Cannabis Dosing Practices for Improved Athletic Performance

Connor Anderson

September 28, 2022

Table of Contents

Microdosing Marijuana, Maintaining Consistent Dosage, and Smoking for Sleep and Recovery.

A ton of competitive athletes smoke weed. Why?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer. The goal of getting high varies across stoner athletes, and its impact depends on their individual needs and habits, as respondents to our survey concluded. 

Some use THC to help reduce anxiety or improve focus on the field, but most get high to spur recovery and reduce pain. Method of consumption and preferred strain type differ according to availability and historical usage.

While we couldn’t find a clear-cut method for improving performance through cannabis, we did identify links between consumption practices and performance. 

Respondents noted three dosing practices that can improve athletic performance: Microdosing marijuana, maintaining a consistent THC dosing regime, and smoking weed for sleep and recovery.

We also found that the performance benefits of weed vary according to the specific needs of the individual. Athletes with anxiety, depression, or ADD/ADHD saw the most improvement when high on the field.

In what follows, we use responses from our survey of stoner athletes to discuss different THC dosing practices for athletic performance, why they can help improve performance, and who will most benefit from each one. 

Microdosing Marijuana for Athletic Performance

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Microdosing marijuana is the practice of using THC in small doses to slightly alter mood and brain functionality without getting noticeably high. People microdose marijuana to enhance creativity, improve focus, and reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Though microdosing works best with edibles because their dosages and effects are more regulated, you can also microdose using flower and dabs.  

However, microdosing marijuana doesn’t work when you’ve already built a tolerance. So if you smoke every day, you’ll need to take a tolerance break for two or three days to see any benefits from microdosing.

Many of our respondents noted that getting truly (noticeably) high can negatively affect performance. But, speaking from personal experience, one respondent said, “if you’re someone who gets nervous or anxious, smaller doses of weed can actually help.” 

One baseball player was confident that weed helped his performance when the high was barely noticeable. He said, “Was I high out of my mind while playing? NO. But the effects of the medicine were still playing a part in my actions and decisions.” 

Another stoner athlete considered the difficulties involved with microdosing marijuana, noting that it takes a lot of trial and error to find the dosage suited to your needs. “It all comes down to the person and the dosage,” he says. “One hit of the same stuff might make someone more focused while hindering performance for someone else.”

So, if you want to try microdosing, you would be wise to experiment with dosage (starting from the lowest possible dose). Try it on an off-day or before practice when your performance won’t make or break a game. If you overindulge on gameday, “you’re probably not going to admit you accidentally got too high to play,” as one athlete noted. Though explaining the situation and removing yourself from the field might bolster your team’s chances of getting the W, your coaches might not appreciate the gesture as much as you’d hoped.

Maintaining Consistent Dosage for Athletic Performance

Two groups of users seem to benefit most from maintaining consistent dosage: all-day-every-day stoners and once-or-twice-a-day tokers. However, the key for both groups is getting the right amount of high– not too high to perform, but just enough to alter disposition.

All-Day-Every-Day Stoner Athletes

Most of the true stoner athletes– those who smoke on the daily, whether for recreational or medicinal purposes– responded that they played better when high.

The all-day-every-day stoner athletes have built up high tolerances over time which mitigates the debilitating effects that weed can cause. Some even responded that their performance suffered when cannabis was removed from the equation. When all-day-every-day stoners maintain a high frequency of use, they play better than they would if they weren’t high.

On the other hand, tolerance levels plummet when their routines are disrupted, and their THC intake is lowered for a few days. So, when they resume their routine dosage, they could overindulge, and their performance could suffer.

Once-a-Day and Weekend-Only Stoner Athletes

For those who don’t constantly smoke weed throughout the day (not just weekend tokers but also those who use weed once per day), a point of no return does exist.

Though these less-frequent users have reached relatively high tolerance levels, they haven’t gotten to the point where they can smoke as much as they want without feeling at least somewhat intoxicating effects. For these users, knowing their limits and maintaining a regular dosing routine is crucial to performance.

One respondent summarized these differences perfectly. “People that smoke less and have lower tolerances feel far greater effects, like slower reaction time, decreased focus, and even quicker fatigue,” he said. “However, if the usage is more frequent and tolerance is built up, the negative effects all drop to insignificant levels. Instead, they’ll see positive effects like feeling mental relaxation and improved concentration.”

This doesn’t mean that any athlete who smokes a lot of weed would see improved performance if they get high for the game. Weed affects all of us to varying degrees and in different ways.

Performance Benefits of Using Weed for Sleep and Recovery

You don’t need to be high on the field to see performance benefits from cannabis.
Athletes who use weed for recovery and sleep report playing better the following day, noting that they were well rested and their muscles felt more relaxed.

Many of our respondents only used weed after they completed games and practice. They used THC for a better night’s sleep, either to combat insomnia or anxiety on game night eve, to cope with pain from sore muscles and injury, or all of the above.

“Using weed at night allowed me to recover and sleep better, and I had less anxiety leading up to and during the game,” one respondent said. “These benefits all helped me perform better even though I was not high during play.”

Thus, evening usage also seems to have lasting, non-intoxicating effects that remain throughout the following day.

Performance on Weed Depends on the Individual

Whether you’ll see any performance benefits from using cannabis on game day depends on various factors, like your tolerance level, the reason and goals of your usage, the amount you used before the game, and the strain you used.

And different strains affect each of us differently. For example, though Sour Diesel is known as one of the best strains for improving concentration, focus, and creativity, it also exacerbates anxiety for other users.

“I truly believe that weed affects everyone differently,” a lacrosse player said. “I knew people that were baked out of their noggin scoring six goals a game, and others who turned into potatoes.”

Many other athletes supported this notion. “Since Cannabis is personal to us all, it will affect everyone’s abilities differently,” one respondent noted. Another said that performance on weed “depends on the reaction a given person has to it.”

You need to experiment to determine what works best for you. For example, if you don’t have anxiety or struggle with focus on the field, getting a little high on game day might not improve your performance.

On the other hand, if you struggle with sleep on the nights before big games, toking before bed might give you more energy during the game.

Dabbing for Athletic Performance

Many stoner athletes said that dabs work best for improving performance because it produces a more functioning high. But, it is incredibly easy to miss dose dabs and accidentally get way too high, especially in illegal markets, where dabs often lack proper labeling.

Maybe you were used to 60% THC shatter and didn’t know that your new pack was 90% THC budder. So, if you live in an illegal market, always test your new bag a few days before game day.

If you want to make sure every pregame dose is exact and consistent, you should use WaxNax packaging. Whether you buy our inserts from a licensed dispensary or empty inserts online and fill them up yourself, you’ll receive the most consistent and least irritable dabbing experience imaginable.

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