by Cyrus Grant
Workouts and weed — two things that don’t traditionally go together. But should they? We’re here to check out if cannabis can elevate your workout, and how to go about implementing safe methods of incorporating cannabis into your fitness routine.
Cannabis Makes Things More Enjoyable
Before getting into the weeds on whether or not cannabis can improve your workout performance, let’s start with an obvious potential benefit — cannabis might make your workouts more enjoyable. As with almost anything, cannabis tends to up the enjoyment factor, and going to the gym might be no different. If getting a little high can help you vibe out and get lost in some music while you run or hit the weight rack, the gym can feel less like a chore and more like a fun way to escape and take care of your fitness needs.
While cannabis might not increase your performance directly, we tend to be more invested in things we enjoy, and cannabis can help make your workout experience more enjoyable.
The Runner’s “High”
Taking the more obvious point above and going a step further, there’s some evidence that the term “runner’s high” might be more on the nose than you would think. A study done at the University of Colorado Boulder, has found a potential explanation for the “runner’s high” that isn’t credited to endorphins, but rather endogenous cannabinoids.
These are “cannabinoid-like brain chemicals” which during a workout, might “kick in after a period of exercise, binding to receptors in the brain to make us euphoric and alert.” Furthermore, researchers believe it’s possible that by using cannabis before a workout, THC might bind to those same receptors, potentially helping achieve or even enhancing that “runner’s high” feeling.
But before going and getting super high to crush your next workout, researchers did also acknowledge that potential negative effects — such as reduced awareness, reduced coordination, and abnormal heart effects — could harm your ability to work out. They also ended the study by pointing out that there is no evidence that using cannabis will make you run faster or jump higher, but, the psychological benefits do appear to be clear.
Don’t Let Soreness Stop You
Going to the gym can be a mental struggle some days, and when your muscles and joints are feeling achy it’s even easier to cheat or totally skip out on your fitness routines. That’s where THC use can potentially help. Research has found that THC activates receptors that can help “regulate pain perception and immune responses,” allowing the endocannabinoid system to reduce everyday soreness in the body. That means cannabis use prior to working out might help alleviate some of those pains that are preventing you from maximizing your workout time.
It’s also worth noting that some strains will work better than others when it comes to easing those aches. Next time you hit the dispensary (or make an online order) look for CBD-dominant strains like Wunderdog, Hell’s Fire OG, and Jellyfish — all of which are found in our Phantom pen — and, those containing myrcene as the dominant terpene.
Just because you’ve left the gym or finished running, doesn’t mean your workout routine is over. Recovery is an important part of making the most of your activity, and it turns out cannabis might be able to help.
Directly related to the soothing properties we just covered, cannabis is thought to help ease the soreness you typically experience over the 24-72 hours after a workout. While soreness is perfectly normal, and even a sign that you’re building up your muscles, limiting it is going to help you recover quicker, and get back in the gym to make the most of your next workout.
Incorporating Cannabis Into Your Workout Routine
If fighting aches, limiting your soreness, and potentially getting yourself in the workout zone sound like necessary workout enhancers to you, then you’ll want to incorporate cannabis into your workout routine. But, make sure you’re doing so safely.
It goes without saying, but start small and increase your usage as needed. Much like you aren’t walking into the gym on your first day and loading up the barbell with all the plates you can find, you shouldn’t be getting as high as possible if you want to enhance your workout experience. Find the strains that work best for you, then adjust your usage until you find what feels right.
You’ll also want to be aware of how you consume cannabis, especially if your workouts are cardio-based. If you find smoking or vaping has a negative effect, try edibles or even drink-based cannabis like Tough Mama’s YOLO SHOTZ (make sure to pay attention to the MGs and proper dosages though).
While research is still limited as to the effects cannabis has when it comes to working out, there is some evidence that points to potential benefits in incorporating the plant into your workout routine.
While it won’t help you lift a truck or jump over the moon, it can help put you in the ideal headspace to maximize your workouts. Beyond that, it can also help with keeping you feeling your best, so you’re ready to get in the gym and work, day in and day out.
Just remember, if you decide to add cannabis to your workout routine, do so safely and responsibly!