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Survey Suggests Athletes Use Cannabis for Pain

The Athlete PEACE Survey studying cannabis and athletes has been completed, and the results have just been published! The survey, titled The Cannabis use in active athletes: Behaviors related to subjective effects, was conducted and published by Joanna Zeiger, PhD, who is also a World Champion and Olympic Triathlete.

Last summer I had the opportunity to speak in Denver on the Women, Fitness and Cannabis panel for Ellementa, a global Women’s Network focused on health, wellness, and cannabis with Zeiger. She discussed how she used cannabis to help her manage chronic pain symptoms and help her get a restful night’s sleep, which she was unable to achieve before trying cannabis. I also saw Zeiger on the Cannabis and Athletics panel at the Marijuana for Medical Professionals conference last fall in Denver, Colorado. The panel discussed cannabis in performance and recovery and focused on the benefits of THC and CBD for managing pain and inflammation. Zeiger, the Founder and CEO of Canna Research Group, invited all athletes to complete her Athlete PEACE Survey. PEACE stands for Pain, Exercise and Cannabis Experience.

In the Athlete PEACE Survey, there were 1,161 athlete participants, including myself. The survey participant athletes ranged from triathletes, runners, cyclists, swimmers and others, with almost half the athletes reporting acute or chronic pain. Among the 1,161 athletes, 26% were current cannabis users, almost 42% tried cannabis in the past but were not current users, and nearly 33% indicated they had never used cannabis.  The athletes were very active, with 73% active 5-7 days per week and 89.5% stating they exercised 6 or more hours per week. Athletes who used cannabis products containing THC and CBD reported the most benefits for pain, anxiety reduction, and improved sleep. Almost 60% of the current cannabis consumers in the study shared that cannabis helped their pain. The survey found that using a combination of THC and CBD products was the most common type of consumption, and over half used cannabis more than 3 times a week. Those who used THC in combination with CBD significantly improved neurogenic and chronic pain, muscle spasms, sleep, and appetite.

I have seen the benefits personally and for others who consume cannabis and are active. Zeiger reported in a press release, “We are excited to be a part of the burgeoning field of cannabis research. The results of our study suggest that athletes are using cannabis successfully to improve pain and well-being in a manner that is not negatively impacting their athletic performance.” As an athlete who consumes cannabis and a Certified Personal Trainer, I agree that athletes are consuming cannabis for pain and well-being without negatively impacted performance. I’m happy to see more research on the subject and I look forward to more information surrounding cannabis and athletics.

Heather is the CEO and Co-Founder of Green House Healthy, a health and wellness company promoting cannabis as part of a healthy and active lifestyle. Her company creates healthy experiences through educational and athletic events, teaching cannabis positive fitness and nutrition classes, and providing promotion and media services. She is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, trail runner, writer, public speaker and epilepsy warrior. In 2017, she became the first female to complete an entire 420 Games National Tour, an athletic event series focused on raising awareness about cannabis and its consumers. Heather has placed in several races and plans to continue to trail race to raise awareness for epilepsy, healthy lifestyles and the benefits of cannabis. She has several years of experience with cannabis, including having worked on an all organic outdoor farm with 6000 plants, from seed to sale. It is her mission to share the many benefits of cannabis for people, animals and the planet!
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