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How Much Does Regular Cannabis Use Affect Performance In Female Athletes?

New study shows its impact.

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This story originally appeared on Benzinga

A new study, published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research said that women regular cannabis users do not produce as much anaerobic power as those who don't partake, even when active and fit.

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Through their research, investigators from the University of Northern Colorado determined if chronic cannabis use in physically active, female athletes make changes in their health performance.

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The study

Researchers compared 12 healthy female cannabis users with 12 nonusers. Both groups were 19 to 34 years old and regularly engaged in resistance and aerobic training.

Related to the pulmonary function, strength and power assessment, and c-reactive protein concentrations between cannabis users and non-users researchers did not observe significant differences.

"There were no differences between groups with respect to body size, body composition, pulmonary function, cardiorespiratory function, or muscular strength," said the authors of the cross-sectional study.

The findings showed that marijuana users "produced significantly less power" during the first two states of the Wingate test assessment, which determine peak anaerobic power and anaerobic capacity.

Cannabis users showed 18% less power during the first five seconds of pedaling and 20% less power during the second five-second period, compared to non-cannabis users.

"It is important for both coaches and athletes to consider whether athlete performance is highly dependent on short-term power output," the researchers said.

However, despite the lower potency, regular marijuana users also "experienced significantly less anaerobic fatigue," concluded the study.

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Athletete cannabis users

There is proven evidence that athletes are using cannabis products. A study reported that "of 46,202 surveyed athletes, 1 in 4 reported the use of cannabis."

Other research explored that "most (77%) of the subjects reported that cannabis positively affected their performance through improved focus, energy, relaxation, and recovery after a workout." In addition, many professional athletes have been outspoken regarding their use of marijuana.

Megan Rapinoe, an Olympic gold medalist, two-time Women's World Cup soccer champion, and 2019 FIFA Women's World Player of the Year told Benzinga that she ventured into cannabis in a search of a "healthier, more natural option for pain management, sleep aid, relaxation while flying, and general recovery."