Is there a place for Cannabis in the over-40 fitness guy’s toolbox?

I’ve been delaying this article for nearly a year. So much info and claims on Cannabis are flying around and although there is some interesting science to back up certain claims about cannabis, I wanted a real-world experience on some of these claims. So, to that end, me and wife was the guinea pig and test subjects for a year period!

We used for RSO oil (full spectrum) under the tongue before bedtime for sleep management and apply full spectrum concentrated ointment at localized areas on the skin for pain management. This we did 3 months on and two months and repeat to verify effects.

And it was not all fun and roses! So, let me get the bad out of the way early on. My experiment with cannabis involved the full spectrum of cannabis (meaning THC and CBD, THC being the “high” component of cannabis and CBD, the cannabis extract excluding everything in Cannabis resulting in a “high”). Why the full spectrum? Well, simply because the full spectrum has more potency than just CBD alone for nearly every application, although CBD alone could still be a valuable tool for those hesitant to include THC.

If it was not for my use of “full spectrum” cannabis oil, then well, I would not have experienced the bad. 

The BAD!

What was the bad? Me lying on the floor at 4am vomiting my lungs out after I had 3 hours of nightmarish paranoia! It was NO fun! I told my wife, if that is why people buy cannabis, they must not be right in the head! I do not wish that on my worse enemy.

And that was only of 3 drops of RSO oil under the tongue (RSO being the full spectrum Cannabis).

After that I decreased the dosage and slowly work it up again (being very hesitant!). So be WARNED! Start out with very, very small dosages and gradually increase to desired dosage. 

This is why most people decide to use only the CBD variant, less potent but still effective to a large degree. 

Back to my experiment.
The main claims about cannabis use for the older person involve the following:
  1. Anti-Cancer ability
  2. Pain treatment
  3. Helping with sleep cycle

I am not going to spend a lot of time on this aspect. Large science studies have already confirmed without a doubt that regular Cannabis use (even just CBD) have an impressive ability to fight cancer cells or to prevent cancer. So, I use it as a preventative measure in this regard. 


As an older athlete, pain and injury is a constant problem. Tendon and joint pain being the main culprits. Since last year December I am also struggling with a severe sports hernia injury (after setting up my garage gym and moving serious heavy stuff around like superman).

My experiment involved using the Cannabis extract in ointment form (full spectrum and fairly concentrated) and applying it to the skin for affected areas. Doing this for 3 months, then stop 2 months to review pain experienced during treatment vs no treatment. This I did twice during the twelve-month project. Wife joined me in this experiment since she had a torn shoulder muscle on the one side and a frozen shoulder on the other side, both very painful. I had a very, very (!) painful sports hernia. We both eventually will require surgery to get the problems sorted, but we both decided to hang on a while to do this experiment.

I must admit I was highly skeptical about potential success, simply because both me and wife’s injuries was not superficial but deep under skin and muscle. In my opinion no ointment can do the trick. Up to this point we were both taking just drops at the evening which had a fairly small if any effect on the pain we experienced.

So, me and wife start applying the ointment liberally to affected areas in the morning and evening for 3 months and then stopped for 2 months and repeat the cycle to verify results.

What was the result? 

Torn shoulder muscle (wife): pain management success 8/10

Frozen shoulder muscle (wife): pain management success 10/10

Sports hernia (me): pain management success 7/10

In all the cases it had a dramatic impact on pain levels. Wife got the most success with the frozen shoulder with virtually no pain at all. Even the torn shoulder muscle pain was drastically less and she could operate close to normal.

I was extremely doubtful that it would help my sports hernia which was so bad I could hardly walk and was out of action to train for months! But to my surprise it made the pain bearable and I could operate close to normal with moderate exercises (still steering clear from ab exercises or anything placing strain on affected area).

When we stop using the ointment for a two-month period, the pain returned quickly and became unbearable again. So, it seems as if it only manages the pain but do not provide a “healing” solution. Well, for the short term anyways. 

I must admit the science escapes me here a bit. I cannot see how an ointment could have such an effect on an injury that is rather deep inside the body. It does not make sense. I do not exclude that the drops in the evening might also play a role, but the drops were continued when we stopped the ointment treatment and the pain came back in all severity. So, it seems that the benefit we got from localized pain management lies with applying the ointment. Maybe science will provide an answer in the future. Right now, this mechanism by which it works is baffling from a science point of view.

The bottom line is, it helped tremendously with localized pain management when concentrated ointment is applied regularly to the skin closest to affected areas.


For this part of the experiment we used the full spectrum cannabis drops (RSO oil) under the tongue every evening just before bed-time (or less than 60 min before bedtime). The ointment we applied to the skin had no effect on the sleep cycle. It seems that applying ointment is only helping with localized pain management.

We worked the drops up to 5 drops before bedtime. More than that for us and the THC affects is unpleasant. But as I warned earlier, be very careful and start out with min dosage and increase slowly!

What was the result? ASSISTING WITH SLEEP CYCLE – 7/10

I do not consider it a perfect solution, but it had for both me and wife a fairly drastic positive affect on helping to get a good night’s rest in. Stopping the drops and our sleep cycles are back to it’s original problem state. 

So, what does this mean for the older fitness enthusiast?

Well, it means at least now you can get a good night’s rest in and start too effectively manage localized pain and at the same time prevent cancer. However, pain is a very important signal from the body and cannot be ignored or just medicated. Pain indicates, something is wrong. By medicating the pain, you stop the important signal your body is sending. My sports hernia will probably get bigger until I eventually need an operation. So, I can manage the pain but the problem is still going to get worse. The same goes for my wife’s torn shoulder. It is not going to heal, we just suppress the pain and in fact by doing that, the problem might even get worse. So, you have to use this pain management tool wisely. If you got a tendon or joint problem, sure this might help managing the pain. But if you use this as a tool to just allow you to train as normal, then you WILL worsen the situation.

I have never smoked cannabis and do not plan to either. I use it purely for above reasons. 

Smoking Cannabis produce and immediate unwanted high due to the extremely high THC content and the smoking is simply no good for the lungs and arteries.

What about things like workout recovery times and muscle soreness from training?

I honestly found it had little no effect on these aspects.  

So, it seems the benefits for the older fit individual only lies with pain management, sleeping assistance and possible cancer preventative measures.

In South Africa it is legal to have your cannabis plants in your backyard and making your own oil and ointment. Be sure you comply with the law.

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