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Cannabis and Exercise

Cannabis and Exercise: A Match Made in Heaven?

It’s no secret that the quarantine and ensuing lockdown has ignited an increase in cannabis retail sales across the country. More cannabis is being consumed than ever before and people are determined to work on their exercise regimens as well. From online classes to outdoor activities exercise has become a vital mental and physical wellness component to many people’s daily regimens. But what about the concept of uniting cannabis consumption with exercise? A match made in heaven? For many, incorporating cannabis into their pre- and post-workout routines is becoming commonplace. While CBD has found a place in the world of exercise as a way to aid with recovery, THC is beginning to gain traction as well.

While there is still little research on exercising while high, the general consensus is that there are benefits of doing so. A recent study found that cannabis consumers have a lower body mass index (BMI) than average Americans. This study seems to contradict the “munchies phenomenon” that would lead many people to believe cannabis consumers would have a higher BMI. However in the same study, those that consumed cannabis before exercising pointed out that they enjoyed exercise more and had fun doing it. They enjoyed it so much that on average consumers exceeded the recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week by almost 10 minutes.

Cannabis as a Post-Exercise Recovery Option

While cannabis appears to increase enjoyment during exercise for some it may also encourage exercise as well. More notable however is that cannabis consumers report that using cannabis as a recovery aid is the main catalyst behind their consumption. The anti-inflammatory properties that some strains contain may alleviate and mitigate pain after a heavy workout while also alleviating the need to use habit-forming opioids. As many are aware, opioid addictions quickly became more common in retired athletes due to the constant strain they put on their bodies. Now, more and more of these retired professional athletes are advocating for the use of cannabis to aid with pain and recovery. Several athletes have even reported that they cannot remember a time when they weren’t high during a competition, not only to help with pain and soreness but also because of the sense of being in “the zone” after cannabis consumption.

Professional Athletes Share Their Cannabis Experiences

Retired NBA player, Matt Barnes, recalls being high during many of his best performances. Even outside of the professional sports arena, cannabis consumers have reported the same “in the zone” feeling during normal everyday exercise. Consumers reported that using cannabis before or during exercise gave them a deeper connection to their mind and body. For example, while lifting weights consumers reported that they felt their form and posture improve. Weightlifters and bodybuilders also credited cannabis consumption with overcoming the boredom and repetiviness that comes with training smaller muscle groups. Former NFL player, Ricky Williams’ career was marked by several suspensions due to testing positive for cannabis. However in retirement he has become one of the biggest cannabis advocates in sports, co-founding the first cannabis friendly gym, Power Plant Fitness and Wellness.

It’s important to note once again that there is more research that needs to take place on this subject. As a general rule of thumb, remember that cannabis can affect each person in different ways. However, research continues to point to the recovery benefits that cannabis provides post-exercise. So after your next workout instead of reaching for a bottle of painkillers, consider grabbing a protein shake and a blunt. Or if you prefer to avoid the psychoactive effects of a high THC strain go with a 1:1 CBD:THC option.


Author: Cameran Testerman