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Can Cannabis Help Heal Sports Injuries?

Sports injuries are sometimes unavoidable, but that doesn't mean recovering from sprains and fractures has to be unbearable. Thanks to modern medicine and well-established therapies, getting through the ordeal is a lot more manageable than how things were a few years back. But what if you’re apprehensive about taking painkillers or allergic to certain medicines? Cannabis consumption, surprisingly, provides athletes with another option.

How to Take Weed

There are plenty of different ways to consume cannabis, each with their own set of advantages:

  • Joints and Blunts - Dried cannabis leaves are rolled up in either a thin layer of paper (for joints) or dried tobacco leaves (blunts). The joints or blunts are consumed just like a cigarette.
  • Pipes - Again, dried cannabis leaves are gathered and put in a small "bowl" (a metal container with a filtered hole at the bottom). This method is similar to smoking tobacco using a wooden pipe.
  • Water Pipes or Bongs - Water pipes work by creating a vacuum to draw the smoke from an ignited bowl of cannabis into a chamber in one go. The smoke passes through the water, which filters out unwanted particles in the smoke. Once the chamber is filled with smoke, the user releases the pressure in the pipe and draws in the smoke in one go.
  • Edibles - Extracted cannabis oil is mixed into the ingredients which are then consumed normally.
  • Topical - Ground-up cannabis leaves or extract are mixed with a medium such as a cream or base liquid so it can be applied to different parts of the body, either by spreading or spraying.

Choosing the best method of consuming cannabis greatly depends on the user's preferences or the nature of the injury even, as you know, we always recommend edibles, as it is the healthiest way to consume cannabis. For example, those who have sensitive respiratory systems can still consume cannabis as baked cookies or brownies if they wish, while topical methods can help speed up relief from localized muscle pain or inflammation.

Why Does Cannabis Work?

Many cannabis consumers know that weed works for them, but what exactly makes weed a suitable treatment for people recovering from sports injuries? The answer lies in the cannabinoid that can be found in cannabis, specifically tetrahydrocannabinol or THC and cannabidiol or CBD.

The human body has an endocannabinoid system or ECS, a group of cannabinoid receptors found in the brain and throughout the central and peripheral nervous system. The ECS is made up of two kinds of receptors, known as cannabinoid receptor 1 and 2 (CB1 and CB2), that use endocannabinoids to transmit messages and direct what cells should do.

The molecular structure of THC and CBD are closely similar to the endocannabinoids produced by the human body, making them compatible with the ECS. THC is mainly responsible for the psychoactive effects of marijuana, while CBD is known for causing a relaxing effect.

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How Does Cannabis Help To Recover from Sport Injuries?

By knowing how THC and CBD in cannabis work on the human body, it's possible to enumerate the different ways weed can be used during the healing process. 

Pain Relief

Cannabis is a popular medicine for people suffering from migraine because of THC's effect on the nervous system's pain receptors.  In the same way, the plant helps relieve muscle pain, especially during the first few days of the recovery process when the pain is greatest. Injuries that require surgeries will often cause lingering post-surgical pain, and consuming weed at low doses can be enough to help stave off that pain with very little side effects.

Inflammation

One of the most important effects of THC and CBD on the human body is their effect on the immune system, which is partially responsible for triggering inflammation in damaged tissues. The anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis works hand-in-hand with the analgesic effects of the weed's cannabinoids, and works best when the cannabis is applied as a topical medicine.

Stress Relief

Recreational cannabis users like weed because of how CBD can relax their mind. This effect is also something athletes can benefit from. Athletes, while recovering from an injury, must deal with immense physical pain. At the same time, sports-related injuries can also cause a lot of stress that may severely hamper the athlete’s mobility and recovery.

Lower Risk of Addiction

Weed's non-addictive properties are very important for athletes, especially for those in the competitive scene. Athletes using conventional pain relief options such as opiates and pain killers have a high chance of developing an addiction to certain drugs. Compared to other pain relief medications, medical marijuana in any form has a lower chance of causing withdrawal symptoms after treatment is finished, making it a lot safer to use.

Tips on Consuming Cannabis

There are a few things to keep in mind if you want to get the best result from consuming cannabis for physical injuries. Here are just some of the guidelines you should keep in mind.

  • Pick the right strains - Different strains of weed have different ratio of THC and CBD. For pain relief, you'd usually want to go for strains that have a low THC to CBD ratio, since CBD plays a greater role in cutting down inflammation and pain.
  • Try topical first - Although any form of cannabis consumption will yield quick results, athletes prefer using cannabis-based topical creams or ointments when dealing with pain and inflammation because they tend to deliver the fastest results.
  • Lay off the bong - In case of internal injuries where topical options aren't possible, consider eating baked brownies or cookies. Bongs and pipes can be too much for first-time cannabis consumers and you might end up choking. Also, smoking can expose you to debris and pollution that can irritate your lungs.

Constant research on cannabis and its medical usage has revealed the many benefits of THC and CBD. As more areas in the country and the rest of the world become more accepting of cannabis consumption, it may only be a matter of time before weed becomes the go-to solution for people recovering from sports-related injuries.

Research And Studies Show That Cannabis May Be Able To Help With Sports Injuries