Too often, cannabis use is associated with lazing around, eating junk food, and wasting one's precious life away. Since cannabis is commonly used for relaxation and increased appetite, it might make sense that cannabis use could lead to or exacerbate an unhealthy lifestyle.
However, people often find that the opposite is true. Anecdotally, many people report using cannabis as a workout aid, a stark contrast to the idea of using it to relax. It may be some of those sativa side effects we hear so much about, but there is more to it than that.
It makes perfect sense since cannabis can make exercise more enjoyable. This leads to a positive feedback loop, leading to more frequent runs or trips to the gym.
So if you love to use cannabis, it could be the key to achieving an active lifestyle or helping you reach a new fitness goal. So the next time you're about to hit the trail or take a trip to your local gym, follow these helpful tips to maximize your experience.
“The best way to combine exercise and cannabis is by consuming edibles.”
When consuming cannabis, the easiest and quickest option is usually to smoke a joint or a pipe. However, when exercising, this may not be the best option.
Whether you're setting your sights on a new deadlift weight or a new 5K record, you're going to need your lungs for peak performance. When you smoke or vaporize cannabis, your lungs can get irritated and inflamed, reducing your performance levels significantly.
The best way to combine exercise and cannabis is by consuming edibles. Edibles like THC or CBD gummies deliver pleasant effects without bothering your lungs.
The only downside is that sometimes edibles can take a while to cause an effect. It’s helpful if you already have a training schedule, a time when you know you’ll be in the gym, or a set time when you know you will be putting your shoes on for a run.
It’s even easier if you already know your dose and exactly how it affects you. That way, you know precisely how much of an edible you should consume and about what time you’ll feel its effects.
If you do decide not to use edibles, the next best way is through vaporization. Vaporization of cannabis keeps the plant from combusting and is associated with less lung irritation when compared with smoking.
However, you decide to consume cannabis, try to keep your lungs at their full potential. So avoid those huge bong rips or overdoing it with the vaporizer.
#2 Keep Hydrated
“Even without being medicated, many people who exercise forget to hydrate adequately.”
We don’t mean “stay hydrated” because of cottonmouth (it will help there too), but because hydration is a critical component in exercise. Keeping hydrated regulates your body temperature, helps your body transport nutrients, and ensures your joints are lubricated.
Even without being medicated, many people who exercise forget to hydrate adequately. If you are feeling thirsty during your workout, it means you may already be dehydrated.
Drinking enough water doesn’t just start during the workout, but many hours before it. It also doesn’t stop there either. It’s essential to remain hydrated during your exercise, and especially afterward too. Here’s an example of a common pre-workout hydration schedule:
- Drink about 2.5 cups (~0.5 liters) a few hours before your exercise
- Drink 1 cup (0.25 liters) about 20 minutes before you begin exercising
- Drink 1 cup (0.25 liters) every 20 minutes of your exercise
- Drink 1 cup (0.25 liters) within 30 minutes of finishing your exercise
Even after your workout, you should continue to drink water throughout the day. By consuming enough water, your workouts will be more productive and you will be staying healthier overall.
#3 Don’t Overdo It
We know how amazing it is to have a “runner's high” on your 10th mile, or when you’re crushing your 4th bench press set. It would be wonderful to have such productive workouts all the time, but the truth is that our bodies need time to recover.
Doing over the top workouts isn’t actually helpful, and can actually lead to injuries that will leave you on the sidelines for weeks or even months. This can be especially problematic when combining cannabis with exercise because of the natural pain-relieving abilities that cannabis provides our bodies.
These pain-relieving abilities are thanks to the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which cannabis interacts with. The ECS is involved in many parts of the pain pathway, and can help reduce pain when stimulated.
That can potentially be great for exercise because moving the pain threshold higher can help you move past pain barriers that would otherwise hold you back. On the other hand, it can be dangerous, because during exercise we need to listen to our bodies and adjust accordingly.
Sometimes a little pain during weight-lifting or running means that something isn’t right. The solution might be to take it easier, practice better form, or take a few days off. If you don’t notice these little pains or push past them because of cannabis, then you might end up with a much more severe injury.
Our advice is that it’s best to use cannabis when your training is going to be something you are comfortable with. It’s better to save your record-breaking days for being clear-minded so you can be completely in-tune with your body. Remember to Know Your Dose!
#4 Winding Down
"Using cannabis during your post-workout leisure time can also benefit your exercises greatly."
After any workout, it’s always crucial to do a proper cool-down whether that be static or dynamic stretching or even a little bit of light cardio. After that, a shower and some well-earned leisure time are in order.
Using cannabis during your post-workout leisure time can also benefit your exercises greatly. There have been studies that suggest that using cannabis after a workout can actually help athletes recover faster.
Besides potentially aiding recovery, it’s also a great way to relax mentally after an intense workout. Many athletes are using cannabis as their go-to method of winding down after an intense session.
The Finish Line
Only time and further research will tell if cannabis is extremely beneficial in the long term to exercise or recovery. So far, they seem like a great mix as long as you listen to your body. Keep these 4 tips in mind, stay safe, and you’ll enjoy your exercise more than ever!