We’ve written previously about the many reasons people access cannabis: Helping fight pain and inflammation, reducing anxiety and stress, and supporting better sleep, among other benefits. But today’s topic is one that takes many people by surprise: The combination of cannabis and workout routines.
Wait a minute. Cannabis and exercise? According to stoner lore, people who use cannabis are lazy, right?
Wrong. Besides that finding that cannabis use is linked to a lower body mass index, the fact is that cannabis and workout routines make great partners. In today’s post, we’ll explore the most important topics around this pairing, including:
- How can cannabis support workouts?
- When is the best time—before, during, or after—to combine cannabis and workout?
- The best methods to access cannabis for working out
- Specific cannabis strains and products that can help support your workout
By the time we’re finished, you may just find yourself raring to hit the track or the gym to start exercising. Are you ready? Let’s dive in!
Can You Use Cannabis In Your Workouts? What the Science Says
As a growing number of articles and cover stories attest, many pro and amateur athletes are finding that cannabis has a beneficial effect on their exercise—whether it’s helping them prep for intense activity, boosting stamina and focus, or supporting post-workout recovery. But what does the science say?
As you probably already know, the two most prevalent cannabinoids—THC and CBD—elicit very different responses in our bodies. THC is the cannabinoid most directly responsible for the marijuana plant’s euphoric “high.” CBD, by comparison, imparts only a very mild psychoactivity—some people describe a gentle energetic “buzz.” And both these cannabinoids are associated with anti-inflammatory effects, in different ways.
We’ve known for some time about these beneficial effects as they’re laid out in this 2009 study. And one particularly intriguing study from 2021 found that THC worked best in partnership with CBD. This underscores what some clinicians have been saying for years, which is that the many compounds in cannabis often work in supporting roles together for specific medical benefits.
But on top of the cannabis plant’s effects on our muscles, there’s the mental and emotional impacts to consider. According to a survey published in Nature, roughly 70% of respondents reported that cannabis made their workouts more enjoyable. This was bolstered by another study that suggests the plant’s natural euphoria helps many of us enjoy—and more importantly, stick with—our exercise routines.
When to Use Cannabis? Cannabis and Workout Recovery
That brings us to an important question: Is it best to use cannabis before, during, or after your workout? As it turns out, all three have their uses.
Before you begin a workout, you may find it best to “pre-limber” your muscles with a topical product that delivers the anti-inflammatory power of cannabinoids directly to specific muscles and joints. Whichever product you use, check the label carefully before use. While most topicals don’t impart any intoxicating effects from THC, a few (called transdermals) do. If you’re looking to avoid potentially distracting psychoactivity altogether, you can choose high-CBD cannabis products for maximum benefit with minimum distraction.
During a workout, you may find that small to moderate doses of sativa-dominant strains impart a notable cerebral uplift and focus. You could always try an indica strain here, but many people find their relaxing, body-centered effects to be an impediment. If you need a refresher on cannabis types, revisit our recent posts on sativa and indica strains.
After your routine, it’s time for cannabis and workout recovery. As we suggested a moment ago, a classic relaxing indica may be the ticket here. Regardless of the strain, THC delivers powerful anti-inflammatory and pain-fighting effects, both of which keep us feeling limber and able. This effect is as much psychological as physical. As an article in Men’s Journal points out, knowing that a tough workout won’t knock us out of our routine is an important factor in building and maintaining our physical fitness.
Cannabis and Workout: Specific Products and Strains
Wondering where to begin? Here are a few tips designed to get you pointed in the right direction.
Cannabis Topicals: These balms, lotions, and rubs are just the thing for delivering a potent dose of cannabinoids directly to sore or affected areas before or after a workout. Dori Balm Recovery Rub is a lavender-scented lifesaver, while long-lasting Dr. Solomon’s Rescue Lotion puts pain on pause until further notice.
Cannabis Vapes: Fast-acting, discreet, and easily portable, cannabis vapes are a great solution for athletes looking to empower their workout or recovery with cannabis. A sativa-dominant hybrid such as Strawberry Cough delivers the cerebral uplift to help you power through a challenging routine, while a heavy indica such as Black Mamba might be just the thing to bring on post-workout relaxation.
You’ll find plenty of other options on our online menus. Simply choose the dispensary closest to you and enter terms such as “indica” or “high-CBD.”
Cannabis as a Workout Supplement: Wrapping Up
We hope today’s post provides inspiration as to how you might combine cannabis and workout routines. Whichever products you choose, here’s something to consider: Research indicates that most people derive greater benefit from lower doses of cannabis. Especially if you’re engaged in a strenuous routine, experts recommend taking it easy on THC as its effects can include dizziness or spatial disorientation.
Next time you visit any of our family of dispensaries, ask your friendly budtender for more information on how to make cannabis a healthy, sustainable part of your exercise and self-care practices. We look forward to adding a little lift to your workout routine!