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Is Marijuana a Efficiency-Enhancing Drug?

In 2021, the Worldwide Olympic Committee (IOC) banned American sprinter, Sha’Carri Richardson, from the Tokyo Olympics after she examined constructive for marijuana.

This naturally led to a media brouhaha with some people rebuking the IOC for banning an athlete for a leisure drug, and others blasting Richardson for being so careless as to place a banned substance in her physique proper earlier than the Olympics. 

This additionally quickened a longstanding debate in sports activities: is marijuana efficiency enhancing?

Many gym-goers are curious to know the reply to a associated query: will marijuana intrude with my positive aspects? 

On this article, we’re going to dive into the scientific analysis to provide you evidence-based solutions to each questions. You’ll be taught what marijuana is, whether or not it enhances athletic efficiency or impedes muscle development, and extra.

What Is Marijuana?

“Marijuana” refers back to the dried leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds of the Hashish sativa or Hashish indica plant—a plant that comprises the mind-altering chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

The Chinese language have used marijuana as an analgesic (pain-relieving) and psychoactive drug since round 2700 BC. At present, marijuana is essentially the most extensively used illicit drug globally. An estimated 188 million adults worldwide used marijuana in 2017, which is just below 4% of the worldwide grownup inhabitants.





Is Marijuana A Efficiency-Enhancing Drug?

There are a number of ways in which marijuana might have an effect on efficiency. Let’s take into account every individually.

Marijuana and Cardio Efficiency

In a review carried out by scientists at St. Vincent’s Hospital Medical Faculty, researchers analyzed the outcomes of 15 research and located that marijuana had no constructive results on cardio efficiency. Particularly, the researchers discovered that smoking marijuana hastens fatigue, increases perceived exertion, decreases work capability (the quantity of train you’re capable of full), and makes you are feeling dizzy, which may stop you from finishing your exercise. 

One other review carried out by scientists on the College of Toronto examined 4 research that checked out marijuana’s impact on cardio efficiency and located that two research confirmed marijuana had no impact, and two research confirmed marijuana negatively impacted efficiency.

Lastly, a latest umbrella review (a evaluation of a number of opinions) concluded that:

“Hashish consumption has an ergolytic impact on train efficiency and subsequently doesn’t act as a sport efficiency enhancing agent as raised by widespread beliefs. Thus, hashish consumption previous to train ought to be prevented in an effort to maximize efficiency in sports activities.”

Moreover, research exhibits that long-term marijuana smoking can severely impair respiratory well being. Whereas this isn’t direct proof that marijuana use stymies cardio efficiency, it makes it troublesome to see how marijuana may have a good impact.

In different phrases, it’s not a stretch of the creativeness to suppose that smoking grass hurts your lung well being, and thus your endurance. 

Marijuana and Power

Solely two research have investigated the impact of marijuana use on energy. One discovered that energy was unaffected by marijuana use, whereas the other reported that “weak point was clearly demonstrated” after utilizing marijuana, although it didn’t give extra element.

Each research solely measured grip energy and neither used athletes as contributors, although, so it’s not clear if these outcomes apply to weightlifters. 

Whereas it’s purely speculative, some researchers imagine that marijuana might enhance energy by means of bronchodilation (enjoyable the muscle tissue within the lungs and widening the airways). 

Research exhibits that beta-2 agonists (medication that trigger bronchodilation) corresponding to salbutamol, salmeterol, formoterol, and terbutaline can enhance energy, dash, and energy efficiency in nonasthmatic folks. 

Since short-term marijuana use is related to bronchodilation, it may theoretically have an analogous impact to different beta-2 agonists (although this has by no means been confirmed in research).

Lastly, for energy to be successfully employed in a sporting context, you should be targeted and exact. That’s, you might be extraordinarily sturdy however fail to specific that energy successfully in case you have bother concentrating and utilizing good approach. 

Analysis exhibits that utilizing marijuana can hinder hand-eye coordination, focus, and decision-making, which can enhance the possibilities that you just don’t use your energy if you want it. 

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Marijuana and Muscle Progress

No research have appeared on the results of marijuana on muscle development, so it’s unattainable to attract any agency conclusions about how grass impacts your positive aspects.

