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:
3. Cannabis can provide a balance between neurogenesis and neurodegeneration.
4. Cannabis can both increase and reduce estrogen.
6. The activity (agonism) of cannabinoid receptors of THCs can even be counteracted by other components of cannabis.
7. Weed can lead to higher insulin resistance.
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.
Differences between consumption Methods of Weed
Smoking weed daily would not only be a very costly, but also a time-consuming and in some regions of the world even illegal matter.
So why not bake brownies instead?
It is hard to know how much of the weed is actually absorbed by the body. You can smoke a joint, bake brownies, hit a bong, all different absorption rates.
That means, what you put in the joint is not the amount that reaches the bloodstream.
In addition, there seem to be differences between beginners and chronic smokers, and even some gender-related factors when it comes to the amount absorbed.
Conclusion: How does Weed affect Muscle Growth
I hope that this article on how weed affects muscle grows gave you a small – and unbiased – impression about the situation.
The substance itself seems to have a specific health effect, which means that it can justifiably claim the title of “long-term regulator of many body function systems”.
But there are also implications that show that it prevents acute changes in the body. If you want to significantly build muscle mass or reduce fat mass for example.
For this reason alone, you should think twice about rolling a joint or not.
It inhibits lipolysis (energy release from fat), meaning it makes it harder to lose fat.
In addition, most people experience so-called Munchies. That doesn’t help losing weight either.
If you have elevated estrogen levels and smoke weed regularly, then there is a good chance that cannabis will inhibit the aromatase process and reduce total estrogen levels in the body.
Aromatase is an enzyme that converts testosterone to estrogen.
In that case, weed might actually be helpful.
If your body has low estrogen (that’s what male athletes want), weed may increase estrogen.
Also, weed can have a significant impact on testosterone levels. Even though this effect might be short term, long term consequences are unknown.
Athletes want to maximize their testosterone. If you want to be safe, don’t smoke weed. Because smoking weed will affect muscle growth in some capacity.
While there are benefits of smoking weed, I recommend not smoking it. It costs money, negatively affects muscle growth and possibly other processes within your body.
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