Muscle Sport Magazine

How to Use Cannabis as a Recovery Tool

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As the saying goes, muscles are built in rest, not in training. No matter how hard you hit the weight rack, you need to give your body ample time to recover, allowing your muscles time to repair and grow even stronger than before. Experts say you should rest a worked muscle group for at least one or two days post-training — but you might be able to shave time off your recovery by using weed.

Marijuana isn’t usually considered to be a performance-enhancing drug, considering how it fogs the mind and dramatically impairs coordination. Still, cannabis can be a viable tool in recovery, if you know how to use the drug properly.

Understanding Marijuana’s Useful Effects

Cannabis is more than a drug that makes users high. Research has uncovered all kinds of evidence that compounds within cannabis have beneficial effects on the body and mind. This is largely thanks to cannabis’s impact on the endocannabinoid system, which regulates internal temperature, metabolism, memory storage, pain expression and so much more. Sometimes, the endocannabinoid system doesn’t function efficiently or suitably to ensure health and wellness, so using cannabis products can improve comfort and facilitate healing in important ways.

After a tough workout, your muscles are likely to be tight and inflamed from use. Your immune response might be lower because your body’s resources are devoted to repairing the damage in your target muscles. You need to eat, to give your systems enough energy to heal, and you need to alleviate any soreness and pain that might have developed as a result of your training. Fortunately, compounds within cannabis can help with all of this.

The two most prominent cannabinoids, THC and CBD, work together to relax the mind and body. Studies show that CBD reduces pain and inflammation, while THC boosts immunity and metabolic rate. Additionally, other compounds called terpenes can have more minor but just as useful calming and healing effects. In total, cannabis

Deploying Weed in Recovery Appropriately

There are dozens of good reasons that weed isn’t a drug typically used by high-performance athletes and body builders. The main compound within cannabis, THC, binds with receptors in the brain and body, impairing judgement, reducing motor control, interfering with metabolic processes and more. Doping scandals in sport rarely concern marijuana because it severely impairs performance, and most athletes tend to stay away before a big match or race.

Though some endurance athletes swear by weed as a pre-workout, most athletes benefit most from cannabis in the hours or days after an exceedingly difficult training session. As soon as you start to feel the tightness or soreness associated with an intense workout, you should take a small dose of cannabinoids, only increasing your dose if you don’t start to feel effects within an hour or so (depending on your method of consumption.

Though cannabis’s effects last only a few hours at most, cannabinoids can linger in your system for days, even weeks. It generally isn’t a good idea to use cannabis as a recovery tool if you are drug tested regularly or randomly, and you should probably cease use for a couple weeks before a competition that might test you for THC. However, it is worth noting that most sports associations are beginning to accept medical and recreational marijuana as legal and legitimate, so tests for THC even in athletic competitions are increasingly rare.

Buying the Best Cannabis Products for Rest

Not all cannabis products are created equal, especially when it comes to products developed and marketed as recovery tools. Because CBD is not psychoactive and is legal in most states, most cannabis products readily available in drug stores are CBD-only. While these products can offer some benefits, they aren’t the full-service recovery tools that true, THC-containing marijuana products are. For these, you will need to visit marijuana dispensaries in your state or in neighboring states.

Depending on the severity of your post-workout symptoms, you might want to apply for a medical marijuana card to access the highest-quality cannabis products in your state. In some places, like Oklahoma, getting a medical marijuana license isn’t particularly difficult; it only requires a visit to your doctor and a hundred dollars or so to apply to the state marijuana board.

As for what type of product you use — that is entirely at your discretion. You might be less interested in inhaling, though marijuana smoke has been found to cause no respiratory damage and actually heal lung tissues. Topicals will only provide effects to a small area of tissues directly around where you apply the lotion or salve; they don’t provide the all-over effects that most athletes need. Edibles, like gummies and baked goods, take a little longer to kick in and can be much less predictable in terms of effects. You might find the best results with a marijuana oil, administered under the tongue.

Rest is important to building a strong body and mind, and using recovery tools can make your rest periods even more impactful. Cannabis won’t help your performance in the gym, but it could change how your body recovers and make you feel healthier and stronger than ever before.

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