Not too long ago, Gone Liftin’ put out an article on whether or not smoking marijuana impacts your fitness lifestyle.
Bodybuilding And Marijuana – Good Or Bad? details some positives and / or neutral aspects of smokin’ the reefer when you are into the bodybuilding lifestyle.
Well, we are now inclined to write a post about the negative effects of marijuana while bodybuilding. Sorry guys, but it was bound to happen…
Our previous marijuana article was short and sweet, but we decided to go a little more in depth to break down some negative aspects of smoking weed while working out (not during an actual workout… just in general.)
While marijuana is universally considered a safe “drug,” like anything, it should be consumed in moderation and monitored accordingly. It still alters your brain chemistry and it also alters your physical prowess, whether we choose it to believe it not.
The Negative Sides of Weed and Bodybuilding
The same guys at Bodybuildinglexicon.com who wrote the previous article about fitness and marijuana, also went more in depth about the negative side of things when throwing weed into your regime, in their article called The Effects Of Marijuana On Bodybuilding And Fitness.
While there certainly isn’t the stigma attached to it that there may be for class A drugs like heroin or cocaine, marijuana still has side effects that will affect the way your body works.
Weed has been associated with decreased reaction times, increasing feelings or paranoia and nervousness and impairing short term memory.
Of course, marijuana effects people differently, depending on the person. Some people react positively to the effects of weed, while others find it to be too overwhelming and feel the negative side effects (yes…there actually ARE negative side effects of cannabis, belive it nor not!).
“But we are indestructible athletes” you may be inclined to shout! Of course we are, but we are not more powerful than mother nature. Whether you work out or not, you will find yourself feeling the same effects from weed as someone who doesn’t smoke it.
Clearly, while these effects aren’t bodybuilding specific, bodybuilders too function in the same way as those who don’t train. A bodybuilder who regularly smokes pot will find themselves susceptible to potential short term memory loss, decreased reaction times and a heightened sense of paranoia and anxiety, which not only effect your general health, but have a knock on effect to performance too. If you become reliant on the drug, you’re far more likely to skip sessions and under-perform in the gym.
But the million dollar question is this: Are there more serious side effects that your bodybuilding future will be affected by, from weed?
Well, let’s give you the information, and you can make the decision based on the research…
What Does Marijuana Effect In The Long Term?
There are more serious side effects that can interfere with your future in bodybuilding.
Oh no! The cornerstone of our manliness and strength?! Why God why?!
Marijuana does have some adverse effects on Testosterone! We bodybuilders and athletes alike always want high Testosterone levels to keep us going at our most optimal levels. While not totally clear, studies have shown, in the past, a correlation of decreased Testosterone levels with increased levels of marijuana.
The results from studies done regarding marijuana use and testosterone levels are a little confusing – some seem to show a correlation with increased use of marijuana and decreased testosterone levels, while others show little effect, if any at all.
Why this is weird is because the studies yielding these results were human trials. Animal trials are clear and concise:
In animal studies, the results have been fairly clear – ingesting marijuana inhibits the production of testosterone and has a negative impact on Luteinizing hormone (LH) which is released by the pituitary gland and aids in synthesizing testosterone to help with building muscle.
Luckily for us, in most of these studies, the hormone levels effected from smoking marijuana, went back to normal in just 24 hours – so at least there is some plus to all this.
Bodybuilders, athletes, models, whoever needs to keep in shape, want a high metabolism. The faster the metabolism, the better we process calories for positive effects.
Ganja DOES affect metabolism, fortunately or unfortunately.
Smoking marijuana has been shown to lower thyroid hormones in the blood, although no study has ever shown it to have an impact on thyroid function. This potentially means that your metabolism may be lowered slightly in the short term when using marijuana, but there are unlikely to be any long lasting ill effects.
Whew! So far, long lasting effects on metabolism have not been clearly noted, so take that how you want.
3. Growth Hormone
Marijuana has, though, shown to impact your body’s production of growth hormone. Growth hormone has a similar significance as testosterone, and you want high levels of it to build muscle mass. Again, you can increase growth hormone through your diet and training, and also take supplements or ergogenic performance aids to get an increased growth hormone profile. Marijuana can lower your growth hormone levels, which will temporarily impact your muscle growth and recovery rate.
There it is in black and white – marijuana does have an impact on your body’s natural production of Growth Hormone.
It is useless to say that anyone and everyone wants and needs high levels of Growth Hormone for proper body function and muscle development, which is imperative for athletes and non-athletes alike. Lower Growth Hormone levels make it a tad more difficult in terms of muscle growth and recovery, which is the time when your muscles actually grow.
No, no – we don’t mean pot has calories (just the brownies and cookies.)
When you smoke weed, even if it’s just a little bit, you get what we all know as “the munchies.” The munchies give you uncontrollable hunger, and no refrigerator or pantry is safe from the monsters which develop inside us when we get high.
Quite often you’ll find yourself starving hungry, and will eat literally anything – most likely junk food. Bodybuilders know that this has a massive impact on health, performance and body composition.If you smoke weed regularly, and always end the night with a burger, some candy or fries, chances are you’ll massively over consume calories, which will have severely detrimental effects on your physique.
Mind your food intake and your calories if you decide to smoke marijuana while on a diet. Easier said than done!
Pro-tip – Your home is your castle. Your Fortress. Keep junk food out of your home and the urge to indulge will be much lower.
5. Mental Focus
You smoke tree, you get relaxed. You get relaxed, you feel content. You feel content, goals and ambitions take a back seat to feeling good.
This is bad especially for what we’re after in terms of fitness.
To train hard, you need a certain amount of aggression every time you step in the gym. Many bodybuilders use training as an opportunity to let out some tension they might be feeling from work or family life, but if you’re always really chilled out, you’ll struggle to find that motivation to hit the weights.
6. Cardiovascular Function
Endurance athletes are more concerned with cardio function rather than meathead bodybuilders, but proper endurance and VO2 levels are important for everyone in the fitness field.
We don’t know that there has been any proof of marijuana affecting your lungs like, say, cigarettes do, but they do play a role in impacting cardiovascular function in a negative way. Here’s how:
…marijuana can impair your cardio-respiratory function, by slowing down your blood flow and heart rate, meaning it takes longer for oxygen to get round your body. Bodybuilders may not be particularly worried about this. But weight training does involve a cardio element.
Basically, if your cardiovascular function is impaired or deteriorated, you clearly won’t be able to train as hard or as long. We don’t want this. We want to go balls to the wall and feel accomplished!
It’s a free country, maaaaan!
Smoking marijuana is a significantly safer and healthier alternative to something like drinking alcohol. But there is no alternative to being sober and focused. If you choose to smoke weed, know that it will have an affect on certain aspects of your life like motivation and metabolism.