Cannabis for workout recovery: Can the green plant’s therapeutic benefits improve athletic performance?

It’s not just CBD that could prove promising when using cannabis for workout recovery but also, THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol.

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorials

It may be listed as a Schedule I illegal drug in the U.S., but this hasn’t stopped scientific researchers from exposing the cannabis plant for its therapeutic potential.

So, if it’s therapeutic, what about cannabis for workout recovery?

Well, according to a 2011 report on cannabis in sport, the plant may improve training ability and assist with recovery after an event.

Various studies have spotlighted several of cannabis’ non-psychoactive chemicals and their ability to reduce inflammation, ease pain and relax tired muscles, leading scientists to believe that the green plant may well be the perfect addition to an active individual’s lifestyle.

What are Endocannabinoids? understand cannabis’ role as a workout recovery tool, we must first understand what endocannabinoids are.

These chemical compounds can be found inside the human body.

Endocannabinoids are responsible for regulating fat and energy metabolism, the immune system, inflammation, and insulin levels.

We are learning more about endocannabinoids all of the time and so far, we know that the cannabinoids contained in cannabis mimic the body’s natural endocannabinoids.

One particular endocannabinoid found in the central nervous system, 2-AG, plays an important role – it regulates pain, inflammation, immune function, and appetite.

Interestingly, the non-psychoactive cannabis compound CBD (cannabidiol) resembles the 2-AG endocannabinoid, making the prospect of cannabis for workout recovery very promising.

Consuming THC-rich cannabis to relieve workout-related inflammation’s not just CBD that could prove promising when using cannabis for workout recovery but also, THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol.

This cannabis compound is psychoactive and according to the chief medical officer at HelloMD, Perry Solomon, THC could increase the death of T-cells.

This is based on studies of THC in mice.

Since T-cells are inflammatory, THC-rich cannabis could aid with immunosuppression.

“The whole point of the endocannabinoid system is to maintain homeostasis, so it wants to regulate an even balance of nerve transmissions, inflammation and everything else,” explains Solomon.

“Some studies have found that endocannabinoids themselves down-regulate chemicals the body produces when there’s inflammation. In theory, and even in some clinical trials, it shows there is a decrease in inflammation when using cannabis,” he added.

Studying cannabis for workout recovery is subjective
Avery Collins is an athlete who uses cannabis for workout recovery and performance

Although there is substantial evidence to suggest that cannabis is a good option for workout recovery, Solomon claims that the main issue with studying cannabis use for enhanced athletic performance is subjective.

“Athletes say they put on a balm or ointment or smoke something, but they do it at different times and they’re different types of athletes. A lot of variable factors enter into proving that it’s the cannabis helping recovery: How hard they work out, their diet, what recovery drinks they’re taking,” said Solomon.

However, there is no shortage of anecdotal evidence to argue that cannabis aids workout-related recovery.

One such example is Avery Collins.

A 25-year-old cannabis-smoking runner, the young athlete praises the cannabis plant for its ability to bolster his athletic ability. You can read more about Collins here.