Mention cannabis and, for many people, fitness or health are the last things that come to mind. In fact, cannabis smokers are all too often seen as lazy and lacking motivation.
However, thanks to recently relaxed cannabis laws (particularly in the US & Canada), more and more athletes are starting to see the benefits of cannabis. This has given way to a new breed of athlete who is using cannabis to boost their athletic performance.
World class athletes from a myriad of sports are now coming forward and speaking openly about cannabis use and how it benefits their athletic performance. This new generation of athletes are experiencing success, not despite the fact they use cannabis, but because of it.
Let’s take a look at the athletes who are on a high thanks to weed.
Nate Diaz, UFC
Nate Diaz isn’t shy about proclaiming his appreciation for cannabis. The UFC fighter even sees cannabis as a performance-enhancing drug.
In an interview with High Times, Diaz explains how smoking marijuana helps him get through the daily grind of a monotonous training schedule:
“If I have to go and train all day, before I go, I’m gonna want to smoke. If I wake up in the morning and feel beat to shit, and it’s going to take me forever to wake up, I smoke some weed and I wake right up. Then I have breakfast and I go do a workout.”
Diaz is also a big advocate of CBD and claims vaping CBD helps with inflammation and healing during training and after fights.
Numerous studies have demonstrated the positive effect of CBD on healing, which has led to the World Doping Agency removing CBD from its list of banned substances for 2018.
George Kruis & Dominic Day, Rugby
Nate Diaz isn’t the only one to benefit from CBD. England and Wales Rugby internationals George
In fact, they are so convinced about the benefits of CBD they are launching their own business selling cannabis oil products.
Before finding CBD, Kruis was taking dozens of prescription opioid painkillers every week. Long-term side effects of opiates have been widely studied and include liver damage, brain damage, paranoia and addiction. In fact, opioids are so addictive they can sometimes cause measurable symptoms of addiction in under three days.
They are also notorious at masking chronic pain, leading to the development of more serious injuries in the long run.
Kruis & Day are campaigning to reduce the stigma attached to CBD and cannabis-related products and to promote its use as a healthier alternative to prescription opioid painkillers. They estimate there are four or five players in every major premiership club now using CBD products.
Eben Britton, NFL
Ex-NFL offensive Lineman Eben Britton has been vocal about NFL players using cannabis for pain management. Britton also states that his use of cannabis before training connects him mentally & emotionally to his body and allows him to push through those last couple of reps.
In fact, Eben vapes weed before every workout as this gives him a mental boost which allows him to push harder than would be possible without the use of cannabis.
Britton isn’t the only weed advocate in the NFL either. Other NFL weed proponents include two-time All American and Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams, Eugene Monroe, James Plummer and many others.
In fact, pain management is an important aspect of any full contact sport. And cannabis is providing a healthier, safer alternative to highly addictive, harmful opioid painkillers that NFL players are currently prescribed on a regular basis.
Matt Barnes, NBA
Golden State Warriors’ NBA winner Matt Barnes is another weed advocate. Smoking cannabis was even part of Barnes pre-match preparation as described below:
“I would smoke cannabis six hours before a game. We’d have a shoot-around in the morning, I’d come home and smoke a joint, take a nap, shower, eat and go and play.”
Barnes would smoke cannabis for a multitude of reasons including pain management, to relax and help him sleep. He also states it gives him peace of mind and leaves him clear-headed before competing.
Barnes isn’t the only NBA lighting up either. Former NBA player Kenyon Martin claims that around 85% of league players smoked cannabis during his career.
Adding cannabis to your workout..
Harvard-trained physician and cannabis therapeutics specialist
“cannabis has been shown to be good for pain control and can be useful while training at non-peak levels. Like a runner’s high, cannabis can help with endurance.”
Integrative cannabis physician
Using cannabis enables many to run longer distances, run faster or become more efficient.
To anyone looking to experiment with cannabis whilst exercising, Tishler advises to start at very small doses with non-strenuous exercise and then work up from there.
It’s also worth noting cannabis can impair judgment and motor control so should only be used in a safe setting with a familiar activity – no free running or mountain biking!
For information on how to use CBD with exercise, check out our guide here.
**If you’re a competitive athlete please check first whether your sport allows the use of cannabis.