Bodybuilding: Does Weed Affect Muscle Growth?
Sep 19, 2017 · 4 min read
So, is there any direct connection between the two? Whatever other negative or positive effects that it might have on someone’s health, that’s not the topic here. That’s a massive subject. And you can research on your own to weigh out the benefits and drawbacks for yourself.
The typical response that you’ll usually get when it c omes to the issue of marijuana and bodybuilding is usually something along the lines of, you know, if you smoke weed, then, you’ll just end up lazy and unmotivated. You’ll skip workouts, you won’t train intensely, you’ll get the munchies and over eat, you won’t be able to focus, so on and so forth. And I personally think that’s just kind of a lazy almost cliché answer at this point, because it doesn’t say anything at all about the dosage and the frequency involved, individual differences that might come into play or what the actual research says on the issue. So when it comes to weed and bodybuilding, the main issues of concern are basically hormonal. So, the way that it affects levels of testosterone, growth hormone and estrogen. And I have reviewed the research that is available. And as far as I can tell, there are no studies, currently, that show that moderate marijuana use has a significant long-term effect on those hormones that would cause you to gain muscle or burn fat less effectively. At least not to a degree that would be noticeable. So, with testosterone, you basically see small short-term decreases after smoking, which then go back to baseline fairly quickly afterwards. And even when test levels do drop, they still stay within the normal range. Heavy use might be a different story. But again, the studies are still mixed. Some show lower levels, but again, still within the normal range. And other show no real difference at all. And again, remember that the simple act of increasing or decreasing testosterone levels that really doesn’t say anything on its own, because in terms of it affecting muscle growth, those levels have to be raised or lowered, and to a significant enough degree and then sustained over prolonged period in order for it to really matter. So, after testosterone, you have growth hormone. In this area, you only see decreases when very large doses of pure THC are given. And even then the decrease is pretty minor and it’s temporary. And one study even showed an increase in growth hormone. And when it comes to estrogen, again, mixed results.
I’m not going to go into all the details here. Some in-vitro research. So, basically test tube studies that were done on rat cells. Those have shown an estrogen lowering effect. But then the research that was done on live rats, couldn’t replicate it. And research — some research has shown a negative effect, but only at very high doses. And I will provide some references in the description box below, if you do want to check them out. So, based on the studies that I’ve seen as well as just general anecdotal evidence, I personally can’t see any good reason to tell you that moderate use of marijuana would slow down your rate of muscle growth or a fat loss. And even if it did, it probably would be very minor and you probably wouldn’t even notice it. Now, that obviously assumes that your overall training and your diet remain exactly the same.
If marijuana use causes behavioral changes, which is then carry over to your bodybuilding program, that’s obviously a different story. For example, if it causes you to significantly over eat on a consistent basis, because of increases in appetite, then of course, that’s going to have consequences when it comes to fat gain. Or if you consume it close to your training sessions, and you find that it lowers your workout quality or either you end up skipping all together, obviously, that’s not a good thing either. But again, those are behavioral changes that are within your control. And they aren’t a direct result of marijuana itself, physically lowering your body’s muscle building or fat burning capability. Now, what about frequent heavy use?
My stance there is just that I don’t see enough information for me to comfortably say that that’s not going to have any effect. It very well might not have an effect, but I just don’t know for sure. So, if you’re someone who is using it daily or multiple times a week, again, it might be totally fine. I don’t know. But I would say to just take the facts that I’ve given into consideration. Do some research on your own. And then, weigh it off against how it affects you personally, and what you’re fitness goals are and then just decide for yourself. As for moderate use, so maybe once a week or less, again, I’m not advocating that you smoke or don’t smoke pot, but from a pure bodybuilding perspective, I really can’t see it being a problem. It’s possible that there are other health reasons why you shouldn’t smoke it. But that’s beyond the scope of this video, and it’s something that you’ll just have to research and decide for yourself. So, thanks for watching guys. I hope that was an unbiased evidence-based answer to the question. I know that some people do get flustered by this topic. But it’s 2015, alcohol is a drug, the stuff in your pre-workout is a drug. There are a lot more serious things to worry about in my opinion, than if someone smokes a bit of pot here and there, just my opinion.
So, is there any direct connection between the two? Whatever other negative or positive effects that it might have on someone’s health, that’s not the topic here. That’s a massive subject. And you…
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.