Fitness and cannabis are getting married

Very bold title indeed. Let’s talk about cannabis today. Living in Amsterdam, going to buy a gram of weed is like having a morning coffee. Surprisingly, many native Amsterdammers do not smoke and have a negative stigma when it comes to coffeeshops and smoking weed.

However, cannabis is slowly going global, state after state in the US has jumped on legalization. Recreational use is now legal in 11 states and and medical use in 33. Canada had also legalized cannabis as the second country worldwide after Uruguay in October 2018. So what’s next?

Obviously, this is all about tax money. Or is it? What about the actual benefits of the “green gold”? The world of fitness is getting involved in the use of cannabis worldwide. Athletes are benefitting, new businesses are opening, connecting cannabis and fitness. Is this the next ‘big thing’? Let’s dive into it and see!

In 2018, CBD was also taken off the list of banned substances by the World Anti Doping Agency. Recently, U.S.A. Triathlon has become the first national governing body of an american sport to make a sponsorship deal with a CBD production company. If you don’t know, CBD is the non – psychoactive substance found in cannabis.

In fact, there is a new trend called CBD Yoga. The CBD retailer Standard Dose even opened a kind of cannabis wellness center in New York City. You have a whole selection of CBD infused products such as Japanese tea. In New Jersey the trend hits too. Where the Yoga instructors rub CBD infused gel on your shoulders while you are striking your poses. On the way home participants receive a CBD brownie for further relaxation.

It is proven that CBD has powerful anti – inflammatory benefits [1] and it makes sense to incorporate it into yoga as both have similar stress relieving effects on the body.

Cannabis is well known to dampen perception of pain, therefore it makes sense that many people are using cannabis to relax after a heavy workout session where every move stings. What about before exercise?

The high you get from exercise is actually from an endocannabinoid called anandemide. [2] Which means that your body naturally secretes the so called “bliss molecule” which makes you feel good when your exercise. So there we go, we do get high from exercise.

This is where it gets interesting. The cannabis infused workouts are a new trend. Apparently, it makes fitness more enjoyable. [3]

A study from Frontiers in Public Health from April 2019 shows some interesting results. More than 50 % of cannabis users claimed that weed motivated them to exercise. This was data from an online survey with over 600 participants from the US. 80 % of the surveyed even said that they used cannabis before or after hitting the gym, 67 % admitted to consume before and after working out.

Participants who got high prior to exercise recorded 43 minutes more activity per week compared to non – users. Although we personally believe longer does not mean more effective, these results could be due to the slower reaction time might have led to this.

We all know that certain strains of cannabis give you the ‘munchies’. This, in combination with exercise, could help you consume more calories after your workout if your goal is to gain rather than loose weight it could be of help. I am not saying to grab a box of pizza after the gym, choose good food.

Clifford Drusinsky, who has won trophies at nine major triathlons, is following his personal motto: wake up at 3 a.m. to train, get 20 milligrams of THC in an energy bar, 1 hour in the pool, 3 hours on a bike and a 13-mile run. “Marijuana relaxes me and allows me to go into a controlled, meditational place”. I would need to go there too with this routine. But jokes aside. The man is successful. He promotes marijuana induced fitness at F.I.T.S. Conditioning.

Next to being a motivator for workouts, cannabis has also proven to lower your BMI and reduce obesity.[4][5]

Clearly, cannabis has a number of proven and perceived benefits related to exercise and fitness. However, many experts are still unsure if the use of cannabis before exercising is safe. It does decrease your reaction time your pain reception which can also be helpful to avoid injury during a workout.

Cannabis is also known to increase your heart rate by 20 % up to 3 hours after consuming. This is not a positive effect for athletes. It also depends on your personal reaction to cannabis. Some people might be seeing the positives and others only the negatives. Nate Jackson, the former Denver Broncos player, used cannabis during his 6 seasons at the NFL to handle pain. He says “Some people get high and their muscle memory locks in and they feel like they can’t miss, some people get high and fall apart.” [6]

We believe that post workout cannabis use is beneficial for recovery and relaxation. Pre – workout consumption is very debatable, I personally feel slower and unfocused. Let us know your experiences with cannabis and exercise in the comments. I am off for a workout.

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