By / September 3, 2019

Study finds that 26% of athletes use cannabis

Cannabis use among athletes is not well-researched. Pain, Exercise, and Cannabis Experience (PEACE) attempted to determine adult athletes’ frequency of use and subjective effects that they were seeking.

Three types of consumers

With 1,274 athletes and 1,161 respondents, 302 (26%) said they had used cannabis in the previous two weeks. Three types of consumers surfaced:

  • Older athletes who use cannabidiol (CBD) as a priority
  • Athletes of all ages who use cannabis (THC and CBD) mainly for recreational purposes
  • Athletes of all ages who have been using for a long time for medical or recreational reasons

The three main reasons for use are:

  • Less pain
  • Sleep aid
  • Relaxes and reduces anxiety

Athletes who use a combination of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and CBD have shown the best benefits in terms of well-being, with minimal side effects.

Interesting observations

Generally, cannabis analyses focus on behaviors related to problematic use. However, this recent study suggests that adult athletes consume cannabis responsibly, and mainly for medical problems such as pain and anxiety.

Among the users in the study, less than 30% had used cannabis recreationally only once. The 10% uses cannabis more than twice a day and 61% reported that they had used cannabis to relieve pain. In addition, these same consumers exercise at a high frequency: about 63% of them exercise five to seven days a week, and 71% of them work six to 15 hours a week.

One of the reasons for athletes’ cannabis use is for sleep aid. (Source)

Physical activity and cannabis

People with chronic pain tend to show lower levels of physical activity than healthy people. Although—there is evidence to support the use of physical activity as a treatment method to improve overall health and alleviate pain. However, early studies suggested that older cannabis users engage in more physical activities, resulting in reduced pain experience among users.

One possible mechanism involves the endocannabinoid system. Furthermore, This biological system contributes to the cognitive and physiological effects associated with physical exercise and exercise-induced euphoria. The assumption is that there is an exercise-endocannabinoid interaction, triggering, for example, the runners’ high.

View the complete study data here.

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