Even hypothesis is troublesome as a result of there’s a lot conflicting analysis. 

On the one hand, research on how marijuana impacts anabolic (muscle-building) hormones exhibits that THC drastically lowers testosterone in rats and rhesus monkeys. However, human trials are a blended bag, with some displaying THC lowers testosterone and growth hormone and others discovering that it has no effect.

If we take these findings along with what we learn about how marijuana may affect energy and your capability to coach successfully, there’s sufficient motive to imagine that marijuana may hinder your capability to construct muscle (even not directly), which implies that it’s best to most likely avoid it if constructing muscle is your high precedence.

Marijuana and Ache

Athletes have used hashish to alleviate ache for millennia (it was one of many components within the “Fuscum Olympionico inscriptum,” or the Olympic Victors Darkish Ointment used on the basic Olympics).

A big meta-analysis carried out by scientists on the College of Bristol that included 79 research and a complete of 6,462 contributors discovered proof that marijuana can deal with ache and spasticity (muscle spasms). 

Thus, marijuana might not directly enhance athletic efficiency by serving to athletes cope with the aches and pains that accompany common competitors. 

What’s extra, research exhibits that smoking marijuana will increase ache tolerance, which can additionally give athletes a aggressive edge by permitting them to coach and compete by means of ache which may sideline different athletes.

Marijuana and Restoration

Sleep is crucial for many athletes as a result of it offers the physique an opportunity to recuperate from the pains of coaching and the mind a break from the strain of standard competitors.

Studies present that marijuana can enhance sleep period, which can enhance efficiency by aiding restoration.

Marijuana and Anxiousness

Marijuana lowers nervousness, which helps some athletes to succeed in a “movement state” and be extra inventive. It could additionally scrub “fear memories,” so athletes are much less afraid of what may go flawed and extra more likely to carry out with out the worry of failure.

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Primarily based on the burden of the scientific proof, it’s affordable to conclude that marijuana doesn’t enhance athletic efficiency and will even stop you from acting at your greatest (particularly in endurance sports activities).

The one means that marijuana might not directly enhance efficiency is thru its capability to advertise restoration, which it primarily does by making it simpler to sleep. It could additionally enhance your capability to deal with ache, which may support efficiency in some eventualities. Nevertheless, when you’re injury-free, it’s unlikely to have any constructive affect in your athletic talents.

Some folks imagine that marijuana will increase creativity and makes it simpler to enter a “movement state,” although that is purely anecdotal and might not be the identical for everybody (some research present that smoking marijuana makes it harder to pay attention and hinders decision-making).

FAQ #1: Is Marijuana Secure?

Many individuals consider marijuana as a light drug with medicinal advantages with fewer hostile well being results than related authorized substances corresponding to alcohol.

And whereas research exhibits that marijuana is efficient at treating some medical circumstances, together with ache, nervousness, and despair, and safer than alcohol in some methods, it’s most likely an overstatement to seek advice from marijuana as “protected.”

For instance, analysis exhibits that common long-term marijuana use is related to . . .

FAQ #2: Does marijuana improve athletic efficiency?


Most analysis exhibits that utilizing marijuana both has no impact in your athletic efficiency or prevents you from acting at your greatest.

That mentioned, utilizing marijuana might enhance your restoration and allow you to cope with ache higher, which implies it might not directly improve athletic efficiency in some conditions.

FAQ #3: D​​oes weed have an effect on muscle development?

There’s no analysis taking a look at how “weed” (marijuana) impacts muscle development instantly. 

Nevertheless, marijuana might make you weaker (not less than for a short while) and might make you much less proficient at duties that require coordination, each of which might hinder your capability to coach successfully and will lower the quantity of muscle you construct over time.

FAQ #4: Can smoking weed make you lose muscle?


It could hinder how shortly you construct muscle, although, by making . . .

  • Your exercises really feel harder
  • You are feeling drained
  • You weaker
  • You much less capable of carry out workout routines successfully

Thus, it’s smart to keep away from marijuana if you wish to acquire muscle and energy as shortly as doable.

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