Marijuana Stops Muscle Development

Just one joint can shut down hormones required for muscle production

Chemicals in pot prevent the body from building muscle

Regular pot smokers trying to pack on muscle probably won’t reach their goals.

That’s because marijuana interferes with the hormone interactions necessary to build muscle.

Chemicals found in marijuana impair the transmission of signals to the pituitary gland. This interferes with the release of hormones – the chemical messengers that help regulate the functioning and development in the body. Just one joint can shut down production of testosterone, which is essential for muscular development, for up to 24 hours. In test subjects who smoked two joints a week for 10 weeks, testosterone levels took nine weeks to return to normal.

Protein is also necessary for muscular development. Researchers have found that marijuana use interferes with the chemical bonding of the amino acids – the building blocks for protein in the body. Two joints a week can neutralize as much as 1.5 grams of nitrogen in the muscle cells (protein contains nitrogen). It takes more than 200 g of protein to replace that much nitrogen. 

Unfortunately, even if a moderate marijuana smoker eats adequate protein, the cells may not be able to absorb it because marijuana impairs the messages carried throughout the cells during cell reproduction. Chemicals in marijuana cause the messages to be read incorrectly, and the cells are literally starved from receiving the cell-building nitrogen from the amino acids.

Exercise stresses the body; especially intense exercise like weight training. A good diet and adequate rest between workouts help the body recuperate from this stress by repairing, building and strengthening the muscles. However, the regular use of marijuana will interfere with the repair and building process, leaving you overtrained and underdeveloped.

Originally published in Wellness Matters, Canada Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness.