It’s the start of 2019, and people are feeling motivated to embrace their New Year’s resolutions and work towards living a healthier lifestyle. Whether it’s by lifting weights at the gym, joining a running club or trying CrossFit, many of us are strengthening our bodies in new ways this month.
If you’ve gone from minimal physical activity to working out daily, you may be experiencing some discomfort as you embark on your fitness journey. Muscle pain, inflammation, and headaches are all common conditions that can pop up after a tough workout.
But beyond the ache of a tired muscle or tight hips, there is a more serious risk that threatens fitness newbies and pro-athletes alike: injuries.
We are inspired to put together this article on cannabis as an aide for active people because some of our own patients have been using it as their pain reliever. Whether it’s for after a long day at the ski hill or if they want to tolerate a muscle strain that needs to heal. Or simply because they don’t want to rely on over-the-counter or prescription painkillers.
Is There a Safer Way to Treat Injury Pain?
We hear about the devastating injuries incurred by pro-athletes on a regular basis, especially those in contact sports like football or mixed martial arts. With their careers on the line, how do these elite athletes recover from their injuries?
Sadly, many athletes turn to opioid-based medications; drugs that are highly addictive and often ineffective in treating long term conditions. These habit-forming drugs aren’t just recommended for professional athletes. Your GP may even prescribe them for your fitness related injuries.
It is not uncommon for these potent opioids to be misused, and the impact can be devastating.
Statistics Canada revealed on their website that 11 lives were lost to opioid overdose every day in 2017. This shocking number occurred in part to the high rates of opioid prescribing, and many are now seeking alternatives to manage their pain.
With the continuation of the opioid crisis, many sports enthusiasts and physicians alike are turning to a natural, effective pain reliever: cannabis.
How Cannabis Can Help Calgary Athletes and Fitness Fans Alike
Cannabis contains powerful healing compounds known as phytocannabinoids. These chemicals are very similar to the endocannabinoids our cells make themselves. These phytocannabinoids interact with receptors in our bodies and help return balance, known as homeostasis, to our organ systems. This can help:
- Reduce Inflammation
- Relieve pain
- Relieve headaches
- Reduce anxiety
- Facilitate healing of wounds
- Improve sleep
Interestingly, the endocannabinoids produced in our body (specifically anandamide) have been linked with the feelings of euphoria and pain reduction reported by endurance athletes. This study suggests that endocannabinoids are partially responsible for the famous “runner’s high”, furthering the idea that cannabinoids have great potential in offering natural pain relief for sports-related injuries and fatigue.
In addition, the anti-anxiety properties of cannabis may be effective in reducing pre-competition stress for athletes. The sedative effects may improve sleep quality and help achieve deeper levels of relaxation before partaking in a strenuous workout.
Cannabis in the Spotlight
Due to the powerful healing and anti-anxiety benefits, many celebrities are beginning open up about their cannabis use to treat their sports-related injuries and performance.
UFC fighter Nick Diaz publicly vaped CBD oil while promoting its use for healing and recovery. Canadian Snowboarder Ross Rebagliati has been discussing the benefits of cannabis for athletes since his controversial win at the 1998 Winter Olympics.
Nate Diaz is smoking a CBD Vape pen at the UFC 202 press conference
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) August 21, 2016
In addition to the relaxation and anti-inflammatory effects, Rebagliati believes cannabis helps keep him motivated to train and also aides in stimulating his appetite – both important factors to maintaining his healthy lifestyle.
With so many athletes coming forward in support of CBD, the legislation around medical cannabis is beginning to change.
In 2018, the World Anti-Doping Agency has removed synthetic cannabidiol from its list of banned substances. CBD has no psychoactive properties and is not considered to be performance enhancing, so it can now be used openly by competitive athletes to help manage pain and anxiety.
What Is the Future of Cannabis in Sports Medicine?
It is clear that the potential benefits of cannabis in sports medicine are extensive. From preparing to exercise, recovery and the treatment of injuries, it appears that cannabis can benefit a variety of sports-related conditions.
Unfortunately, the stigma attached to marijuana has deterred many from seeking out a treatment that involves medical cannabis.
However, with the legalization of cannabis here in Canada, many are becoming more open about the possibility of exploring this natural medicine. With scientific evidence continuing to support the benefits of medical marijuana in the sports world, further research on the topic is vital in the future.
Seeking Pain Relief in Calgary with Medical Cannabis
The best way to know if medical cannabis can help you manage your aches and strains is to come in for a medical consult with a physician at one of our medical cannabis clinics in Calgary.
Your appointment is free and covered by Alberta Health Services. Prior to your medical consultation with one of our licensed physicians, you will be educated on how medical cannabis works in our body and how it reacts to our endocannabinoid system.
During your education session with a Cann-Expert, you will learn:
- The main differences between an Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid strain
- Benefits of THC, CBD, and Balanced strains
- Our unique Endocannabinoid Systems (ECS)
- The timing of inhalation vs ingestion
At the time of your consultation, your Revolution Medical Cannabis doctor will review your medical history and ensure that cannabis will not conflict with any medications you’re currently taking.
Our Calgary medical cannabis doctors will then prescribe the best treatment plan for you. Our team will guide you in selecting a licensed producer as well as the registration.
They will also help evaluate if you are in fact over-exerting and could use some rest in between workouts. In addition to prescribing the best treatment plan from you, we may point you to a specialist that can assess your injury. We want you to heal optimally, along with finding immediate pain relief.
Facing an athletic injury or a strain? Schedule your free medical cannabis consultation with a doctor today!
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