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marijuana and muscle growth

How Does Weed Affect Muscle Growth?

Weed and muscle growth? Well, that’s controversial.

These days, most people know that weed isn’t that bad for you. It can be debated whether it’s actually more healthy than alcohol.

But does smoking weed affect muscle growth and athletic performance?

Does it affect the hormonal milieu in your body? Does it promote weight gain or even weight loss?

First of all, I do smoke weed occasionally, but that’s not what it’s about today.

But lately, I reconsidered that habit of mine. If you studied the effects of cannabis use on the testosterone levels – you’d reconsider it as well. But more on that later.

Cannabis, marijuana, sativa, weed, dope, ganja – there are many names. you might remember the legendary scene from the classic Pumping Iron, in which Arnold Schwarzenegger smoked a joint.

So, hey – if the king of bodybuilding could build ones of the best bodies on this planet while smoking weed, then everybody can do that, right?

In this article, you will learn more about the effects of smoking weed in the context of muscle growth and fat loss.

We all know that certain athletes train and live in completely different conditions.

It would be simply stupid if one wanted to transfer the principles of a well-trained Schwarzenegger to a natural beginner.

What follows is a scientific, objective review of weed, based on the lead question, “What if cannabis was an ordinary supplement?

Let’s get right into it.

How does Weed affect Muscle Growth & Fat Loss?

The concept of homeostasis has its roots in biology and refers to the active balance between anabolic (i.e. tissue building) and catabolic (i.e. tissue degrading) activities that cancel each other out.

This ensures that the status quo is kept and no changes are realized. (End result is, for example, a relatively constant body weight with the same composition over many years).

Attempting to reduce body fat mass or grow muscle is – at least for the most part – a significant departure from the body’s homeostasis.

An intended departure that affects either the anabolic or catabolic activity of the body.

If your body gets signaled that it HAS to adapt, a change takes place in the body tissue (as the catabolic side dominates, you lose muscle or fats, if the anabolic side dominated, the other way around).

When this process is complete, your body will go back to homeostasis will reach a new equilibrium in which it will adapt to the current condition of the body.

The reason why I mention all this is due to the way weed works – which, of course, also applies to smoke. Or to put it more specifically:

1. Cannabis can improve survival at the cellular level or induce cell death.

2. Cannabis can inhibit or even induce/enhance the action of the adenyl cyclase enzyme. – Important for human tissue.

3. Cannabis can provide a balance between neurogenesis and neurodegeneration.

4. Cannabis can both increase and reduce estrogen.

5. Cannabis can reduce or increase carnitine palmitoyltransferase expression and activity – depending on the cell type.

6. The activity (agonism) of cannabinoid receptors of THCs can even be counteracted by other components of cannabis.

The use of cannabis seems to be able to affect a whole range of body functions through the cannabinoid system. Some reactions appear to have a positive effect on homeostasis some don’t. Pretty confusing isn’t it?

Weed: Ingredients & Metabolism

Weed, or known as cannabis, contains the psychoactive substance tetrahydrocannabinol. the actual name is delta-9-tetrahydohydro-cannabinol, but let’s stay with THC.

THC affects not only the nervous system but also the endocannabinoid system and thus has a certain influence on the perception and the psyche of humans.

The exact potential for addiction and harmfulness is a controversial topic in today’s society.

As with alcohol, chronic cannabis users show tolerance development, but there are many advocates who claim that cannabis use is less harmful than alcohol and can even be healthy.

Cannabis use is a double-edged sword – a coin with two sides, it has advantages and disadvantages.

It is the only plant known to date that acts on the endocannabinoid system of the body (consisting of the receptors cannabinoid 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid 2 (CB2)).

The perceived “high” is the result of acute consumption. Only a few know that the THC is stored in the fatty tissue, from where it finally licks “droplets” and enters the circulatory circuit (which is why you fail at a drug test weeks after consumption).

The metabolism of THC occurs through hydroxylation and oxidation reactions via the liver.

The THC leftovers are excreted via urine.

Weed & Testosterone

Now it gets a bit more interesting.

What is the effect of weed on the body’s own testosterone levels?

Studies in rats given a dose of 3-6 mg/kg for a test period of 36 days show that testosterone levels have been reduced by as much as half (already at 3 mg/kg).

