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Cannabis may affect anaerobic power, risk for cardiovascular disease in female athletes


August 04, 2022

1 min read


Lisano reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.

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Compared with non-users, female athletes who regularly use cannabis had reduced early anaerobic power production and may have an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, according to published results.

Researchers from the School of Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Northern Colorado compared health and performance outcomes between 12 healthy and physically active female cannabis users and a cohort of 12 non-users of similar body size, body composition, pulmonary function, cardiorespiratory function and muscular strength. According to the study, average age among all participants was 23.8 years and average body fat percentage was 19.3%. For the cannabis use cohort, regular cannabis use started at an average age of 20.1 years. The average duration of cannabis use of 5.8 years.

Marijuana plant

Source: Adobe Stock

Overall, researchers found non-users produced “significantly greater” anaerobic power output compared with cannabis users, as determined by stage-1 and stage-2 Wingate assessment scores. However, researchers noted anaerobic fatigue, as determined by 30-second Wingate assessment scores, was “significantly lower” in cannabis users (51%) compared with non-users (61%).

Despite comparable body composition and cardiovascular fitness between the cohorts, average C-reactive protein concentration levels determined cannabis user had an increased risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) compared with non-users.

“Chronic use of cannabis in physically active female athletes may be linked to lower initial power output and higher risk for CVD as defined by CRP,” the researchers wrote in the study. “This study is important in that it provides a glimpse into where cannabis may begin to influence the health and athletic performance in young adults,” they concluded.

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