Regular Use of Cannabis in Female Athletes Is Associated With a Reduction in Early Anaerobic Power Production

Lisano, JK, Flores, VA, Kisiolek, JN, and Stewart, LK. Regular use of cannabis in female athletes is associated with a reduction in early anaerobic power production. J Strength Cond Res 37(3): 616-622, 2023-Despite a growing number of claims related to the ability of cannabis use to affect health and performance, there is limited research available, especially in female athletes. This cross-sectional study aimed to determine whether chronic cannabis use in physically active female athletes is related to altered health and performance. Healthy, physically active, female cannabis users (CU: n = 12) and noncannabis users (NU: n = 12) with an average age of 23.8 ± 3.7 years and 19.3 ± 4.2% body fat completed athletic performance and health assessments. Significance was set at alpha = 0.05. The age of onset of regular cannabis use was 20.1 ± 2.8 years in CU with an average duration of cannabis use of 5.8 ± 3.1 years. There were no differences between groups with respect to body size, body composition, pulmonary function, cardiorespiratory function, or muscular strength. Cannabis users produced significantly less power in the first 2 stages of the Wingate assessment, but CU experienced significantly less anaerobic fatigue. Although body composition and cardiovascular fitness were comparable, average C-reactive protein concentration classified CU with higher risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Athletes and coaches who rely heavily on anaerobic performance should consider these findings because they indicate that regular cannabis use may affect early power production and CVD risk.

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