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Power Up Your Workouts With Weed

Posted by MMJ Jill on Apr 26, 2022

Do you think of a typical weed user as a gym addict hitting the weights, or does your mind instantly go to the “stoner” stereotype? The perception that cannabis consumers are heavily sedated and too high to do anything but remain couch-locked with the munchies until they pass out is often how marijuana users are classified. Luckily, the stigma of weed users has been one of acceptance lately since there have been more states legalizing recreational marijuana

There are additional benefits to using marijuana other than for recreational purposes or to treat symptoms of qualifying medical conditions for patients in Illinois. With cannabis starting to reach a larger and larger audience, there’s a lot of buzz about the relationship between weed and working out. Let’s dive into the world of weed and exercise.

Cannabis and Exercise Research

A recent study done by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder analyzed over 600 participants' surveys to see how they perceived and reacted to cannabis use before or after working out. The study was entitled Cannabis and Health survey. It was a voluntary study advertised to cannabis enthusiasts over 21 years old on Facebook based on their interests and likes related to cannabis.

This survey was done entirely online for people in states that had legalized recreational marijuana. The researchers hypothesized that weed would boost motivation and that those that smoked weed before working out would exercise more than those that didn’t consume marijuana before working out. Those in charge of the study also predicted that weed might promote healing after working out. 

The results of the survey were in line with the predicted hypotheses. A high percentage - nearly 80% - of the participants reported that they would recommend using cannabis before and after working out. The recreational marijuana users who smoked weed within one hour before or after physical exercise said they spent approximately 40 more minutes exercising every week. Around 80% of the survey participants said that cannabis consumption helped them recover after a workout. 

Half of the survey candidates also reported that they worked out more after consuming cannabis and that weed gave them the extra motivation needed to tackle and complete a workout. Nearly 50% of the individuals surveyed stated that marijuana enhanced their performance during training, exercise, or a workout. 

It’s important to realize that the study has its limits and inconsistencies. More current research is necessary, but this is a good starting point suggesting that weed benefits exercise. The findings in this survey lead to some benefits of working out with marijuana, but let’s see the pros and cons of working out with weed. 

Pros of Working Out with Weed

Here are the advantages of exercising with marijuana. 

  • Increases focus during a workout - Select cannabis strains may increase focus during a training session. 
  • Boosts motivation to exercise - Most people struggle with the lack of motivation and energy to work out. Smoking weed before working out can help with that.
  • Enhances your mood before a workout - Weed can stimulate the sensation that athletes often refer to as a “runner’s high.” 
  • Weed benefits muscles - Smoking weed before a workout can have muscle relaxant properties, leading to a sense of relaxation and relief from muscle tension.
  • Useful for concentration during long endurance sports or workouts - Cannabis can help you get through a time-consuming exercise routine like running on a treadmill or biking on a stationary bike.
  • May increase the enjoyment of working out - Smoking weed and working out is helpful for especially tedious exercises that can get boring after a while.
  • It gives you a different perception of time - If you use weed before a long workout, it may not feel like the exercise is neverending.
  • Aids in the recovery process - Weed can help you recover after a challenging workout.
  • Reduces inflammation, muscle soreness, and pain - Cannabis use after exercising or working out can help relieve pain from associated injuries. 
  • Works well with low-intensity workouts - Weed can be used safely before an easy workout.
  • Improves sleep quality - Marijuana strains can help you get a restful night of sleep, which is essential for a good workout.

Cons of Exercising with Weed

Now, we’ll look at the flip side of the coin and things you should be aware of if you use weed before or after working out. 

  • Not the best for exercises that require heavy exertion - You shouldn’t smoke weed before working out if it’s going to require a lot of physical effort, like weightlifting, boxing, cycling, rock climbing, and skiing. 
  • May not be focused, present, or alert - Weed before exercise can affect your reaction time. 
  • Raises heart rate - Marijuana use spikes your heart rate, as does exercising, so this combination is not ideal. 
  • Regular weed use can lead to tolerance - Consuming cannabis regularly requires users to intake more weed to feel the same effects as before. They may also react differently to a new amount of weed before exercising.
  • May have a negative impact on health - Smoking or vaping marijuana regularly may impact the lungs due to some carcinogens and pesticides. (Always be sure to get your weed from a licensed dispensary to know what is in the flower you are purchasing). 

Best Strains for Working Out with Weed

Typically, the best weed for working out are strains with low THC (the compound in the marijuana plant that gets you high) balanced with CBD (the compound in the cannabis plant that helps relieve inflammation). Staying motivated is ideal for exercise enthusiasts and gym rats training with weed. It’s important to remember that each individual reacts differently with the same weed strains because of their endocannabinoid receptors.

A professor at the University of Pennsylvania studying cannabis and exercise says that “there are ways for athletes to leverage each compound for their unique benefits” in Men’s Journal, The Best Ways to Work Weed Into Your Workout.

Sativa or Indica for Working Out?

Most cannabis connoisseurs choose a sativa strain to smoke or consume before a workout. Those that want a hit of marijuana after exercising to aid in their recovery typically select an indica strain. However, there are hybrid strains that might also work well. See this helpful article from Way of Leaf on their top cannabis strain picks for working out. 

When trying to choose the best strain for working out, pay attention to these critical factors: 

  • The strength or potency of the cannabis strain - How much THC or CBD does the strain contain?  
  • Dosage of cannabis - How much weed are you consuming or smoking before a workout? 
  • Your overall health condition - Do you have any underlying health factors that need to be assessed to see if marijuana combined with exercise is a good idea?
  • Category of training or exercise - What kind of workout are you going to do?

Ask a budtender like Fernando, Ian, or Rob for advice based on your goals for using weed as a pre or post-workout ritual. These featured Patient Care Specialists all enjoy using cannabis to elevate their workouts. Let whomever you speak with know that you’re looking for the best strain to smoke before or after working out. It could boost your mood and motivate you to exercise or have an enjoyable workout. You may be more focused on the benefits of weed after a workout, relieving some inflammation in your joints after a long run or bike ride.

Are you ready to see a difference in your exercise routine? Let us know more about your relationship with weed and exercise, and which strains work best for you to improve your workouts.

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