Cannabis might still be taboo in several parts of the world. However, there’s no doubt that the general outlook on this plant has also improved drastically. In the US, recreational marijuana consumption is legal in 19 states.
Then back in 2018, Canada made recreational and medical cannabis federally legal with the Cannabis Act.
There are a lot of professional BJJ athletes that take cannabis. According to their experience, cannabis helps them both physically and mentally.
In martial arts, the most famous cannabis smokers are the Diaz brothers, Nate and Nick. Both are also 3rd-degree Gracie Black Belts.
The Diaz brothers — and many other martial artists have claimed that marijuana aids in competition.
You might be wondering — Can weed affect my Jiu-Jitsu performance? Before we talk about how it can affect your performance, let’s first talk about what cannabis is.
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What Is Cannabis?
Most commonly known as marijuana, cannabis is a family of plants that possess psychoactive and medical benefits to users. There has been a long debate about whether it’s a dangerous drug, but for now, it’s illegal in most parts of the world.
Now, there are two prominent cannabis use cases — recreational and medical. Both use the cannabis plant, but different composition results in dramatically different effects for its users.
For recreational use, people will always prefer the psychoactive effects of cannabis. While for medical use, people can enjoy the health benefits of the plan with or without the psychoactive component.
Recreational Cannabis And BJJ
This is the most common use of cannabis, and it’s the most popular one as well. Recreational marijuana contains a high amount of a special compound called tetrahydrocannabinol, known as THC.
THC is the psychoactive component of recreational cannabis that causes the “high” or euphoric sensation people get after smoking.
Many have argued that this high might be very addictive on a phycological level. And has served as the grounds that make marijuana a “dangerous drug.”
This is the form of cannabis that the Diaz brothers and several other athletes usually take.
Medical Cannabis And BJJ
Instead of THC, medical cannabis is relatively rich in CBD or cannabidiol. Several studies have proven that CBD does have a lot of medical benefits.
For starters, CBD doesn’t cause a high. As per some users, however, medical cannabis does help them relax and feel at ease.
This is why medical cannabis and CBD derivatives are often used to treat mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.
Additionally, CBD is also said to have muscle stimulating properties, as well as inflammation-reducing effects. It’s used as a treatment for chronic pain like arthritis.
It’s such a popular anti-inflammatory product that CBD creams center their marketing around athletes.
CBD might help reduce muscle pain and soreness after BJJ training or competition.
That said, it’s very apparent that weed does have its effects on athletes. It can be used to make your muscles feel more relaxed after training or a tournament.
Some people like to take CBD oil after a hard BJJ session to help them fall asleep.
A popular combo for fast recovery includes:
- Cold showers
- CBD oil
- Sports massage
- Enough protein and fiber-rich food
- Plenty of rest
CBD alone won’t make you recover faster. However, it could be of great aid when paired with some of the strategies we shared above.
Perhaps more importantly, you can use weed to get out those pre-competition butterflies that everyone gets. Of course, some would argue that weed makes you more sluggish and slow, so it can affect performance.
However, some argue that the calmness and creativity it brings result in a better performance.
In a highly tactical sport like Jiu-Jitsu, it does seem like a great supplement to your training.
Does Weed Affect My BJJ Performance?
To put it simply, no. Weed isn’t a magical plant that suddenly gives you black belt-level abilities in BJJ. However, it does help with a few other things that can get you through common problems that athletes face in Jiu-Jitsu.
Benefits Of Taking Weed For BJJ
- Calm The Nerves – CBD is used to treat anxiety. If you suffer from performance anxiety, weed or CBD might help keep you calm. Whether it’s BJJ or MMA, cage fright stiffens and weakens you. You aren’t going to pull off your moves if your nerves get the best of you.
- Treat Sore Muscles – Your joints and muscles will be sore many times if you practice BJJ. It becomes bothersome as this can affect your performance as well. Medical and recreational cannabis can help lessen the inflammation and soreness in your joints in muscles. It’s a natural way to recover compared to over-the-counter muscle relaxants.
- Better Oxygenation – Another benefit of marijuana is that it allows more oxygen into your muscle tissues. This means you’ll experience less muscle fatigue if you’re using weed.
Disadvantages Of Taking Recreational Weed For BJJ
If you decide to do some recreational weed use. You must know that there are some downsides to it.
- You might get crazy hungry and end up overeating – This could affect your weight cut process.
- You can develop a psychological dependency or addiction to the substance – Some people claim that isn’t a problem, but you won’t have the same mental clarity as a “clean” individual.
- You will smoke – It doesn’t matter if it’s tobacco or weed. Smoking has a long-term impact on your health.
Keep in mind that there are a lot of studies that prove that these benefits do exist. Still, if you want to be sure about how it affects your performance and body in general, you should read this study titled: Therapeutic Benefits of Cannabis: A Patient Survey.
If you go for THC-rich cannabis use, consider that smoking is still dangerous for your lungs.
You can use things like weed vaporizers, but there’s not enough research to establish whether or not these devices have a negative long-term impact on your lung capacity.
If you’re worried about long-term lung damage or don’t like the idea of getting high, but the cannabis benefits sound enticing to you, give CBD oil a try.
BJJ Athletes That Take Weed
Now, it’s very well-known that the Diaz bros are big fans of cannabis. They might even be the undisputed ambassadors of marijuana for Jiu-Jitsu and MMA. Aside from them, however, other BJJ athletes openly use marijuana.
In a very viral video, fans saw Jeff Glover smoking weed between rounds! This was during a tournament called High Rollerz BJJ, and it was held in California.
Lucky for Glover, marijuana is entirely legal in the state. It’s one of the most viral BJJ and weed-related videos out there just because of how casual it all looked.
Another top BJJ athlete that openly supports weed is Rickson Gracie’s son, Kron Gracie. In 2017, Kron Gracie said in an interview that yes, you can be properly functional in BJJ while under the influence of weed.
Lastly, another great example is 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu owner and founder, Eddie Bravo. His student and long-time martial artist Joe Rogan are also open about his use of weed.
Is Weed Legal In BJJ Competition
This is where it gets complicated.
USADA declares marijuana illegal in competition. The agency tests BJJ athletes that compete under the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF). If an athlete fails a USADA test, the agency informs the IBJJF of the violation, which will disqualify him or her.
The thing is, drug tests look for THC. As per USADA’s guidelines, if the THC concentration level in your urine is below 150 ng/mL, you won’t be flagged by the agency.
This means you can make it through the competition if you don’t have enough THC in your body.
This is why those who use medical marijuana don’t test positive for drug tests either. If you consume CBD, you will not likely fail a drug test.
What if you’re competing outside the IBJJF?
This entirely depends on the competition and the laws in the area you are competing. The High Rollerz BJJ tournament, for instance, even requires fighters to be high during the match.
As weed is legal in California, where the competition is held, none of the athletes were flagged.
Can Weed Affect My Jiu-Jitsu Performance? – Final Words
Weed affects your BJJ performance but does not make you any better magically. Instead, it helps you fight your anxiety on the mats and your recovery.
If you’re planning on taking weed before a competition, make sure to read through whether or not it’s legal under their guidelines.
You don’t need to smoke weed to enjoy the health benefits. You can try quality CBD oil for a few months (at least three) and then decide if you feel any benefits.
What makes you a better BJJ athlete is your dedication to the craft and not whether or not you smoke weed or take CBD oil.
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Until next time.