All Information Displayed In This Post Is For Educational Purposes Only, And Is Not To Be Construed As Medical Advice Or Treatment For Any Specific Person Or Condition. Cannabis Has Not Been Analyzed Or Approved By The FDA. Individual Results May Vary.
Since medical and recreational cannabis reached a state of ubiquity in the last few years, with nearly each state in the union allowing some form of legal cannabis, health nuts and weed connoisseurs alike began integrating the plant into their regimens. Cannabis infused yoga studios, gyms, and other fitness related areas have popped up in droves in legal states along the west coast and midwest, so what’s the big deal about weed for workouts?
First and foremost, cannabis affects everyone differently. Integrating the substance into one’s exercise routine may work for some and not for others. With that said, cannabis can be beneficial both pre and post workout for a variety of reasons, but it depends on the type of cannabis you use. Different strains produce different effects. Continue reading to learn how cannabis acts with your body, what strains provide different benefits, and how they may help you achieve your fitness goals.
Certain cannabis strains interact with your body’s endocannabinoid system in different ways, producing different effects
Without going to deep into canna science, weed works with your body’s endocannabinoid system, or EC, to produce the effects commonly associated with cannabis.
The EC regulates processes that take place in your body, like mood, appetite, pain sensation, memory, among others. The EC has receptors that cannabis chemicals called cannabinoids bind onto. These includes THC and CBD, known to produce effects often associated with cannabis’ high and its pain relieving, anti inflammatory properties respectively. When you inhale cannabis, these chemicals bind to your EC and produce their effects.
But what are these effects, and how can they help improve your workout?
Cannabis Sativa strains provide energy, stimulation, and distract users from workout fatigue, and pain.
If you’re the type of person who has trouble getting your workout started, especially early in the day, a sativa heavy strain may be just the cup of coffee you need to invigorate your workout and get off to a great start. Often colored with vibrant greens and orange hairs, Cannabis sativa dominant strains have large amounts of THC, the chemical associated with cannabis’ high. For many, this euphoric high can help improve endurance during athletic performance or workouts.
In fact, the chemical process behind “the runner’s high” may help explain why THC and sativa dominant strains are so good for stimulating workouts. When you perform a rigorous workout or run, your body produces natural cannabinoids, like anandamide, in large amounts. These interact with your EC to produce the “runner’s high.” The runner’s high, “whether natural or marijuana induced—can minimize distraction and help exercise be not just a means to an end but an enjoyment,” according to Eckerd College Biology professor Gregory Gerdeman.
But what about post workout? Can cannabis help with workout recovery?
Indica dominant strains provide pain relief and sleep aid to help your recovery
While sativa dominant strains appear in bright greens with pungent, citrus odors, indica dominant cannabis strains often appear with darker, brownish and yellow tones. If you just completed a long, strenuous workout and your muscles are sore and in need of rest, an indica may be the right workout weed for you. In direct contrast to sativa’s mind first effects, indica dominant strains provide relief to the body.
Known to have high amounts of myrcene, a hoppy terpene found in cannabis that smells sort of skunky, indica dominant strains, have sleep inducing, pain relieving effects.
Myrcene can be thanked for the moniker “couch lock” effect associated with cannabis. By binding to your EC system, indica strains provide a pain dulling, relaxing, sleep inducing effect perfect for helping you fall asleep after a vigorous workout left you sore. Indica strains are a good go to for pain relief as well as physical rest, which is important for muscle growth. When you wake up the next day, indica cannabis strains will leave you refreshed and ready for your next workout.
But what if you want to take advantage of cannabis’ workout benefits without getting high?
CBD is a non-psychoactive chemical in cannabis that reduces inflammation, stress, and body harmony
Many health and fitness enthusiasts shy away from cannabis as a workout remedy because they wish to avoid the “high” that comes with using weed.
Luckily, CBD, or cannabidiol, provides much of the same benefits without the THC induced high. CBD is the second most abundant chemical in cannabis, and recently CBD has been acknowledged as a legal, non psychoactive dietary supplement in all 50 states. You can find CBD in many topical creams, and it’s useful for reducing inflammation that accompanies workouts. By curbing post workout soreness, CBD can improve flexibility and overall wellbeing for tomorrow.
Cannabis has many uses when it comes to fitness
While cannabis certainly isn’t right for everyone, the efficacy the plant has a workout supplement should not be ignored.
Cannabis can aid in workout endurance, workout recovery, and workout quality. If you are interested in incorporating cannabis into your workout regimen, ask yourself what benefits you wish to seek and search out a strain, like an indica versus a sativa, that can provide those benefits. Want to share your experience working out using cannabis, please feel free to comment below!
About the Author
Chris Matich is a professional writer, journalist, and editor living in Pittsburgh, PA. Chris blogs for Schenley.net. His writing interests include LGBT+ people/issues, sports writing, and blogging. Chris currently writes about web optimization, blogging practices, medical cannabis, and cannabis lifestyle. He writes fiction and creative nonfiction in his spare time. Linkedin, Twitter