Most people don’t associate cannabis and exercise together, thanks in large part to misleading stereotypes of stoner culture. In fact, most stereotypes of cannabis use include unmotivated, lazy people melting into couches trying to satisfy an insatiable case of the munchies.
However, as cannabis culture continues to go mainstream, many of the old stoner stereotypes are being thoroughly dispelled. The legalization of recreational cannabis has allowed some cannabis using fitness enthusiasts to demonstrate that cannabis can be a central part of a healthy, active lifestyle. If you’re interested in learning more about the relationship between marijuana and working out, read on!
Runner’s high is an often discussed topic in the exercise world. Many runners report feelings of euphoria, an ability to focus, increased relaxation, and decreased pain during and after a run—often called runner’s high.
According to research, during a run, the body sometimes releases natural endocannabinoids into the bloodstream. These compounds produce a similar effect to the cannabinoids released during cannabis use. Many athletes that mix cannabis and exercise report the same feelings when exercising in an elevated state. So in a way, running high and runner’s high are somewhat related.
Is mixing cannabis and exercise a good idea? For some people, absolutely. Cannabis use can increase focus, relax nerves, and decrease pain. But that doesn’t mean that cannabis is a performance-enhancing drug. Using cannabis won’t help you increase your gains, but it can be a very effective way to help you connect with your body, focus on your movements, and find deeper meaning in your overall health.
What’s more, the use of CBD dominant strains or CBD oil during recovery can aid the natural healing process of the body, decrease inflammation, and help ease pain. UFC fighter Nate Diaz vaped CBD oil on stage after his bought with Conor McGregor claiming it helped “with the healing process and inflammation.”
High Profile Athletes
In fact, Nate Diaz isn’t the only professional athlete to praise the therapeutic and cerebral effects of cannabis. Like many other professional athletes, he prefers the pain relief properties of cannabis over pharmaceutical drugs –– which can lead to addiction and abuse –– that doctors tend to prescribe.
Cannabis and exercise aren’t just for professional athletes. There are many organized, elevated activities you can participate in. From cannabis centered yoga to the 420 games—there are many ways you can toke up and take part in cannabis-infused exercise.
These community experiences are a great way to dip your toes into the world of elevated exercise. They are often discreet, comfortable, safe places to experiment, experience, and connect with like-minded cannabis enthusiasts.
How to Use Cannabis for Exercise
If the organized event isn’t for you or if there isn’t one in your area, how should you mix marijuana and working out? The first step is finding a strain that’s right for your preferred physical activity.
Are you going to be doing high energy activity, a more mellow, centered exercise, or something in-between? Are you trying to build muscle, build endurance, or shed the pounds from your Indica-influenced late night In-N-Out run?
Choosing the Right Strain
Choosing the right strain is important when mixing cannabis and exercise. You want a strain that compliments the activity you’re doing. You don’t want it to interfere with your abilities to perform. Avoid a mellow or dreamy strain when your goal is to stay sharp and focused. Likewise, you don’t want a high energy strain for a grounded workout.
Start with small doses and ease your way into the experience. Pay attention to THC and CBD levels as this will help you dial in the perfect strain for any activity. Many active cannabis users prefer to vaporize when exercising. It’s not as harsh on your lungs and offers more precise control and more consistent results.
Sativa dominant strains with high THC and low CBD are excellent options for exercise that requires both energy and focus. High energy strains like Green Crack are perfect for cardio intensive exercises like running and spin. They can provide a little extra motivation, keep you uplifted, and help you focus.
Weightlifting and other forms of strength training require focus, patience, and endurance. Sativa dominant strains that feature a more balanced ratio of THC to CBD are ideal for this type of exercise. Strains like AK-47 offer a gentle, hyperfocused energy that doesn’t overstimulate. A higher CBD content can help you focus on form, maintain motivation, and can even help minimize inflammation associated with strength training.
Yoga, by its nature, is an internal, contemplative activity—making it a great candidate for an introductory experience of cannabis and exercise. There are two main types of yoga practice—Vinyasa and Yin. Vinyasa yoga is a more active, energetic practice that requires strength, focus, and endurance. Yin yoga is the more meditative, internal practice that requires focus, patience, and deep breath work.
For vinyasa yoga, a Sativa dominant strain with high THC can help you stay sharp, focused, and confident—even in warrior 1. For yin yoga, an Indica dominant hybrid is your best choice. You don’t want an Indica with too much couch lock, as meditative yoga still requires focus and controlled energy. Choose a strain with high CBD and low THC for best results in yin yoga.
Post Workout Recovery
In order to get the full benefits of exercise, your body needs to recover after any workout—a solid post work out routine typically involves protein infused smoothies, ice packs, stretching, and a high CBD strain.
Many athletes use a CBD oil to aid their body in the post-workout recovery. CBD is known to be an anti-inflammatory agent that helps with pain relief and may aid the body in its natural recovery. Choose a high CBD Indica dominant strain or use a CBD oil to aid your post-workout recovery.
Highly Effective Exercise
Mixing cannabis and exercise can be an effective way to get the most from your workout. Choose a strain that compliments your choice of exercise, start slowly, and have fun. Ask your Budtender about THC and CBD content to find the perfect strain for your next workout and start elevating your exercise.