Those who use marijuana on the regular are often depicted as a cartoon-like caricature of a coach-potato “stoner” whose only movement is the frequent arm bend of shoving munchy foods into their mouth. But as funny as that character is to watch in movies or on TV, like any stereotype, it’s not always the case. There’s a new breed of pot-smoker recognizing that combining marijuana and exercise provides them with the best of both worlds.
Marijuana and Exercise: A Match Made in Heaven?
CBD, the non-psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana, has long been used in topical creams and lotions to ease inflammation and promote healing — but that’s not what we’re talking about here. With the legalization of marijuana for recreational use bringing pot out of the closet and into the mainstream, there are more weed smokers than ever before. It’s only natural that these partakers would embrace it in their everyday lives. Since exercise is (or should be) part of everyday life, more and more people are noticing that weed and exercise can be a great combination.
Here are some reasons why cannabis and exercise are a good match:
We all know that feeling: You’ve got to work out. But you don’t want to work out. But you’ve got to work out … BUT you don’t WANT to work out! Many are finding that a few puffs of marijuana can break through that inertia and make exercise seem more like a “get to” than a “have to”.
Pot can change your mood, and your mind, so that what once was drudgery can feel more like a party. Everyone knows that just getting to the gym can be half the battle. So, if there’s something you can reward yourself with before the workout … why not?
Many marijuana exercisers find that working out high actually makes them exercise for a longer period of time because they are actually enjoying what they’re doing and are no longer eyeballing the clock. This is especially true with highly repetitive (and often boring) exercise such as running. Many find that smoking a little pot before a run makes it easier to get “in the zone” and that time just seems to fly by. Hmmm. Sounds good to me.
Contrary to the propaganda spread through films like “Reefer Madness”, marijuana does not necessarily diminish brain function. In fact, some studies claim that giving older mice low doses of THC on a consistent basis actually restored cognitive function. Pre-workout pot smokers often cite reduced anxiety and calmness as a benefit and a way to laser in on one task. Some gyms and studios have embraced this train of thought so fully that they are now offering “Cannabis Yoga” classes — where bowls are packed and smoked not only before but during class. Their claim is that marijuana can be used to quiet the mind and assist in getting into a meditative headspace that offers deeper introspection.
Many users are reporting that marijuana is not only helping them get through their workout but is aiding them post-workout as well. It seems that pot’s anti-inflammatory properties are alleviating soreness and pain. When you feel less stiff and sore the day after an intense exercise session you’re more likely to work out again the next day … which can lead to greater flexibility and more consistency. And that’s important because, unfortunately, working out only once a year is not enough. (But, oh, how I wish it were …)
Recovery and rest go hand-in-hand, and they are the building blocks for increasing muscle. THC not only induces sleep but has even been found to help with sleep apnea. CBD helps to increase quality REM sleep and also lessen daytime fatigue. Studies show that CBD can also be highly beneficial for those suffering from PTSD. So, basically, not only is it great to have some pot before and during, but a little puff-puff post-exercise can improve both sleep quality and duration. That means you can get up all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed tomorrow and do it all over again. If you want to.
Use Good Judgment to Ensure Safety
As with anything, it’s important to use good judgment. All of the above does not give anyone the right to go crazy and put others at risk. Do yourself and those around you a favor and NEVER drive impaired, to the gym or anywhere else. If you have health risks due to age, heart disease, diabetes or blood pressure, you should always use caution when exercising, with or without marijuana.
You’ll also want to be extra careful when it comes to high-risk exercise involving heavy weights or moving machinery. Don’t jump on any stability balls. Marijuana is great but it doesn’t give you superpowers.
Also, be sure to know your strains. Sativas tend to be stimulating whereas Indicas are more calming. Pick the right strain for the right activity, and know which one to choose before, during and after your exercise routine.
Marijuana and Exercise: Is It a Match for You?
With all that said — if your interest is piqued, give it a go! Try it for yourself and see if marijuana can make your workouts more enjoyable.
Want to learn more? Register for a CannaCon event near you. You’ll have the opportunity to talk with industry leaders and embrace all the ways you can use marijuana throughout your daily life.