given.

However, the World Anti-Doping Agency complied with its decision to ban cannabis from competitors such as Chakari Richardson after the rising star was unable to participate in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics due to a positive test.

But anti-doping don’t need to look further than US National Library of MedicineHis research to confirm that the plant is “not a performance enhancing drug” in the context of anabolic steroids. The CU study could reveal more specific evidence that Richardson and other athletes should not be penalized for cannabis use.

“When I use marijuana and run, I feel like it’s just a few miles away,” explained Mashhoudi, 31, after participating in the CU study. “When I’m running for a really long time, this thing starts naturally and makes colors brighter, makes my thoughts clearer, and makes me more emotionally in tune.”

Mashhoudi believes weed may enhance or provide a head start on that “feel good” that athletes associate with exercise. But in terms of performance improvement, the positive feelings some athletes report after using cannabis does not lead to abnormal recovery rates.

Abnormal recovery is the main characteristic that gives steroid users an unfair advantage over the competition. While weed will not allow you to recover and train at abnormal rates, it has been shown to be much less harmful than pain relievers and anti-inflammatories than many pharmaceutical options that are often paid for by athletes.

The endocannabinoid system, what doctors study about cannabis, brain chemistry and marijuana
Scientists still have a lot to discover about how cannabis affects our brains and bodies. (@enisaksoy / iStock)

It’s still too early for scientists to answer the burning question: “Is bread really a good way to warm up before a workout?”

But Colorado-based writer and journalist Josiah Hesse, author of High RunnerHow the cannabis-fed athletes movement is changing the science of sportsAfter trying it, he felt confident enough to write a 300-page book on the subject.

“When I first started running, I couldn’t run a single block. It hurt and burned my lungs,” Hess said. But after he drank edible weed before working out, it was a whole new ball game for him. “Going up the hill became an experience,” he recalls. Fun and easy.”

There are still many studies like Gibson’s space needed before we can make any strong conclusions. But skeptics like Stephen A. ESPN analyst Smith, who has long linked marijuana use to laziness, misjudgment and achievement, may soon have to change their tune.

Smith may have to retire from his famous ‘stay off weed’ job Logo, which he often uses to mock NFL and NBA professionals who are caught under the league’s old THC testing policies.

Fortunately, the major leagues are slowly progressing with the program. The NFL no longer tests THC during its unofficial season (which begins 4/20), and the NBA unofficially stopped testing in 2020 and has yet to resume.

Christopher Minaya

Christopher Minaya has written for XXL magazines, Hot 97, In Flex We Trust and more. He talks about East Coast cannabis trends in an attempt to humanize the flower.

Watch Christopher Minaya’s articles

Grow guide for marijuana beginners.
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