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How Does Cannabis Help With Your Fitness Journey: Maximizing Your Workouts with Cannabis

Added 13 July 2023

Over the last few years, the connection between cannabis and physical fitness has gathered substantial popularity. With so many health scares around, who doesn’t want to get fit? Marijuana has been a topic of discussion for many health-related concerns, but some findings recently have stimulated interest among fitness “freaks”. 

The concept of including cannabis in your workouts is a breath of fresh air, far from the days of being viewed as a stoner. Users swear by cannabis, claiming that it works wonders by improving their routine and also helps with post-recovery. What else can you ask for?

But, rather than jumping to conclusions, it’s best to find out if cannabis really works to help you become fitter. We already know that it improves mindfulness, so can it help during a workout? Most importantly, will it work for you since everybody is different?

This article explores how fitness and cannabis can come together in the same sentence. We will look at studies and any contradictions that don’t support this theory. So, whether you are passionate about optimizing your performance or just looking to infuse mindfulness into your exercise routine, let’s hope you find something worth your while. 

Read on to know more. 

How Does Cannabis Work with Respect to Fitness?


How Does Cannabis Work with Respect to Fitness?

When you think of cannabis and physical fitness and how it can impact your workout, you must first understand how cannabis works on your body. Sure, cannabis makes you high and you have a good time, but have you wondered what really happens inside the machine that is your body? 

Cannabis contains a large number of chemical compounds known as cannabinoids. It is due to these cannabinoids that you see an effect when you consume cannabis. There are many cannabinoids, out of which CBD and THC are super popular. 

While THC is kinda notorious for its psychoactive effects, CBD is famous for its impact with the potential to treat various health issues. But, first, you must understand a bit about the endocannabinoid system to see how all this fits. 

Endocannabinoid System (ECS):

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complicated network of receptors, endocannabinoids, and enzymes located throughout the body. It plays a vital function to maintain homeostasis, which is nothing but balance or equilibrium of your body. Two receptors that play an important role in the ECS are called CB1 and CB2 receptors. 

CB1 receptors are mostly located in the nervous system and the brain while CB2 receptors are found in the immune system. Cannabinoids produced by the human body naturally, also called endocannabinoids, bind to these receptors and manage a variety of bodily functions including pain perception, appetite, mood, immune response, and inflammation.

When you consume marijuana, the plant’s cannabinoids such as CBD and THC interact with the ECS’s CB1 and CB2 receptors. While THC binds with the CB1 receptors and produces the psychotropic effects it is so famous for, CBD doesn’t engage with the receptors in the same manner. Therefore, it doesn’t produce such narcotic effects. 

The way cannabinoids engage with the receptors affects numerous physiological processes, including the immune response, reaction to pain, inflammation, and mood. By this, we can get an inkling of understanding how cannabis has the potential to affect various aspects related to fitness including performance and recovery. 

THC and Exercise Performance

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis. Now, you already know that it binds to CB1 receptors in the brain and central nervous system, leading to various psychological and physiological effects. In terms of exercise performance, the effects of THC can be complex and vary depending on multiple factors, including dosage, strain, individual sensitivity, and type of physical activity.

Anecdotal reports suggest that THC has some advantages if you use it before you work out. A survey was conducted to find out just how effective cannabis is for fitness enthusiasts. While some users claimed that it enhanced their focus and motivation to work out harder, some also stated that cannabis relieved anxiety.

If you’re a recreational user, you already know that THC can reduce stress, which is why many users reach out for their joints after a hard day at work. Also, marijuana may have vasodilatory effects, which could potentially increase blood flow and oxygen delivery to muscles during exercise.

That said, the survey just tells you what people think. While that’s great, you should also remember that THC can affect your sense of coordination and the time you take to react. Thus, it may not be a good idea to consume excessive THC or strains containing high THC especially if you’re going to be doing some heavy lifting in the gym. Start with low doses and see how it affects you, and you can increase gradually if your body reacts positively. In addition, you can choose high-CBD strains or THC strains with a hefty dose of terpenes like pinene and limonene that improve focus and uplift your mood without making you drowsy. 

CBD and Exercise Recovery

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in marijuana. Unlike THC, CBD does not make you high. But, it does interact with the ECS in various ways. CBD has gained popularity primarily because of its possible anti-inflammatory properties and its impact on pain perception and recovery processes. 

After an intense workout session, your body can be sore. There could also be some oxidative stress and inflammation. It’s believed that CBD can reduce inflammation by interacting with the CB2 receptors present in the immune system. A reduction in inflammation can help you, especially after a workout when your muscles are sore and speed up the process of healing. 

