Can cannabis improve your workout?
If you’re a fitness fanatic and you’re interested in trying cannabis, your love of the gym might be holding you back from finding out what the fuss is all about.
There’s a lot of accepted wisdom when it comes to marijuana, such as the myth of the lazy stoner or its association with cravings for junk food. The idea that cannabis is incompatible with a healthy lifestyle is deeply ingrained in our culture. Now, as we are starting to learn more about cannabis and the tide of public opinion is slowly turning, this idea is being challenged. According to one recent study, Cannabis consumers actually exercise more than the average Canadian.
There is a lot of conflicting information on the internet about cannabis and exercise, some saying that it can improve your workout and others saying it can prevent you from reaching your physical peak. This blog is not going to make such claims. Instead, we’re going to focus on the known properties of cannabis and how they can be applied to your training routine. It’s important to bear in mind, cannabis is not some magic missing ingredient that will suddenly transform you into Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. In fact, after trying it, you may find it’s best to keep marijuana and exercise separate in your life.
At Sweetgrass, we believe that cannabis can be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle and there’s no reason why responsible use of marijuana should prevent you from achieving your fitness goals. Used in the right way, it may even enhance your workouts. The World Anti-Doping Agency considers cannabis as a prohibited substance in sport, partly because it may enhance sports performance. It goes without saying you should avoid cannabis for this reason if you are an elite athlete. For everyone else, here are some things to consider.
Consuming cannabis pre-workout
Should you workout while high? It depends.
For one, it depends on the type of workout you are doing but also the strain of cannabis you are consuming (more on this later). In general, consuming cannabis is not recommended before doing anything with an inherent safety risk, such as wall-climbing or lifting heavy weights.
If you are performing low-risk exercises such as CV work or some light strength training, you’re probably fine. It will not make you run faster, jump higher or lift more but if you’re starting to find your workout monotonous, it may make your workout a little less tedious. Some strains, but not all, have been developed to improve focus. These particular types may help you to get in the zone and stay motivated while exercising.
Activities such as yoga and pilates can potentially be enhanced by consuming cannabis beforehand. For one, certain strains have muscle-relaxant properties. You may find this makes you more flexible or helps you to relax enough to hold that tricky pose for longer. For those who practice yoga for meditation, cannabis has anecdotally been used to assist with introspection and cut out external distractions.
The best time to use cannabis in order to improve fitness is after a workout. A major benefit of using cannabis is recovery. It can help if you feel less sore and recover faster so you can get back to the gym faster or go harder on your next visit.
Marijuana is often used to reduce pain so it can help if you have any chronic conditions that flare up after exercising. Some strains also have anti-inflammatory properties. If you experience swelling in a particular part of your body after you exercise, consuming cannabis may help it to go down.
Which strains are good for exercise?
Depending on what type of exercise you are doing and what your goals are, there are different strains that can potentially help. It’s best to talk to a staff member at your dispensary to find the best strain for your purposes.
It is not necessarily the case that one plant, in particular, is better than others for exercise. For example, you might find a Sativa works just as well as an Indica or Hybrid variety for what you want. In general, though, it’s probably best to start your search for a strain with a higher ratio of CBD. This is more likely to provide the muscle relaxant or pain relief properties without the ‘high’ you would get with a THC-dominant strain.
As always, if you are new to cannabis, start slow and low – one or two puffs – and see how you get on.