Picture this: you’re at the gym, staring at the weights, wondering if there’s a magical elixir that can boost your performance and ease your post-workout soreness. What about cannabis? Yes, you read that right. The once-taboo plant is making its way into fitness circles, with some claiming it can enhance your workout experience. But does cannabis really help you with working out, or is it just a fad?
In this article, we’ll explore the science behind cannabis and exercise, and help you decide if it’s a match made in workout heaven or a recipe for disaster.
Why do people use cannabis before or after a workout?
There are a few reasons why some people might choose to use cannabis before or after a workout.
One reason is that cannabis can have pain-relieving properties, which may be helpful for those who experience muscle soreness or other types of discomfort during or after their workout. The different cannabinoids in cannabis, such as THC and CBD, each can interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in regulating pain.
Some athletes and fitness enthusiasts believe that cannabis can increase their creativity and inspiration, allowing them to come up with new and innovative workout routines or approaches. Others may use cannabis as a way to boost their energy or motivation, similar to how some people use caffeine or other stimulants.
Another reason is that cannabis can help with relaxation and anxiety reduction, which may be beneficial for those who experience performance anxiety or find it difficult to unwind after a workout. Additionally, some people may find that cannabis enhances their focus or provides a “mind-muscle connection” that allows them to better connect with their body during their workout.
Can cannabis affect how well you perform during exercise?
There is some evidence to suggest that cannabis may impact exercise performance, although the exact effects can vary depending on the individual and the circumstances of use.
A few years ago a study published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport found that acute cannabis use was associated with a reduction in maximal exercise capacity, as well as changes in heart rate and blood pressure. Other research has suggested that cannabis use may impair coordination and balance, which could negatively impact performance in sports or activities that require precision and control.
However, some athletes and fitness enthusiasts report using cannabis to enhance their workouts and improve their performance. While there is limited research in this area, some studies have suggested that cannabis may help to reduce anxiety and increase motivation, which could have positive effects on exercise performance.
How to use cannabis with your workout
If you are interested in using cannabis as part of your workout routine, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First and foremost, it’s important to start low and go slow. Cannabis affects everyone differently, and it can be easy to overdo it if you’re not careful. It’s a good idea to start with a very small dose and gradually increase as needed, taking note of how you feel and adjusting accordingly.
Secondly, it’s important to choose the right strain. There are many different strains of cannabis with each having the potential of producing different effects on the body and mind, and some may be more suitable for exercise than others. For example, some strains may be more energizing and uplifting, while others may be more relaxing and sedating. It may be helpful to talk to a knowledgeable budtender or do some research to find a strain that is well-suited for your workout goals.
Finally, it’s important to consider the timing of cannabis use. Depending on the type of product, the effects of cannabis can take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or more to fully kick in. It may be helpful to experiment with different timing to find what works best for you. For example, some people may prefer to use cannabis before a workout to help with anxiety and motivation, while others may prefer to use it after a workout to help with muscle soreness and recovery.
It should also be noted that cannabis use is prohibited by most sports organizations and may be subject to drug testing. If you’re a competitive athlete or subject to drug testing, it’s best to avoid using cannabis altogether.
References and further reading
- Kennedy, M. C., & Solman, G. J. (2019). Cannabis and Exercise Science: A Commentary on Existing Research and Future Directions. Sports Medicine-Open, 5(1), 1-7.
- Scholl, J. L., Renner, K. J., Forster, G. L., & Tejwani, G. A. (2018). Cannabinoid-Mediated Neuromodulation of Aerobic Exercise-Induced Antinociception. Pain Medicine, 19(10), 1962-1971.
- Thomas, G., Kloner, R. A., & Rezkalla, S. (2014). Adverse cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and peripheral vascular effects of marijuana inhalation: what cardiologists need to know. The American Journal of Cardiology, 113(1), 187-190.
- Ware, M. A., & Rueda, S. (2015). The Cardiovascular Effects of Cannabinoids. Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 97(6), 600-606.
- Wilkinson, J. D., Whalley, B. J., & Baker, D. (2019). Medicinal cannabis: is delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol necessary for all its effects?. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, 71(10), 1425-1439.