The decrease is thought to be due to the decrease in 3?HSD activity, an enzyme crucial to testosterone synthesis.

Another study shows an inhibitory effect of gonadotropin-induced testosterone synthesis as a result of THC administration.

In addition, there is also a correlation between THC and progesterone, a sex hormone.

Testosterone reduction was also demonstrated by Barnett in 1983.

In this study, the subjects received intravenous THC over a period of 50 minutes. The testosterone level in the test group decreased significantly over the subsequent hours compared to the placebo group (5.5 +/- 0.5ng / mL placebo group vs 3.5 +/- 0.5ng / mL THC group.)

All points in one direction:

“In humans, the results are somewhat mixed. Not all studies show a decrease in testosterone yet the significance of the result is a ‘minor, statistically insignificant’ drop to 1 / 3rd suppression of testosterone levels. Overall, it appears to be a suppression of free levels of testosterone in males and females after smoking cannabis. “(Source)

Interestingly, such results were not found in isolated THC administration, suggesting that other components of cannabis sativa are responsible for the decrease in endogenous testosterone levels. (Source)

I think it should be clear: if you want to build muscle mass, you need high testosterone levels, because the more testosterone, the better.

Further hormonal effects from smoking weed affect some other key hormones.

The Cone study notes a short-term increase in growth hormone (from 1ng / mL to 2ng / mL) compared to the control group.

The luteinizing hormone, on the other hand, decreases in acute cannabis use (in the male: responsible for sperm maturation, in the woman responsible for ovulation), although this effect does not seem to be of a long-term nature.

Smoking weed also causes an increase in the circulating cortisol level (stress hormone).

Weed and Body Fat

One last point that may be worth addressing is the impact of cannabis use on body fat.

Cannabidiol (a phytocannabinoid) contained in cannabis has the properties of an adrenergic ?-2 agonist (which is responsible for the stimulation of adrenoceptors).

Thus, the substance acts in the exact opposite direction of the popular fat burner supplement Yohimbine. This basically means that it has a beneficial effect on the maintenance of fat deposits. -No one wants that.

So if you want to lose body fat, you’d better drink a cup of green tea instead of rolling a joint.

Does smoking weed affect muscle growth and athletic performance? You will learn more about the effects of smoking weed on muscle growth and fat loss.

Marijuana’s Effects on Your Weight Training Mission to Build More Muscle and Strength

Is marijuana the wonder drug your workouts have been missing? Or will smoking weed only send your fitness goals up in smoke?

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People’s perceptions of weed have changed drastically over the years. Once a ritual tied to flighty hippies and sloth-like stoners, marijuana has become an elixir for those suffering from insomnia, cancer, and chronic pain.

For Kyle Kingsbury, a retired mixed martial artist, pot became the only reliable non-pill pain reliever.

Kingsbury was a football player at Arizona State who eventually parlayed his athleticism into a career as an MMA fighter on the television show The Ultimate Fighter, then in the UFC. The rigors of his training weren’t without their setbacks, though. Kingsbury was in so much pain at night he’d take four Advil to get to sleep, sometimes popping four more before training. So he circled back to pot as an alternative method of relief.

But first he did his research. He read about cannabidiol (CBD)—a non-intoxicating ingredient in marijuana—which studies have shown has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and an ability to protect neurons in the brain, helping to stave off diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. He learned that THC (tetrahydracannibinol)—the active ingredient in pot that actually gets you high—may also have similar neuroprotective effects.

Kingsbury began experimenting with a combination of THC and CBD, knowing how many blows he was taking to the head.

9 Ways Weed Can Help (or Hurt) Athletic Performanc.

How does it affect hard-training athletes?

Kingbury found what a number of high-level athletes, from MMA fighters to bodybuilders, have also discovered: Marijuana works for their training and recovery.

It breaks up the tedium, it stills the brain, it relieves pain, and it helps them get a good night’s sleep. Anecdotally, some athletes claim it allows them to train longer and harder and lift heavier weights, says Sue Sisley, a physician who’s heavily involved in medical marijuana research.

