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A handful of amateur and professional athletes admit to using marijuana to boost endurance or ease pain. But doctors caution combining cannabis and exercise. Roger Boyd, a long-distance cyclist in the U.
Sweat is pouring off me, my heart is pounding, and my mouth tastes like pennies.
Exercising on drugs is a new experience for me. But about 15 minutes ago, I took a hit of marijuana and jumped on a treadmill to see how it affects my athletic performance.
Here’s what marijuana actually does to your body and brain
The societal view of a stoner is of somebody couch-bound and snacking on chips. Even the vast majority of regular cannabis users will probably tell you that the effect of the drug hinders their ability to do anything athletic at a high level. A paper found that those who smoked pot experienced a 25 percent decrease in power output. Another study found that people who ingested THC lost motor skills and experienced decreased reaction time. The World Anti-Doping Association bans cannabis use during competition, citing studies that say the drug decreases anxiety and increases airflow to the lungs.
Still, the World Anti-Doping Association bans cannabis use during competition, citing studies that say the drug decreases anxiety, potentially helping athletes stay calm in the heat of competition, and acts as a bronchiodilator, which increases airflow to the lungs.
Can pot make you a better athlete?
After popping a ten-milligram THC gummy, I experienced a slight yet very functional high. But something else stood out: I felt invincible and proceeded to attack the steepest lines without fear. That got me wondering: Could pot make me better at other sports?
To find out, I contacted physiologist Stacy Simswho recommended a battery of tests that I could perform both sober and while high to see if the drug affected my performance. Which is what led me to buy a bag, take a hit, and jump on the treadmill.
Earlier, for my control test, I set the pace at five miles per hour, increasing the ramp angle by 2.
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The goal was to see how long I could stay on. While sober, I made it 19 painful minutes. While stoned, the experience is much different.
Finally, my legs stop turning over quickly enough and I hit the stop button: I repeat the test twice more over three days, both sober and stoned, and yield similarwhich Sims confirms is a substantial performance gain. My experience is less surprising when you examine the science. Smoking pot simply puts you in that state before your body begins generating the chemical.
Even when not stoned, other aches and pains seem to dissipate, too. Humphreys says studies have shown that the drug has an anti-inflammatory effect, which is one reason why medical marijuana is so prevalent. But soon I ride straight off the trail, unable to judge my speed correctly through a turn.
Ingesting it or using a vaporizer could get around that, but a study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology showed inconsistent when the drug was consumed in ways other than smoking it. So will I smoke before I exercise from now on?
I still prefer the natural high of a hard run. Search Search.
With pro-marijuana legislation sweeping the nation, it's time to ask this very serious question. Twitter Icon.
Here’s why working out while high is probably a bad idea
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