A group of researchers in Colorado conducted a study on how the use of cannabis affects athletes. They found that there is a possible role between cannabis and pain management.
This study investigated the patterns of cannabis use and its effects in a community-based sample of grown-up athletes. The study, entitled “Cannabis use in active athletes: Behaviors related to subjective effects,” is conducted for Canna Research Group.
The authors said that there had been no previous academic research on the subjective effects of cannabis use for adult athletes.
According to one of the researchers, Dr. Joanna Zeiger, athletes are typically anxious and do not sleep well. That’s why they wanted to see what percentage of adult athletes use cannabis, the patterns of weed consumption, and the effects.
Zeiger said that part of her motivation for doing this research came from her athletic career in the past. She was a professional triathlete from 1998 to 2010, winning multiple Ironman events and placing fourth in the 2000 Olympics. However, a bike accident in 2009 resulted in a broken collarbone, as well as neuropathic and structural damage to her rib cage. Because of the chronic pain caused by her injuries, she eventually had to use cannabis.
She recalled that at the time, there was a huge stigma against using medical marijuana. And when the drug was legalized in the state, the barrier of stigma was taken away, and she was no longer reluctant to share her personal experience.
How the study was conducted
In order to put the word out to as many athletes as possible, an online survey was conducted among English-speaking athletes aged 21 and above.
Results showed that 301 out of 1,161 athletes who completed the survey reported being current weed users. Majority of these cannabis users are males over 40 years old. Also, more than half of the group reported using the drug up to three times per week.
Sr. William Silvers, a professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine who helped with the research, explained that they looked to address a defined population of active and healthy athletes. They wanted to see the role cannabis plays, and the effects it has on this population.
Results of the study
The study found that cannabis use had an effect on the well-being of the athlete. It also had varying calming and adverse side effects. These adverse side effects include paranoia and anxiety.
Moreover, the study showed that using a combination of CBD and THC was the most beneficial to athletes’ well-being, had the most calming factors, and had lesser adverse effects.
Athletes reported that they use weed primarily for their medical conditions, such as anxiety and chronic pain. A combination of CBD and THC offered them greater relief from chronic pain and anxiety compared to just CBD.
More demographics next time
There will be more studies into cannabis consumption and certain other groups. Silvers and Zeiger even want to do research on the effects of cannabis use in more demographics. They also want to look into long-term effects.