Cannabis and Sport: which are the real benefits?

Cannabis and Sport: which are the real benefits?


Does Cannabis have impact on the health states of athletes and on their performance during training and competitions? In order to understand more about it, we quote a research published last August, entitled  “Cannabis and the Health and Performance of the Elite Athlete” .

Studies combining sport and cannabis are at the moment scarce, however, some first data demonstrate in the first place that there is no evidence on cannabis improving performance during competitions and workouts.

Even though there isn’t a clear picture yet on how many professional athletes utilize cannabis, researchers state that it is possible to talk about the effectiveness of cannabinoids ‘limited’ to pain management.

“Although evidence of severe damage on the health of athletes, deriving from the use of cannabis, are limited, it is necessary to be conscious of possible abuse. Not possessing clear knowledge on the prevalence of cannabis consumption by professional athletes, the use of it is associated to some sports in particular. There is no evidence of the use of cannabis as a medical drug improving performance”.

Who are the sportspeople consuming Cannabis?

The investigations conducted have demonstrated how the use of cannabis varies, depending on gender and type of sport. In the championship of women’s professional basketball (NCAA), 61% of the athletes use cannabis with social and recreational purposes, while only a 0.6% has declared to use cannabis with the objective to improve their performances. 

Contrasting literature is available on the consumption of cannabis amongst professional and non-professional athletes; some studies underline the prevalence of cannabis use amongst élite athletes and others state the contrary, this difference can be referred to the habits and perceptions existing with regards to cannabis. 

The preliminary conclusion the researchers reached, was that the consumption of cannabis is associated more to social characteristics than to sports performance.   

Studies on Cannabis and Sport

Amongst the first researchers exploring the potential beneficial effects of cannabis in sports, we can find Christopher Steadman and Anvesha Singh.

In a test, realized in 1975, 20 volunteers were asked to inhale 1,4 g of cannabis containing 1,3% THC through a glass tube; also a placebo solution was used, consisting of a variety of cannabis without THC. 


The individuals were tested on muscular force, physical work capacity, forced vital capacity (FVC) and expiration volume. No noteworthy variations were identified.
Up to the early Eighties scientists and researchers agreed on the fact that the use of cannabis amongst sportspeople had more dangerous aspects than advantages, today however, it is used entirely or in single extracts, like CBD, to soothe pain, contrast inflammatory states or a moment of relaxation after an intense race.

Wada, CBD isn’t doping 

A decision affirmed by the World Anti-Doping Agency confirming the beneficial effects of CBD especially in cases of injury and after sports activities with high physical impact. 

Belonging to sports with a high level of stress for our bodies are ultramarathons, contact sports like wrestling, boxing or American football.

After-competition insomnia

Many sportspeople after an intense performance, may it be a team or an individual sport, have difficulty getting to sleep and in this case cannabidiol could be useful.

Quoting a preclinical study conducted in Great Britain at the Porton Down Science Park, hypotheses arose on how CBD could influence sleep. 

However CBD alone might not be enough to have a good quality of sleep and it is necessary to combine the intake of cannabidiol with good and practical habits as well, like resting in a quiet environment, away from electronic devices and to avoid consuming, for example, excess caffeine.


The World Anti-Doping Agency confirms the positive effects of CBD, the main extract of the hemp plant



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