A fit and healthy body is the result of regular workouts, a healthy diet and the discipline to renounce smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol. Although marijuana is mostly consumed by smoking it, many athletes view it as a better alternative to alcohol, since alcohol negatively affects muscle growth and recovery. However, do marijuana smoking athletes not accept even more than injured lungs?
Testosterone and growth hormones
There are not many studies on marijuana and muscle growth. However, a study from 2017 revealed that marijuana affects testosterone production negatively, while another study conducted in Denmark reported the opposite. Based on the human studies on the impacts of marijuana on muscle growth, it appears that there is no measurable level of hormonal difference resulting from THC’s effects on the human growth hormone system, and testosterone in particular.
It is important to understand that studies can be insignificant, and I think this is the case for marijuana and testosterone production. Having said that, the effects in humans have been inconsistent, and discrepancies are likely, in part, due to the development of tolerance. The long-term effects of marijuana use on the human endocrine systems remain unclear.
A study on the link between marijuana consumption and weight gains suggested that marijuana can help to gain weight due to the increase in appetite, which is widely referred to as “the munchies.” This is a significant finding because appetite is a big problem for many skinny people who want to build muscles. In fact, achieving a calorie surplus is the most important factor of muscle growth, apart from setting the muscle stimuli in the training. However, the benefits from the appetite increasing effects of marijuana go further than that.
While many people argue that the ravenous appetite induced by marijuana consumption leads to an unhealthy diet, it is widely reported that the taste of food increases tremendously after cannabis consumption. Therefore, it is easier to eat healthy food since healthy foods satisfy your appetite. If you are strong enough to resist the craving for chips or chocolate, you can use the boost in taste to your advantage and eat raw vegetables instead.
In fact, Bodybuilding celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger confessed marijuana consumption and former Dallas Cowboy Shaun Smith, who played in the NFL for nine seasons, admitted that “[he] smoked two blunts before every game.” Therefore, it is likely that an endurance athlete may benefit from the pain-killing and bronchodilatory effects of marijuana to get through a tough training session, and a UFC fighter who is using THC in moderate doses could actually be able to experience an enhanced focus and higher creativity, in combination with pain-numbing effects.
But including marijuana in high amounts — especially when meeting or exceeding doses of 100 mg THC — into a routine that requires sophisticated movements, has an element of hazard and or teamwork, such as a Monster Race or HellRunner, could be a formula for disaster.
The bottom line
To conclude, there is not enough information available to make a clear statement on whether marijuana prevents or supports muscle growth. However, it is proven that alcohol intoxication decreases muscle synthesis and reduces your performance on the next day due to the typical hangover experience. If you take into account that marijuana can be used as an appetite booster and that there are no direct negative effects on muscle growth, it indeed makes marijuana a better alternative to alcohol. Furthermore, there are several health benefits of CBD that should also be taken into consideration. While even small amounts of alcohol use definitely have a negative effect and contribute to health loss on a scale, the effects of marijuana are both positive and negative for your health. By all means, renouncing both remains your best option.