As more professional athletes use cannabis for fitness and recovery, that age old “lazy stoner” stereotype gets left in the dust. We know the power of cannabis and how it can help many people improve sleep, address inflammation, manage pain and help with anxiety, but many athletes are using the plant to improve their athleticism and performance.

According to Leah Spokojny, at BDS Analytics, many professional athletes have entered the cannabis market, including NFL Hall of Famer Joe Montana, six time Olympic gold medalist, Amy Van Dyken and the NBA’s Al Harrington, to name a few. Spokojny hosted a webinar called, “Fitness, Sports and Cannabis Consumption” to tackle some of the misconceptions about using cannabis in sports and share statistics that show you don’t have to be a professional athlete to take advantage of its benefits.

Perhaps One of the Biggest Misconceptions Is...

Perhaps one of the biggest misconceptions is that people who don’t consume are more active. BDS Analytics found the opposite to be true. The company discovered that when they looked at fitness activities performed on a weekly basis, they saw that consumers are actually more active than non-consumers. Thirty-two percent of consumers go to a fitness center or gym weekly as opposed to 23% of non-consumers. Twenty five percent of consumers do yoga or Pilates, while 17% of non-consumers do those activities. And finally, they found, that 39% of consumers participate in outdoor recreation, as compared to 28% of non-consumers. 

The BDS data also revealed that among adult cannabis consumers in fully legal states, 82% reported having consumed cannabis within one hour before or four hours after exercise. Of that group, 70% said that cannabis consumption made their exercise more enjoyable. Fifty-two percent said they had greater motivation and 78% reported a boost in their recovery.

What do professional athletes say?

Spokojny spoke to two professional athletes during the webinar, which you can listen to here (please note, they will ask for your contact information in order to gain access). One of those athletes is Flavie Dokken, a long distance trail runner who wants to dispel the stoner stereotype that all cannabis users are lazy.

“Something I really want to highlight, there’s definitely two different uses between the THC based only products and CBD:THC ratio type products,” Dokken said in the webinar. So pre-workout before training, before a run or a session at the gym. Usually I’ll use a small dose of a sativa type product. Usually like 10 milligrams, and that provides me with that effect of being really focused on my training. And if I don’t feel great that day, I’ll just have that extra kick and I still can have a really good training. The sativa THC type products are more for a mental aspect, and it’s really where I get the most benefit.”

Dokken goes on to say that the CBD ratio, 2:1 or 1:1 products, come into play after her workouts or on her rest days. This helps to reduce the inflammation, scar tissue and ongoing soreness she experiences from training. She says that using those CBD and THC products helps to speed up her recovery and allows her to sleep better. 

Sleep is so important to recover, and so it will help me get back at it the next day, and hopefully I’ll have a better performance overall on race day,” she said in the webinar.

Can Cannabis Help With Insomnia and Other Sleep Problems?

It’s also important to start with a low dose, says Dokken. “A little goes a long way. We’re not looking to impair anything, so yes, I run trials and I’ll schedule a training and conduct it like an experiment and see how I feel as time goes by and during my workout.”

Earlier in the year, Cannabis Aficionado came out with a list of 20 athletes who advocate legalizing cannabis and champion its use in fitness and training. Among those on the list? Eugene Monroe from the NFL, MMA fighter Liz Carmouche and NHL player Riley Cote. And the sports run the gamut – from athletes in pro tennis to yoga to long distance runners, to the NBA. Cannabis enhances a variety of fitness and movements.

The advocates don’t stop there

Former New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is a partner in the company, Abacus Health Products and announced a partnership with Gillette Stadium and Patriot Place. He had begun to use the company’s line of topical treatments to help relieve pain from his career of sports injuries.

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