Studies on the benefits of marijuana for athletes are mostly non-existent because weed is still classified as a Schedule 1 drug on par with heroin. And with that fact unlikely to change anytime soon given the current political climate, many professional athletes are afraid to admit to using it for fear of punishment or condemnation, even as pot becomes legal for medical or recreational use in an increasing number of states. But others, especially retired athletes, like Kingsbury, are ready to come out and say they believe we’re only scratching the surface of the benefits between cannabis and human performance.

“It’s the pinnacle of the stigma that folks who use this plant are lazy stoners,” Sisley says. “Some of the people who are using cannabis throughout their training are often the picture of health.”

Increasingly, physicians like Sisley are beginning to see the same thing.

Perceptions are shifting so weed might someday become a workout accessory—like creatine or protein powder.

In a recent podcast with UFC broadcaster Joe Rogan (a one-time weed skeptic turned prominent marijuana advocate who’s helped lobby for the UFC to relax its policies toward cannabis), six-time Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates spoke extensively about his use of weed. And bodybuilder Kris Gethin, who’s now on a “hybrid journey” combining bodybuilding and endurance events, tells M&F that he’s begun experimenting with CBD in the lead-up to running an ultra-marathon.

“A lot of the guys I talk to are nervous to be seen or speak out about it, because they think it might upset a sponsor,” Yates tells M&F. “One of the guys I was talking to said, ‘I can’t let anyone know because I’m involved in a charity with children.’ It’s ridiculous. Could you not be involved in that charity anymore if you had a glass of wine? Older generations have this view that’s been given to them by the media. Fuck it, man—I believe it’s a very beneficial medicinal plant.”

Every day, before he hits the gym, Paul Roney and his buddy spark up a joint and take a few puffs each. Roney admits he’s a regular smoker who enjoys the high, but as a competitive bodybuilder and personal trainer in London, Ontario, Roney has also found it makes his workouts more enjoyable. He’ll often refrain if he’s doing a muscle group that requires more cardiovascular effort—say, deadlifts or bentover rows on legs or back days—but if he’s doing a smaller muscle group, like arms or shoulders, that little bit of weed can make things better. “Sometimes you’ve got to increase the food you eat when you’re competing, and if you’re taking certain performance-enhancers, you’re just not hungry,” he says. “Well, you know, if you smoke a joint, then everyone’s hungry, right? I’ll be like, ‘This is the best oatmeal I’ve ever tasted.’”

Mike Tyson is Creating a Marijuana Farm and Resort.

The boxer is looking to cash in on legal cannabis in California.

It’s still not that easy to find bodybuilders like Roney who will admit to regularly smoking; if you do a search online, you’ll find some videos of bodybuilders who insist it can only have a negative effect. And that stigma isn’t likely to go away anytime soon, even though the association between weed and the gym dates back decades to that iconic moment in the 1977 documentary Pumping Iron when Arnold Schwarzenegger chilled out with a fat joint.

It’s a moment that Jim McAlpine remembers well, since he, too, was both a workout enthusiast and a marijuana enthusiast when he first saw that scene. Look at that, he said to himself. Arnie’s smoking, just like me. At the time, he didn’t even realize the medicinal and performative effects it was having on him—at least, not until he took notice of the language he was using.

“When I got into college, I’d use the word ‘supplement’ as my code word for cannabis,” says Jim McAlpine, founder of the 420 Games, a series of family-friendly athletic events designed to alter the perception of cannabis and frame it as part of a healthy lifestyle. “And I used that word for a reason—it was a supplement to me. I would smoke sometimes when I went into the gym, and I became more focused. “Eye of the Tiger”-y. It got my mind into that zone.”

For a long time, Yates avoided weed because he thought the smoke would have a negative effect on his lungs. But after reading the results of a years-long UCLA study which showed that smoke from marijuana had none of the negative effects of cigarette smoke, he began to study it further. He says he’s talked to people who have spoken anecdotally of using cannabis to heal themselves from diseases as serious as cancer. So now, like McAlpine, he treats cannabis as another natural supplement in his arsenal.

Not everyone enjoys smoking before a gym session. Yates tells M&F he takes a small amount of concentrated cannabis at night, but doesn’t like doing it before he’s got a heavy training day. He’d rather go with caffeine or ephedrine or something that pumps him up and makes him more aggressive. “I’m not saying it wouldn’t work,” he says. “I’m just saying I haven’t really tried it.”

