Stronger, Faster, 'Higher'? - Is Weed The New 'Performance-Enhancing' Drug Of Choice For Pro-Athletes

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, Nov 05, 2021 - 10:40 PM

The Godfather of cannabis science says people are more motivated and feel better when using marijuana during workouts, according to Daily Beast

"One of the reasons people exercise—whether they realize it or not—is to enhance the production of anandamide," said Raphael Mechoulam, an Israeli organic chemist often referred to as the Godfather of cannabis science.

"You exercise, you feel better, and this is because of anandamide."

Mechoulam points out that someone working out for more than 30 minutes at 70–80% of maximum heart rate increases concentrations of anandamide in blood plasma. He said anandamide help cause runner's high. 

Anandamide's compound is comparable to cannabinoid that gives marijuana its psychoactive effect. Evolution has given humans anandamide to hunt animals. 

"There are multiple reward systems that act, from an evolutionary standpoint, to induce behavior," said David Raichlen, professor of biological sciences at the University of Southern California, who researches the intersection of anandamide, exercise, and evolution. 

"The two major reward systems are endocannabinoids and endorphins. Both of them are powerful pain-relievers, and so when it comes to exercise, there's a reward of pain relief, allowing you to move longer distances, consume more calories, survive longer, and pass on your genes. When these pathways enter the brain, there's a mental health reward, a good feeling."

Raichlen believes that a moderate dose of cannabinoids can help people produce anandamide faster than working out for 30 minutes. High levels of anandamide were catalysts for mood enhancement and fear reduction, along with a decrease in fear and anxiety. It has been reported that professional athletes use cannabinoid products as a performance-enhancing drug before training events or games. Others use cannabinoids before workouts. 

Cannabinoid usage has been widespread among the ultramarathon running community. They usually say the experience is "10 percent physical, 90 percent mental." The pain-relieving anti-inflammatory factors of cannabinoids allow athletes to almost painlessly participate in sporting events and make them feel more presently connected at the moment. 

It's been shown that people who hated exercising tried cannabinoids and soon loved working out. 

According to Raichlen, our evolutionary reward system makes activities like sleep, eating, and food gratifying. Exercise is also on the list, and cannabinoid usage could be a new performance-enhancing drug before a workout.