Cannabis While Working Out: Does It Help?

We’ve all heard the stereotypes about people who enjoy cannabis: They’re in poor shape—or, even worse—they’re lazy!

Of course, as even a quick glance at the news about athletes and marijuana will tell you, this stereotype is silly, outdated and misleading. But the fact remains that many of us aren’t quite sure about the possible links between marijuana and sports performance. So with that in mind, let’s examine what’s currently known about the crossover between getting and staying in shape, and leveraging the power of our favorite plant for better workouts and better health.

cannabis and exercise

Burning Questions: Does Weed Improve Athletic Performance?

As we shared a moment ago, there’s no end to myths about the cannabis plant’s tendency to sap our motivation to exercise. But as an increasing number of studies—not to mention quite a bit of anecdotal evidence—demonstrate, there’s little reason to believe they’re true. Athletes and marijuana are the topic of any number of feature articles and cover stories, the majority of which point to the cannabis plant’s beneficial effects on exercise (and post-workout recovery).

According to a survey published in Nature, roughly 70% of respondents reported that being high made their workouts more enjoyable. This was bolstered by another study that suggests marijuana’s mood-boosting ability helps many of us enjoy and stick with our exercise routines.

cannabis and exercise

Does THC Affect Muscle Recovery?

As you probably know, the two most prevalent cannabinoids—THC and CBD—elicit very different responses in our bodies. THC is the cannabinoid most directly responsible for the marijuana plant’s euphoric “high.” But it’s doing much more than that. When it comes to boosting muscle recovery after a strenuous workout, THC may offer powerful anti-inflammatory and pain-fighting effects, which keep us feeling limber and able when we’re interested in maintaining a fitness routine. And as an article in Men’s Journal points out, knowing that an intensive exercise session won’t knock us out of our routine is an important factor in building—and maintaining—prime fitness.

cannabis and exercise

Cannabis Orthostatic Hypotension: Cause for Concern?

With all the potential positive benefits of using marijuana while working out, there are some potential concerns you should be aware of. One of them is orthostatic hypotension, which is a fancy way of saying “having low blood pressure when you stand up or sit down.” And it turns out that cannabis can have an effect on this syndrome.

Many of us already experience orthostatic hypotension, and it’s generally not considered to be a serious problem. But as one scholarly article points out, ingesting THC can trigger this condition. Interestingly, it’s actually CBD—which is generally considered to be non-intoxicating—that causes the longest-lasting hypotension.

Regardless of the cannabinoid content of the cannabis you try for exercise enhancement, the takeaway is clear: Use special caution when you’ve ingested marijuana and you stand up, sit down, or drop into a squat or crouch rapidly. Even though it’s unlikely that you’d seriously injure yourself, you might feel a little silly. And we don’t want that to happen. If you have existing cardiovascular issues, consult with your doctor before adding cannabis to your routine.

Marijuana While Working Out: Best Strains

While it’s true that some cannabis strains—particularly indicas—have a reputation for producing a a highly relaxing effect—others are known for the bubbly energy they can impart. In our view, this alone is enough to suggest it’s possible (not to mention fun!) to combine cannabis and exercise. 

If you’re unsure on the difference between the two major classifications of cannabis strains—indicas and sativas—now’s a great time to get reacquainted. That’s because choosing the right kind of weed for your desired outcome is a great way to get more value and enjoyment from your hard-earned dollars. 

Every person is different, and cannabis affects everyone a little bit differently. As we mentioned earlier, it is true that indica or indica-dominant strains are known for their heavy body-centered high. Less energizing than relaxing, these strains might be more conducive to a chill night watching movies in bed than running a marathon. These strains can also help out with the treatment of conditions such as routine aches and strains, as well as sleep troubles.

Other strains, though, are reported to induce vigor and bring the mind into a happy, carefree state that is capable of lasting for hours. We recommend everyone try a variety of strains in order to get a sense of how different kinds of cannabis interacts with their body.

Cannabis and Exercise: Getting Started

When using cannabis for exercise, there are some crucial things to keep in mind. First, the dose of cannabis you take is going to have an impact in determining the intensity of the effects you experience. Prior to exercising, inexperienced cannabis consumers should especially heed caution—start with a low dose and increase it slowly over time.

Low doses of cannabis, however, may be ideal for a wider range of people looking to try marijuana while working out. One small hit—or a few drops of tincture—may be all you need in order to effectively reap uplifting rewards from the soothing influence of marijuana. Likewise, some edible products may serve as the perfect solution for metering out doses to a precise amount.

Water is always an important part of exercise, but with cannabis it can be doubly important to ensure you’ve got a bottle on hand. Many individuals also like to exercise prior to eating a meal, which may intensify the effects of cannabis, as cannabis can tend to have more of an impact on those with an empty stomach. Eating a light snack such as a granola bar before working out may help.

Marijuana and Sports Performance: Conclusion

If you aren’t sure how marijuana and sports performance may be linked, maybe it’s time to find out for yourself. Want to experiment? Browse our live menu to order ahead, then stop by our Des Moines dispensary for easy pickup. We look forward to serving you!

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