Studies suggest that CBD has the ability to interact with adenosine and vanilloid receptors that modulate pain, meaning that it has the potential to provide relief from pain caused by exercising too much. 

Moreover, CBD's potential to promote relaxation and improve sleep quality can contribute to exercise recovery. Good sleep helps your body to repair sore muscles and also restore energy. By reducing anxiety and promoting a sense of calm, CBD may help you sleep better and support recovery after physical exertion.

The only issue is that although CBD holds a lot of promise, we still need more research that gives us concrete evidence. You could speak to your physician to check if you can incorporate CBD into your routine for the best results. 

Runner's High and Cannabis

Runner's High and Cannabis

Runner's high is a phenomenon you experience if you work out for prolonged periods. Most endurance athletes experience it often with euphoric feelings. Runner’s high may also reduce your perception of pain and promote your overall health. Although the exact mechanisms that trigger this phenomenon aren’t yet clear, it’s suggested that it’s due to the body releasing endocannabinoids and endorphins to make you feel good. 

Endorphins are chemicals your body produces. They perform as neurotransmitters to relieve stress and pain and also function as mood boosters. The human body releases endorphins when you’re in pain or stressed or exercise for long periods. Endocannabinoids like anandamide, on the other hand, are also neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors in the mind and body. They are associated with controlling mood, pain perception, and other processes. 

THC shares a lot of similarities to the endocannabinoids the human body produces. As you already know, it locks on to the CB1 receptors, produces euphoric feelings, and also alters your perception of pain. 

The link between marijuana and runner’s high may be due to a possible overlap of the endocannabinoid system. Some people that consume cannabis before working out report that they feel an enhanced runner’s high. This is possible because consuming weed can increase the levels of endocannabinoids in the body when you exercise. 

Moreover, marijuana can relieve pain, make you relaxed and also enhance your mood, which you probably experience when you smoke a joint. These are the same effects you’d feel when you experience the runner’s high. Thus, the reason why there’s an enhancement in runner’s high is that cannabis enhances euphoria, reduces pain, and makes you feel good overall. 

However, note that everybody is different and you may not experience the same effects or runner’s high even if you consume cannabis before working out. This is because the effects vary depending on your weight and several other factors including your sensitivity to cannabis. 

If you want to check how cannabis can help before you go for a long run, start with small doses of CBD or even THC. If you’re smoking up, start with the lowest possible dosage if you don’t have experience appearing in public places after consuming cannabis. 

Can You Use Cannabis Before Workouts

Reasons to Use Cannabis Before Workouts

Consuming cannabis before workouts is purely an individual choice. Some people may not be comfortable using cannabis early in the day. Or, you may have to head to work, and using weed could be a big no-no. Whatever your reasons, if you can use cannabis before working out, here are a few benefits you’ll likely experience:

1. Enhanced focus and motivation

Cannabis strains, specifically the ones high in THC, have the ability to stimulate your nervous system and brain. This is possibly why some people discover that consuming marijuana prior to exercise boosts their mood and motivates them. As you already know, THC interacts with the CB1 receptors, possibly increasing the levels of dopamine that are associated with reward and motivation. This interaction could be why some users feel more engaged and find it easier to focus and finish their tasks. 

2. Anxiety and stress reduction

You may not work out properly if you experience pre-workout stress. Cannabis strains that are high in CBD or even strains that have a good balance of CBD and THC can help alleviate anxiety and stress, thanks to their anxiolytic characteristics. CBD is known to interact with the brain’s serotonin receptors that regulate mood and promote relaxation and calmness. 

Also, note that strains with balanced CBD and THC ratios tend to work better since you’ll experience the entourage effects of cannabis. The entourage effect is a phenomenon where cannabinoids work together in synergy to produce better results. Thus, try and consume strains that are balanced rather than going for THC or CBD alone. 

3. Enhanced enjoyment and flow state

Have you ever felt like you’re in the zone? Also known as the flow state, it’s a state where you’re completely focused and absorbed in an activity. Cannabis has the potential to enhance the enjoyment of physical activities, helping you enter a flow state more easily. This is because THC's effects on the brain's reward system can contribute to an elevated mood and a sense of enjoyment during exercise. You could also feel more motivated and feel a deeper connection between your mind and body.

4. Increased sensory perception

Cannabis can heighten your sensory perception, thereby making your workouts more engaging. THC coupled with other cannabinoids and terpenes has the potential to amplify several sensory experiences such as music, visuals, and physical sensations. This heightened sensory perception can create a more stimulating and enjoyable workout environment, and make your sessions more rewarding and pleasurable.

