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The Benefits of Combining Cannabis & Exercise

The Benefits of Combining Cannabis & Exercise

Many believe marijuana is only used to relax the body, such that, its users are those who would rather sit on a couch and eat snacks rather than exercise. On the contrary, eight in ten users report using the drug before or after exercise as a means to boost their energy and motivation. In fact, 67% have used marijuana both before and after a workout [1]! Read on to learn how marijuana can impact results from exercise.

For general information about whether medical marijuana (MMJ) is right for you, schedule an exam with one of our Florida Medical Marijuana Doctors. You may complete our eligibility survey in just 5 minutes to find out if you pre-qualify for a recommendation.

Marijuana for Longer, Better Workouts

Researchers at the University of Colorado-Boulder surveyed 600 users of cannabis living in California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington to gauge the effects of marijuana on their exercise habits. Their findings were actually the opposite of the typical stereotype. The study participants who used cannabis one hour before exercising and/or four hours afterward exercised 43 minutes more per week than those who did not use cannabis when exercising. Lead researcher Angela Bryan, a professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and the Institute for Cognitive Science said in a statement, “There is a stereotype that cannabis use leads people to be lazy and couch-locked and not physically active, but these data suggest that this is not the case. . .What’s more, 52% of those who worked cannabis into their exercise regimens said it made them more motivated to work out. And 70% said it boosted how much they enjoyed the activity, while 78% claimed it helped their recovery” [1]. 

The Science Behind Marijuana and Exercise

Based on solid evidence about exercise science, people experience a natural high when the body produces endorphins during a workout. While little is known about how the endorphins are produced, some scientists theorize that this pleasurable feeling occurs when opioid receptors in the body become activated. Yet other researchers find those who take drugs meant to block opioids still achieve a euphoric feeling during exercise. Alternatively, it has been suggested these blissful feelings originate from within the endocannabinoid system. One study even found higher levels of the endocannabinoid molecule “anandamide” via blood samples taken from volunteers who ran or cycled in a controlled lab environment. It is believed that marijuana is able to target those same endocannabinoid receptors, inducing and enhancing the pleasurable feelings that come with exercise [2].

Top Ways to Consume Marijuana Before Workouts

Marijuana consumption has become more commonplace due to greater legalization, so more athletes have begun to use it as a means to enhance their workouts. Of the many ways to consume marijuana, they tend to prefer edibles, vaporizing, marijuana infused power bars, and cannabis oils to inhaling smoke into their lungs. Whether founded or not, this is due to concerns about how the smoke affects their ability to breathe while training. Regardless of what form is used, marijuana helps with pain tolerance and relief from anxiety that may occur before a workout. In an interview with Men’s Journal, triathlete Clifford Drusinsky reported he will eat 20mg of THC in an energy bar each morning before training sessions. He said “marijuana relaxes me and allows me to go into a controlled meditational place. When I get high, I train smarter and focus on form” [3].

Marijuana and Body Mass Index (BMI)

Most Americans tend to find it difficult to incorporate exercise into their busy lifestyles. Adding insult to injury, some believe marijuana makes people lazy, and there isn’t a lot of scientific data to prove otherwise. However, as with the study mentioned above, research is beginning to show that cannabis provides those who exercise with greater motivation and enjoyment. It has been potentially determined that cannabis use activates pathways in the brain linked to feelings of “reward and pain response” and that “people who use marijuana actually tend to have lower body mass indexes”[4]. A national 3-year study published in the March 2019 issue of the International Journal of Epidemiology indicates a “lower prevalence of obesity among cannabis users” [5]. 

Is Medical Marijuana Right for Me?

Whether medical marijuana will help your condition depends on many factors best evaluated by a medical doctor. If you feel you may benefit from medical marijuana, the first step is to take our eligibility survey. In just 5 minutes, you could pre-qualify for a recommendation. A Florida Medical Marijuana Doctor can then determine if you qualify during an in-person exam. For more information, visit https://docmj.com.

  1. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/cannabis-users-who-mix-weed-and-tend-to-workouts-exercise-more-2019-05-01
  2. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02529-0
  3. https://www.cnbs.org/health/cannabis-and-working-out/
  4. https://time.com/5582780/marijuana-exercise/
  5. https://academic.oup.com/ije/advance-article/doi/10.1093/ije/dyz044/5382155