To smoke or not to smoke?
We’re all familiar with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s victory celebration after winning the 1975 Mr. Olympia title. It’s a popular scene from “Pumping Iron” that many people still reference today. It depicts Schwarzenegger smoking marijuana and eating fried chicken, all while wearing his “Arnold is Numero Uno” t-shirt. It’s a great piece of film history for sure. One take away is that the fried chicken Arnold had that night was no doubt some of the best he’s eaten in his entire life. Another is – how does marijuana effect muscle growth?
THE EFFECTS OF MARIJUANA ON BODYBUILDING
Both THC and CBD (cannabidiol) affect the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system is a biological system that affects appetite, immune functions, sleep, pain sensation, temperature regulation, and many other processes in the body.
In fact, both fat and muscle tissues utilize these receptors to varying degrees.
THC can help assist with increased appetite and temporary pain relief.
Now, before we get into the specific effects of THC on muscle growth, it bears mentioning that there’s not a wealth of information on the subject matter.
To be quite honest, the number of human studies investigating the effects of marijuana on muscle growth is sparse, but there is some insight to be gleaned from the available body of literature.
Let’s start by discussing marijuana’s impact on the hormone most often associated with muscle growth — testosterone.
There have been many studies on the effect of marijuana on testosterone. The consensus is that the results have been split down the middle. In users who have smoked little to no marijuana, there have been signs of a slight decrease in testosterone production levels, a big red flag for any bodybuilder. However, studies have also shown that regular smokers have maintained their testosterone levels. Testosterone is a major part of growing muscle, so smoking weed will likely end up being a gamble for any bodybuilder.
Many people have cited marijuana’s effect on their bodies post workout. After a hard pumping day in the gym, its always essential to give your body adequate rest in order for your muscles to repair and grow. Supporters of marijuana have stated that smoking or ingesting the plant makes them feel relaxed after a long day at the gym and this can help ease tension through the body for even better rest.
As we mentioned, the CB1 receptors of the endocannabinoid system play a role in appetite regulation.
The two primary cannabinoids of marijuana (THC and CBD) interact with the cannabinoid receptors, an acutely increasing appetite.
If you’re looking to pack on mass, this may be a beneficial thing as it could help you get in those all-too-important muscle-building calories if you’re someone who struggles with poor appetite.
However, this is really only beneficial if the munchies you get have you eating foods that are in line with your nutrition plan.
If the smoking weed has you binging on pizza, ice cream, and all sorts of other high fat, high carb, low protein foods, well then you might get more fat gain than you had initially hoped.
There’s also something else to consider — while marijuana usage in the short-term acutely spikes appetite, chronic use may actually decrease appetite.
Animal studies and epidemiological research has noted that prolonged use of marijuana may cause a decrease in appetite.
Researchers believe this may be due to the downregulation of CB1 receptor activity over time with continued cannabis use.
At the same time, it’s important to remember that some inflammation is needed for muscle growth to take place.
Therefore, if hypertrophy is your main goal, you may not want to smoke any weed immediately following your training session as the anti-inflammatory effects of ganja could conflict with the necessary immune response following resistance-training needed to drive hypertrophy.
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 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.
Differences between consumption Methods of Weed
Smoking weed daily would not only be a very costly, but also a time-consuming and in some regions of the world even illegal matter.
So why not bake brownies instead?
It is hard to know how much of the weed is actually absorbed by the body. You can smoke a joint, bake brownies, hit a bong, all different absorption rates.
That means, what you put in the joint is not the amount that reaches the bloodstream.
In addition, there seem to be differences between beginners and chronic smokers, and even some gender-related factors when it comes to the amount absorbed.
Conclusion: How does Weed affect Muscle Growth
I hope that this article on how weed affects muscle grows gave you a small – and unbiased – impression about the situation.
The substance itself seems to have a specific health effect, which means that it can justifiably claim the title of “long-term regulator of many body function systems”.
But there are also implications that show that it prevents acute changes in the body. If you want to significantly build muscle mass or reduce fat mass for example.
For this reason alone, you should think twice about rolling a joint or not.
It inhibits lipolysis (energy release from fat), meaning it makes it harder to lose fat.
In addition, most people experience so-called Munchies. That doesn’t help losing weight either.
If you have elevated estrogen levels and smoke weed regularly, then there is a good chance that cannabis will inhibit the aromatase process and reduce total estrogen levels in the body.
Aromatase is an enzyme that converts testosterone to estrogen.
In that case, weed might actually be helpful.
If your body has low estrogen (that’s what male athletes want), weed may increase estrogen.
Also, weed can have a significant impact on testosterone levels. Even though this effect might be short term, long term consequences are unknown.
Athletes want to maximize their testosterone. If you want to be safe, don’t smoke weed. Because smoking weed will affect muscle growth in some capacity.
While there are benefits of smoking weed, I recommend not smoking it. It costs money, negatively affects muscle growth and possibly other processes within your body.