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Is Marijuana A Performance-Enhancing Drug?

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There are two extremes that come to mind in terms people and their activity levels: the super hardcore athlete that trains every day, eats a perfectly balanced diet, and would never let anything come in the way of this. Then there’s the couch potato, who struggles to turn away from the television, doesn’t get out of bed until midday, and smokes week about as often as you can. In most circumstances, each of those activities mentioned will remain on one side of the equation, but what if smoking weed managed to go to change sides?

That’s what’s being explored in a post over on BenGreenfielFitness.com. As more athletes — mostly UFC fighters — admit to smoking marijuana, given that it’s becoming legal in more places all the time, does it provide them with an advantage? Is there something in there that benefits our physical activity, or does it hinder it?

Some athletes swear by using marijuana or its isolated active ingredients, such as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) as performance-enhancing drugs, saying these substances ease anxiety and increase pain threshold so that they can push themselves during workouts. Others say that smoking pot disintegrates their motivation to work out, and instead they find themselves munching Doritos while watching cartoons (a great way to decrease cortisol, but not an incredibly effective way to make big fitness gains).

The jury’s still out here. Of course, there are many factors that come in — how often is it done, is it habitual, how is it taken, how much in each dose, your gender, and others. Then, when talking about performance-enhancing drugs, it’s going to be more important to find studies that can isolate certain characteristics rather than simply relying on individual opinions. The post continues:

[…] an endurance athlete may benefit from the pain-numbing and bronchodilatory effects of marijuana to get through a tough training session, and a UFC fighter who is using THC in moderated doses could actually be able to experience a combination of pain-killing, creativity and focus. But including marijuana in high amounts – and especially meeting or exceeding doses of 100 mg THC – into a routine requiring complicated movements, an element of danger and teamwork, such as a Spartan Race or Tough Mudder, could be a recipe for disaster.

There appears to be a fine line between Mary Jane providing performance help, or encouraging the couch. If you thought you knew all there was, read the rest of the article, there are plenty of finer points to wrap your head around.

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About Sam Brinson Sam is a writer living in Uruguay. Sam follows the latest in aging break throughs.

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