Vanessa Louise Braeley, ESQ

We’ve all hit the juice bar after a good work out and thrown some hemp or chia seeds in for an added boost of protein and omega fatty acids.  Hemp protein powder has been used for years by body builders as a source of dietary protein, and is full of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and minerals which are not only beneficial post-workout, but as a general source of these necessary amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. In fact, it contains all necessary amino acids, so is a complete source of protein.  While animal proteins are still favored for post-workout muscle building since they contain higher levels of leucine (the amino acid most heavily relied upon for protein synthesis), hemp protein is widely used by vegans and those with food sensitivities.  Hemp’s hypoallergenic properties are perfect for the most sensitive consumer.  The use of hemp seeds, protein powder and oil is perfectly legal, however its always best to check the label for quality control and testing requirements; the best companies will pledge the seeds have been tested and contain no or undetectable levels of THC.  Canada is known to have more stringent testing requirements than other hemp-producing countries.

While the data on the benefits of hemp protein for workout nutrition is extensive, data on the benefits of consuming marijuana before, during or after workouts is anecdotal at best.  The differences between the methods of consumption, the strains consumed and the individual’s physiological reaction to the product itself produce a wide range of varying results, none of which have been consist enough for researchers to rely upon as concrete evidence of harm-versus-benefit of use during workout regimens.  This will all change one day, but for now we can look to the overwhelming population of athletes who are “going green” to enhance their performance during training sessions.  Professional wrestler Rob Van Dam is an advocate of smoking prior to a performance, as it helps him relax or energize, depending on the situation; he is mindful to select the appropriate strain for the appropriate situation.  “[I]n front of millions of people that paid to see you at your best…you’ve got to deliver” says Van Dam.  Endurance athletes tout that marijuana is mentally beneficial by aiding with boredom, and extreme sport athletes such as professional snowboarder Ross Rebegliati, who claims it motivates him to practice more and helps him focus during sessions.  Rebegliati is one of the many professional athletes that have opted to participate in the marijuana business.  Other notable professional athlete-marijuana supporters include NFL runningback Ricky Williams, NBA All-Star Cliff Robinson, Ronda Rousey, MMA fighter Nick Diaz and Tour de France winner Floyd Landis.  No doubt each athlete benefits from consumption in different ways, as these sports are wildly different – which only strengthens the claim that marijuana’s benefits casts a wide net.

Most likely its most popular and well-researched benefit is its anti-inflammatory properties, which can completely eradicate chronic pain sufferers.  The anti-inflammatory properties in the cannabinoids don’t just “mask” the pain like prescription pain medications; it reduces the inflammation which causes the pain in the first place (and doesn’t kill your kidneys while doing it).  The cannabinoids found in marijuana mimic the human body’s endocannabinoids, which are responsible for the harmonious balance of many of the human body’s biological functions.  This includes keeping the body’s immune system in check, which in turn wards off chronic illness and pain.

But we know all this, and for those who don’t, you will.  The science is there.  Professional athletes who put their bodies to the ultimate test every day vouch for the mental and physiological benefits of marijuana consumption.  So whether you’re going on a 50 mile bike ride and need a cure for boredom, suffer from rheumatoid arthritis but insist on playing 18 holes each Sunday, or want to bulk up for the beach or competition season, cannabis has got your back.