But it is something that works for certain people on specific days. Kingsbury still practices and competes in jiu-jitsu, and if he knows he’s got a monotonous session of mat rolls ahead of him, he’ll often smoke or ingest a small amount just to break up the boredom.

How Smoking Weed Keeps You Calm, According to Scie.

New study: those who smoke weed stress less than those who don’t.

The place where cannabis might have the most dramatic effect, though, is in your workout recovery. Just as it helped Kingsbury wean off his ibuprofen usage, there’s an increasing amount of research that shows cannabis can also help people transition off more powerful opioids like OxyContin. Prominent UFC fighter Nate Diaz drew a warning from the United States Anti-Doping Agency, the UFC’s partner in testing, after he took a few puffs of CBD from a vaporizer at a post-fight press conference after a loss to Conor McGregor in 2016—though the UFC is also one of the few major organizations that has relaxed its policies on testing for marijuana.

Physicians like Sisley are hoping they can convince the NFL to relax their policies next, since so many players are prescribed powerful painkillers by team doctors. The NFL has written its players association requesting a pilot program to study the use of marijuana for pain relief, but it’s unclear whether any studies are underway yet.

So what’s the best way to start integrating cannabis into your workout routine? Perry Solomon, an M.D. who works as the Chief Medical Officer of the California-based medical marijuana website HelloMD, suggests you adhere to the maxim of “low and slow”: Start with a very low dosage and gradually work your way up until “you get to the point where you want to be.”

If you smoke too much too soon, you could wind up feeling sedated or even get some mild psychotic effects, which will probably turn you off weed altogether. The good news is, the short-term side effects of smoking too much cannabis are about the only negative effects that have been uncovered by researchers thus far. So if you’re just getting started, treat weed the same way you do food when you’re dieting and control your portions.

Sisley says you might want to start with “flowers,” or the pure form of the plant, rather than diving right to concentrates or edibles, since those tend to have a stronger effect. Also, CBD doesn’t produce a high on its own, so you may want to experiment with CBD-only products or those with a 1-to-1 ratio of CBD to THC. (There are even ointments to use on sore muscles if you don’t want to ingest anything.) “Use the most minute doses you can,” she says, “then titrate up slowly.”

As for which strains to try, this is where it can get confusing, because we still know so little about the individual effects certain strains might have on an individual. The truth is that for everyone, it’s a process of trial and error: You find what works for you only by trying a lot of different things, and if you live in a state where weed is legal for medical or recreational use, there are so many choices in the average dispensary that it can be paralyzing. Maybe you find that edibles work well for you, as they do for McAlpine at times; maybe you’ll find you want a more CBD-heavy strain for the gym itself, and a more THC-heavy strain for recovery and pain relief and just to chill your muscles after a particularly challenging workout. If you’ve got a big event or training session the next day and can’t get to sleep, a more relaxing strain might help with that, too. (Roney says he’s even smoked before going onstage at a bodybuilding competition to calm his nerves.)

In the past, strains have generally been separated into indicas—which are purportedly good for sleeping and chilling out to Breaking Bad binges—and sativas, which supposedly provide more of an “up” high. But given that most strains these days are hybrids of the two, McAlpine and others are convinced that beyond the placebo effect, those distinctions are largely a myth. Instead, check out the chemical composition of the strain you’re considering: What’s the percentage of THC and the percentage of CBD? Did it come from a reliable dispensary? Is it pesticide-free?

What Are the Long-Term Consequences of Weed?

Two different sides.

“You don’t want something that just has a blank label that says, ‘Use this to relax,’” Solomon says. “What’s in it? How has it been tested? Those are the things that are going to be more and more important as time goes on.”

And of course, ask your friends in the gym what works for them—even if something completely different winds up working for you, you can always compare notes. At the very least, it can be pretty fun to blaze up with your friends before you hit the gym; McAlpine says it gives him a whole different perspective on the strange quirks of gym culture.

“You find yourself laughing at a lot of stuff,” he says. “That weird dude who takes showers too often becomes pretty funny.”

Is marijuana the wonder drug your workouts have been missing? Or will smoking weed only send your fitness goals up in smoke?