HelloMD: How Cannabis Affects Sports Performance & Recovery

Athletes are starting to look to cannabis for its ability to reduce anxiety, enhance focus and combat fatigue.

Athletes are starting to look to cannabis for its ability to reduce anxiety, enhance focus and combat fatigue.

Excerpt featuring Vapexhale CEO, Seibo Shen:

How Can Cannabis Be Integrated Into a Training & Recovery Regimen?

Cannabis can complement many traditional and holistic training approaches as well as supplement a recovery regimen. It’s typically easier to use cannabis for recovery than it is for performance. This is because athletes using cannabis as part of a training strategy must consider many different mental and physical factors.

When used properly, cannabis can help athletes relax and focus during workouts and competitions. For VapeXhale Founder Seibo Shen, a jiu-jitsu fighter and strength trainer for combat athletes, cannabis allows his clients to be “supple leopards”—calm, yet also dynamic and ready to spring into action.

Shen works closely with athletes to fine-tune a regimen that works best for their body. He puts an emphasis on getting his clients to establish athletic goals and then uses cannabis to help them zero in on those goals. “Weed brings you back to a child's mind,” he says. “You see something interesting and your attention focuses on that interesting thing. If we make that thing your competition—that's when we increase performance. And it's not just the weed—it's the full process.”

Shen has managed to develop a pre-workout routine that addresses a person’s unique biochemistry. Before every session, athletes in Shen’s gym partake in a five-minute yoga breathing exercise after which the athletes microdose caffeine and consume a landrace sativa strain. The yoga breathing exercise, which is typically “Breath of Fire,” a kundalini breathing technique, brings the whole class into a consistent mindset. “That way when we administer the medicine, people aren’t just super high and caffeinated, while other people are lethargic,” he says.

Integrating cannabis into a recovery regimen is much simpler: Athletes experiment to figure out how to harness cannabis’s anti-inflammatory and pain-fighting properties to suit their needs. For athletes who are using opioids to cope with pain, cannabis can either supplement opioid use or replace the drugs altogether. Sleep is one of the most important factors in helping the body heal, but it’s often disrupted for those in pain—cannabis, with its analgesic and sleep-inducing qualities, can be especially beneficial for athletes.

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