Cannabis & Athletic Recovery
Nate Diaz, The UFC, and CBD
This is a repost of my article for the November 2016 edition of High! Canada magazine.
UFC 202 made huge headlines when Connor McGregor and Nate Diaz met in the cage for the second time. However, not all of these headlines were about the fight. Controversy began during the post-competition press conference where the beaten Diaz made an appearance. With two black eyes and cuts all over his face – he began puffing on a pen vaporizer filled with Cannabidiol extract. “It’s CBD” he explains “It helps with the healing process and inflammation, stuff like that. So you want to get these for before and after the fights, training. It’ll make your life a better place”. That is just one way of summarizing today’s topic – how cannabis can benefit athletic recovery.
Professional and recreational athletes push themselves to the physical limit to become stronger, faster, and better. An essential part of getting the most out of your training is rest and recovery. Rest is important and can be defined as a combination of sleep and time spent not exercising. Motivated athletes want to recover faster so they can get back out there and continue improving. Cannabis can be used as a tool to help facilitate and streamline athletic recovery.
An important aspect of recovery is getting a full and restful sleep. Cannabis Indica strains are known to produce a sedative effect that melts away insomnia. This can help busy individuals calm their minds and drift into a REM state. Adequate levels of rest help to provide mental health, hormonal balance, and muscular recovery. Cannabis can also help you reset your sleeping rhythms to form a healthier schedule.
Professional athletes (especially those in contact sports) frequently turn to pain medication to deal with their injuries. It has been proven that prolonged use of these painkillers causes a wide array of negative side effects. Painkiller abuse kills a substantial amount of Americans and Canadians each year. Narcotic painkillers are known to cause a desperate physical addiction in patients – leading to withdrawal symptoms and increased consumption. Side effects of these drugs can range from nausea and diarrhea to muscle spasms and increased likelihood of heart attacks.
On the other hand cannabis (specifically the active compound THC) is renowned by doctors, professionals, and scientists for it’s analgesic (pain-numbing) qualities. Cannabis has little to no negative side-effects and can be just as effective as these harmful alternatives. More doctors should research the positives of offering medicinal marijuana to their patients that are experiencing pain and discomfort.
CBD or Cannabidiol is responsible for the rest of the benefits concerning physical recovery. CBD is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis that has medicinal qualities. CBD can also be derived from the hemp plant.
Along with relieving pain, CBD can also reduce inflammation in the body. This is done through the induction of apoptosis and inhibition of cell proliferation. Due to it’s anti-inflammatory properties cannabis is known to protect the heart, lungs, and brains. Some may feel sick after an intense workout – CBD is frequently used to reduce nausea. Cannabinoids actually reduce muscle spasms while painkillers induce them.
Body-builders and athletes are always looking for optimum nutrition. Cannabis can help increase appetite – allowing users to eat more in a specific time period. This could be used effectively to eat certain foods and achieve physical goals. In addition, Hemp (part of the Cannabis family) produces a dense vegan protein that contains all of the essential amino acids. Hemp protein is a healthy alternative to whey and soy.
World-class athletes like Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt are a testament that you can be a “pot-head” and still perform at the highest levels. It is all about mature and responsible use in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle. Sports players, business professionals, parents, and conscious individuals are waking up to the endless positives of going green.
These are all reasons why I refer to Cannabis as the “Powerplant”. There are so many ways that it can Power our Body and Mind. Using marijuana in a safe, mature, and thoughtful manner can enhance the quality of your life substantially.