One Way Weed Helps Workouts

Posted on December 1st 2018

More athletes are reportedly using cannabis to enhance their weight-lifting sessions, and we wanted to know more. 

Marijuana doesn’t necessarily enhance your critical judgment or timing, for things like street cycling, rock climbing or HIIT classes. The clincher is that THC messes with reaction time and perception of short intervals and no one wants a plank to feel like it's lasting longer than it is. 

What we found—mostly anecdotally—is that cannabis can be useful for focus and repetition which makes it a friend to those who enjoy yoga, weightlifting and plyometric strength training. 

One Way Weed Helps after Workouts

Experts have gathered info about marijuana and fitness from years of personal experience, anecdotal evidence, and their own research into the drug. Using it exclusively as a relaxant and sleep aid could have a profound effect on your recovery. 

Lighting up post-workout may make delayed onset muscle soreness—or DOMS—less unpleasant, which may lead to getting you back into the gym more quickly.

While we don’t have any data on cannabis and gym activities, we do know that cannabis is a pain management tool. Not only does it significantly reduce chronic pain, but an extensive analysis on cannabis conducted at the National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine (released in early 2017) also concludes that it relieves the acute types of pain that come from gym gains.

What’s the Best Marijuana Method for Your Health?

Edibles have become super trendy, but they're not necessarily the healthiest for athletes. Cannabis behaves in a different way when eaten, and the user has little control over when it will kick in. The effect of not feeling an effect sometimes causes people to overeat their weed and have an unfortunate "green out" experience.  

Smoking presents harms and vape oils contain solvents, leaving vaporizing whole cannabis flower as the remaining healthiest option until regulated edibles doses are available.


Recycling Cannabinoids for a Bonus High

The human body stores THC, the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis, in fat lipids, and it doesn't completely disappear for up to 28 days after medicating. When fat is burned off during exercise, THC is released back into the bloodstream. Think of it like recycling the euphoric high from a Cheeba Chew you ate on Tuesday by running a weekend 5K. Your blood THC levels can rise to 15% during the period of exercise and then it reduces to about 0 after two hours. That extra kick is enough to allow an athlete to push a little harder, train a little longer, feel a little less pain. 

One study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence states that working out actually increases the potency of pot. The University of Sydney had 14 smokers work out for a total of 35 minutes on a stationary bike. When the time was up, the levels of THC in their blood had spiked. Cannabinoids stored in the fat of the subjects were being released into the system as they burned, making cardio a great economizer of weed. 

The greater the BMI of the subject, the more presumed fat on their body, the greater the increase in THC reintroduced to the body during exercise. What a motivation to hit the gym more just to squeeze every last drop out of that relaxing THC. 

If you’re building lean muscle to burn fat, it could mean increased exposure to cannabinoids as they are re-released into the blood. Don't panic. Be aware that this could occur up to about one month after last consuming marijuana. 

Smashing Cannabis Stigmas Through Proper Use

With Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr urging the league to reconsider their stance on it and the World Anti-Doping Agency lifting their ban on cannabidiol, the signs are all around that marijuana could earn a place in the sports arena. Until then, we can at least work on making it less taboo by using cannabis at the gym responsibly.

Proper heavy lifting requires an ability to be thoughtful and deliberate about form and range of motion. Consulting with a doctor before incorporating cannabis into a lifting routine is one of the most consistent messages from fitness and health experts.

Don't forget the risks of working out stoned. 

Cannabis can elevate your heart rate, drop your blood pressure, therefore making you lightheaded and weaker than typical. Forgo the grass on days when your workout requires reaction reflexes, sharp judgement and new (risky) challenges. Use it during focused endurance activities like running, stationary cycling and weightlifting to help get into the zone faster and stay there until the work is done and you've maybe surpassed a personal goal. 

Gym Rats may find their performance degraded by using cannabis but if you're up for some light, responsible experimenting it could help you overcome the discomfort of pushing to new fitness levels.

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