Is cannabis harmful for athletes?

For most people, when they hear about marijuana, their first thoughts are,” Bad for you!” Fortunately, that perception is slowly changing and countries are getting less stringent on marijuana use. Specifically, medical marijuana is getting legalised at a faster rate than recreational marijuana because of many of the ailments it solves for many. Even for recreational use, it turns out it may not be so bad when regulated appropriately.

In the athlete world, some are coming out about using the plant personally including Michael Phelps, Matt Barnes and Nate Diaz. It is no longer such a stigmatized activity due to its benefits. Innovations are adding to the convenience and experience of marijuana, like CBD and vaping found at Smoke Cartel, which make it a more enjoyable experience without the psychoactive side effects often associated with the plant. Here are some of the reasons why marijuana is becoming more popular.

Soothes the pain

Being an athlete can be a pain… in the muscles, back and so many other places due to injuries that sometimes come out of nowhere. But injuries are part of the territory for any competitive athlete and with injury, pain is not so far behind. Due to pain, athletes suffer discomfort which makes it difficult for them to perform at peak level. CBD and cannabis is great for soothing pain in almost all parts of the body. It goes as far as relieving chronic and acute pain, muscle spasms and assists muscle recovery. Some of the popular forms used for such cases are CBD oil and high-grade THC extracts. 

Better rest 

Sometimes, anxiety gets the better of athletes and can cause restlessness. In these cases, some turn to medications but recently, marijuana is proving to be very helpful in inducing better rest. THC is well known for inducing sleep due to its psychoactive properties. It also assists with sleep apnea, suppresses dreams and reduced PTSD. The other compound, CBD, can ease REM sleep disorder, a condition where people act out in their sleep, and relieves daytime fatigue as well. As an athlete, sleep of about 7-9 hours is one of, if not, the most important aspect of your life which makes the properties of marijuana quite worthwhile to consider. 

Mental help

Contrary to popular belief, marijuana is actually not detrimental to the brain. When you see it in the movies, stoners are often portrayed as not being very functional people. For an athlete to perform at peak level, they need a clear mind or at least close to one in order to prepare adequately and perform best. In a study, low doses of THC, was shown to restore cognitive function in old mice. Many fitness experts have reported that marijuana helps them get into “the zone” by reducing anxiety, induces calmness that helps them focus. 

Reduces inflammation 

Inflammation can be an athlete’s worst nightmare because of how it impacts their performance and preparation to perform. CBD has been shown to be effective in easing inflammation amongst athletes and regular people. Through its effects in treating conditions such as Crohn’s disease, lupus and psoriasis, it has been shown to reduce inflammation. For non-smokers, there are alternatives through which these effects can be enjoyed. These include using tinctures and topicals which you can apply directly onto the areas experiencing inflammation. 

Less muscle spasms

Muscle spasms are painful contractions and tightening of muscles that are often unpredictable and involuntary. Due to their potential to affect athletes, they are an area where they often seek relief through medication. More recently, cannabis has been shown to provide relief for spasms among patients with multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s which can be extended to spams in athletes. A rodent study where mice were exposed to cannabis, showed muscle recovery and reduced muscle spasms that they suffered. Cannabis is especially effective due to its anti-inflammatory properties.


Athletes are always plagued with all sorts of challenges as they prepare and compete in their different categories. Due to these challenges, especially, those affecting their body, they are usually on the lookout for relief from many of these ailments. While most look to traditional medicines, cannabis is offering a new way to assist with many of the ailments suffered. With continuing legalisation, it is slowly becoming a choice option.