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Weed and Exercise: How are They Connected?

Weed and Exercise: How are They Connected?

While you may not naturally put weed and exercise together in the same sentence, some studies show an interesting connection between the two. Learn the latest research and athletes’ views on incorporating cannabis into fitness regimes.
January 26, 2017

While you may not naturally put weed and exercise together in the same sentence, some studies show an interesting connection between the two. Learn the latest research and athletes’ views on incorporating cannabis into fitness regimes.

While weed carries a stereotype as a “lazy stoner” drug, it may actually have stimulating effects that aid exercise. Here is how cannabis and exercise relate to one another, in case you are looking to get toned in 2017 and do not want to give up your toke sessions.

Weed and Exercise

Weed and Exercise: How are They Connected?

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Can Cannabis Improve Athletic Performance?

As cannabis becomes legalized across more U.S. states with each year that passes, it is becoming more commonplace, with athletes using it to benefit their training regimes. In particular, edibles, such as weed-based power bars, vaporizing, and CBD oil extracts are popular for this use because these methods do not involve damage to the lungs.

For some athletes, they depend on marijuana to increase their pain tolerance and find relief from anxiety, with both elements helping them push harder through their trainings. For example, triathlete and gym owner Clifford Drusinsky recently told Men’s Journal that marijuana edibles help relax him and enables him to get to a controlled, meditational mental space where he can “train smarter and focus on form”.

However, other exercise enthusiasts reject cannabis use, citing the herb as decreasing motivation and giving them food cravings, which only results in sitting on the couch eating chips. So, what does the science have to say on this topic?

The Science Behind Marijuana and Exercise

The high might actually help some athletes achieve performance gains. But one major problem is that there are few studies on how pot affects athletic performance because in the U.S. it is still classed as a Schedule 1 drug, as per the Drug Enforcement Agency, making it hard for researchers to get access to it. While the issue does not exist in states that have legalized medical and recreational cannabis, the research is still fairly new.

With that being said, there is evidence that weed has an anti-inflammatory influence and that the compounds in the buds might act like the naturally-occurring endorphins in the body. The result is that the individual feels an effect similar to a “runner’s high” that makes it allows them to get through their workouts a bit more ease than they might otherwise.

Weed and Exercise

Weed and Exercise: How are They Connected?

Can You Lose Weight with Cannabis?

Marijuana, in particular the compounds CBD and THCV, may help raise metabolism, as per research by GW Pharmaceuticals. After conducting animal tests, the company concluded that the compounds also have the potential to lower cholesterol and increase fat loss.

The findings support a 2011 study that obesity levels were lower in cannabis users than nonusers. The data used was from two representative U.S. studies of adults aged 18 years or older. Keep in mind though that the research does not establish causality between weed and weight loss; there is a link but more research must be done to determine the contributory nature. Also, only few strains have high levels of THCV, so don’t get your hopes too high about burning fat by smoking pot.

Warnings about Workouts and Weed

While research exists proving that athletic routines can benefit from marijuana, by helping athletes with weight loss, pain, anxiety, inflammation, and more, there are warnings to head. Perhaps the most obvious for a competitor is that the World Anti-Doping Agency has cannabis on its list of prohibited substances. So, you may be subject to disciplinary action in major sports like the NHL, NFL, and the Olympics if you use the smoke, vaporize, or consume weed in another way.

Also, decreasing anxiety levels is not necessarily a good thing in all situations. Being high can also affect your ability to lift heavy objects like weights so you want to have a clear mind when you go to a gym or there can be dangerous effects. Plus, weed use comes with a temporary increase in heartrate, which could result in complications for an athlete who has a heart-related disease.

Weed and Exercise

Weed and Exercise: How are They Connected?

Different Types of Weed & Exercise Effects

Of course, weed comes in many different types and is consumed in different doses; both of these factors affect the results you would see in your workouts. Other factors to consider include gender and method of consumption (edibles versus smoking, for example).

There are Sativa and Indica strains. Overall, Indica buds are more effective at relieving pain and relaxing muscles than Sativas, which tend to be energizing and uplifting in their effects. Sativa strains are also popular for increasing focus, which is important in particular for bodybuilders who want to get the most out of every rep. They can get amazing focus when lifting weights with sativas, which helps to keep you in the zone longer.

For a fitness enthusiast, sore muscles can be aggravating. One way that athletes try to ease the tired muscles is with a nice Indica, which is known for pain relief and its soothing features. Indicas also have a sleepy effect so they can promote rest, which gives your muscles time to repair. Critics of this solution, however, would explain that recovery post-exercise should involve delivery of amino acids and carbohydrates, for protein synthesis and glycogen resynthesis.

A Final Note: Weed and Exercise

Now that you have learned what science says about cannabis and workouts, as well as learning the athletes’ differences in viewpoints, it is necessary to say once again that research is only just beginning on this topic. As more U.S. states legalize the green plant over the next few decades, researchers will have better access to the herb to study its effects on fitness.

Furthermore, results depend on an individual’s physiology and use of marijuana; the usefulness of cannabis may, therefore, be more for one person than another. Science appears to show that the benefits of weed typically come from CBD and THCV, though, and most weed on the market has high TCH levels but is low in CBD. The key is to find the dose that combines small amounts of THC with high levels of CBD to promote feelings of restfulness and achieve a good sleep.

Before making a decision, take the time to decide on your personal fitness goals and have a conversation with your doctor about using cannabis. Always make an informed choice when deciding whether to use weed within your workouts.Tags: .
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Antonio DeRose
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So excited to see the CannaFitness industry emerging! Even more excited to be completing the 420 Games 2017 Tour and more to represent responsible use, and show people like Jeff Sessions, that marijuana doesn’t make you lazy, unsuccessful, or a bad person!

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