The times of associating weed use with lazy lying on a couch, surrounded by pizza and Coca-Cola, are long gone. The recent isolation of CBD from marijuana has caused an upsurge in user interest in weed’s therapeutic qualities, going far beyond the feeling of high and euphoric. Thus, weed has gradually transformed from a recreational drug (and an illicit, stigmatized substance for many) into a helper in appetite regulation, pain and stress management, and even athletic activity.
So, how do people use weed for physical exercise? Why do they resort to weed as a physical stimulant? Let’s find it all out.
Why Combine Weed with Exercise?
There are many reasons for people to use marijuana during physical activities. First, the common stereotype of a lazy stoner was busted long ago, with serious research proving that weed users are actually less prone to obesity. Many surveyed users report taking marijuana right before their workouts and have better exercise outcomes and workout duration than non-users.
Second, there has been much anecdotal evidence about the benefits of weed for physical resilience and performance from professional athletes. Many former professional NBA players and boxers confessed to using weed before competitions and performing much better under its influence. These accounts have encouraged many non-professionals to try the energizing effect of weed in their physical activity, which also increased weed’s association with sports.
Third, research findings suggest that using weed before a workout makes physical activity more fun and pleasant. This effect is very important for many amateur sportspeople because modern individuals tend to lead a sedentary lifestyle. Thus, motivating oneself to regular study is a hard task that not everyone can successfully complete. Using weed as a motivational stimulant works out well for many, as weed users report exercising longer and enjoying the process much more than non-users do. These observations imply that weed users can reap better outcomes from their sports activities due to greater endorphin release and higher motivation for the next workout.
Finally, weed is a vital aid in muscle recovery during regular sports activities. Athletes often experience muscle pain or cramps after intense workouts, which complicate further exercise or demotivate them to continue. Cannabis has a CBD component that relieves muscle pain and helps muscle relaxation. So, if you smoke your favorite Sherblato strain before or right after the workout, you’re sure to experience muscle relief and lower intensity of muscle pain.
What Does Science Say?
The illegal status of weed makes it problematic to conduct large-scale lab studies with marijuana. However, the pace of legalization is quick, and there are some academic gains in this area. So, let’s review a couple of empirical studies that link physical activity with weed and examine the effect of this combination.
- Ogle et al. studied how and why adults used weed during physical activity and discovered a range of rationales for this practice. Their respondents named the physiological, psychological, neuromotor, and spiritual reasons for using weed. The most popular causes were focus and concentration, making the exercise more enjoyable, enhancing the spirit-body connection, enhancing body awareness, and staying in the required zone.
- French et al. found that weed users are more physically active than non-users, countering the common stereotype about a lazy, non-active stoner.
- Lisano et al. discovered that many athletes use weed before or after physical training, with the weed’s choice depending on the timing of use (energizing strains are preferred before the workout while relaxing and pain-soothing strains are used after the workout). Pain management was the most frequently reported reason for weed use in that study.
Is the Outcome Always Positive?
As you can see, the use of weed in combination with physical activity is on the rise, with many regular weed users reporting a reasonable rate of physical training counter to the lazy stoner label. However, it’s vital to take several precautions before you consider using weed in your workouts.
First, you shouldn’t forget that weed is a psychoactive drug above all, so it can cause unexpected effects that will spoil your workout; for example, you might feel the cottonmouth effect or experience munchies.
Second, choosing the strain unwisely can result in a couch-locking effect instead of a boost of energy. So, it’s vital to consult a specialist before using specific weed strains in sports.
Third, don’t forget that weed hinders your reaction, lowers blood pressure, and can sometimes slow you down. Thus, engaging in traumatic, risky sports activities under the influence is not recommended, as your risk of getting severe trauma rises manifold.
Using weed during physical training is nothing criminal (if you’re not an Olympic athlete, of course). Still, it should be thoroughly planned and responsibly executed to make this practice safe for your health. Start with low doses, choose a strain with consideration, and monitor your state after weed intake. If you feel shortness of breath or a heavy heartbeat, it’s better to abandon the workout and have a rest.