Cannabis & Recovering From Sports Injuries

Cannabis & Recovering From Sports Injuries

Got tennis elbow? Skier’s thumb? Many athletes (pro or otherwise) are turning to cannabis to aid sports injury recovery. Here’s what to consider.

The extreme sports industry has long looked to cannabis as a way to achieve athletic supremacy and now the mainstream sports world is sharing endless anecdotes of athletes swearing by cannabis as a bona fide training companion. This might be due to the sweeping accounts of negative side effects from opioid-based pain killers and pharmaceuticals, both of which can have negative long-term health effects. So it makes sense that everyone from gold medalist and to scrappy UFC cage fighters are seeing cannabis as the unsung performance and recovery answer that science is working to explain.

How Does Cannabis Affect Athletes?

Athletes look to cannabis to combat chronic pain, inflammation, competition anxiety and more. Given how prolific and effective cannabis can be, many are concerned about the long-term health effects of regular consumption. Much is still to be learned, however, it appears the benefits may outweigh the risks, as many high-level sports medicine doctors are now incorporating cannabis into injury and recovery treatments across an array of athletic disciplines.

Does Cannabis Help Sports Injury Recovery?

Injuries in sport are practically unavoidable, and many athletes often require long term-pain management strategies to help with pains related to repetitive impact. As it happens, cannabis contains compounds called phytocannabinoids that communicate with receptors in our bodies that work to facilitate internal equilibrium and balance by addressing inflammation, the antecedent to chronic physiological malaise.

Is It Legal For Sports People to Smoke Cannabis?

While cannabis consumption is legal in Canada, involving cannabis products in your training regime may be deemed illegal by many organized sport agencies. The UFC has banned use of cannabis by its athletes. Meanwhile, the World Anti-Doping Agency and the FDA have yet to approve any cannabis product as an official medicine. With this in mind, as long as you aren’t travelling to a country still in the throes of cannabis prohibition or smoking a blunt before jumping in the ring with well-known cannabis enthusiast and pro UFC fighter Nate Diaz, nobody will stop you from treating injuries at home however you see fit. As always, it is a good idea to consult your physician before self-medicating.

Examples of Cannabis Used in Sports

The list of athletes that have used cannabis in sports is growing by the day. From Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was seen gleefully puffing a joint in the 1977 bodybuilding documentary, Pumping Iron, to Ross Rebagliati, who won and lost and re-won his gold medal at the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, cannabis in sport is coming out of the closet in increasing numbers. Athletes like Andrew Talansky, an elite cyclist and triathlete, reportedly uses CBD on the reg to treat a strained hip flexor. Swimmer and 28 gold medalist, Michael Phelps, has been known to hit the bong from time to time, apparently linking it to increased lung capacity.

The Best Cannabis Strains for Injury Recovery

Choosing the best strain for injury recovery depends a lot on your tolerance level and the type of injury sustained. Indica strains like BC Organic Apple Toffee may have a more relaxing high with physically sedating qualities that can help you chill out and let your body do the self-healing thing. Combining an indica like BC Organic SFV OG Kush with CBD may help reduce inflammation and it may also be a good combo for muscle strains and tears. Sativas like BC Organic Sour Cookies can have a more uplifting and energizing effect that could be great for muscle-fatigue recovery and shifting the mind to a more positive outlook. A hybrid strain can also bring the best of both strain characteristics.

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