5. Discomfort management

Chronic discomfort or pain can be an obstacle when you want to work out. Cannabis strains high in CBD or an equal balance of CBD and THC as mentioned earlier can offer some relief. Additionally, cannabis has the potential to reduce inflammation which often contributes to pain. Most importantly, since the cannabinoids interact with the receptors of the ECS that modulate pain, you may find it easier to work out and become slightly more tolerant to it. 

6. Reduces oxidative stress

One more possible advantage of using cannabis before you work out is that it reduces oxidative stress. Typically, oxidative stress happens when there is an imbalance between the production of free radicals (reactive oxygen species) and your body's ability to neutralize them with antioxidants. Intense exercise can create oxidative stress in the body, further leading to inflammation and tissue damage.

In this regard, cannabis can help as CBD is known to possess antioxidant properties. Due to its potent antioxidative effects, it helps to mitigate oxidative stress and decrease inflammation. Also, since it helps to achieve a balanced oxidative state and neutralizes free radicals, using marijuana before a workout may not be such a bad idea. 

What’s more, even THC has demonstrated antioxidant properties. Although THC gets a bad rep due to its narcotic effects, it does possess antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties that may help counteract the oxidative stress induced by intense physical activity.

By reducing oxidative stress, cannabis consumption before workouts may potentially support faster recovery, decrease muscle soreness, and promote overall well-being. However, unfortunately, more research is needed to fully understand the extent of cannabis's antioxidant effects and how they specifically relate to exercise-induced oxidative stress.

Can You Use Cannabis After Workouts

Reasons to Use Cannabis After Workouts

Using marijuana after a good workout can offer numerous advantages. If you’ve been usign cannabis for a while, you already know about its advantages and disadvantages, but here are some benefits that you might like when you use it after an intensive workout. 

1. Relaxation and recovery

Your body needs some time to rest and recover after a heavy-duty workout. Cannabis can aid in this process by making you relax. For best results, you can either go for CBD or use strains that have high levels of terpenes, CBD, and THC in a balanced ratio. 

While CBD can potentially decrease muscle tension and promote a sense of tranquility, THC, in moderate doses, can induce relaxation and provide a soothing effect, helping the body recover from the physical stress of exercise. THC, with its analgesic effects, may also contribute to pain relief and muscle recovery. By reducing your pain and discomfort, cannabis can help you recover faster and be better prepared for your next workout.

2. Sleep enhancement

Quality sleep is a must if you want optimal recovery and performance. CBD-rich strains can help improve your sleep as CBD is known to have calming effects. It can also help regulate sleep patterns and make you feel rejuvenated after a workout. Additionally, THC may have sedative properties; however, higher doses could disrupt sleep patterns. Strains with a balanced THC: CBD ratio and careful dosage can help support quality sleep post-workout, allowing the body to repair and recharge.

3. Stress reduction and mental well-being

Exercise can be physically demanding and may also induce mental stress. Cannabis consumption after workouts can help you reduce your stress levels and promote a sense of relaxation and well-being. This is because CBD has anxiolytic properties that can help you unwind and relieve any post-workout tension or anxiety. The soothing properties of THC, when consumed in moderate amounts, can also help you relax and feel good after intense physical activity. 

4. Appetite stimulation 

You must replenish your body with nutrients and refuel energy stores after an intensive workout. Cannabis, as we all know, gives you munchies, meaning it stimulates your appetite. This can be especially beneficial for those with reduced appetites even after a good workout. By increasing your appetite, cannabis can help you eat well and support muscle repair and growth.

If you're primarily looking for post-workout recovery benefits, you can incorporate CBD into your routine. CBD has many benefits apart from relieving pain and its anti-inflammatory properties. It can be a great option to manage post-workout pain, inflammation, soreness, and muscle cramping. You could also use topicals or tinctures specifically formulated for sore muscles and pain relief.

Finally, remember to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout. Since cannabis can work like a diuretic, you could get dehydrated easily. Moreover, drinking water is imperative for maintaining optimal performance during exercise. Ensure you have a water bottle on hand and make hydration a priority throughout your workout session.

Tips for Incorporating Cannabis into Your Workout Routine

Tips for Incorporating Cannabis into Your Workout Routine

If you're thinking about including cannabis in your fitness routine, you must take the right approach. Keep these factors in mind:

1. Begin with low THC doses: Avoid taking high dosages of THC prior to exercising or while working out as it might make you jittery rather than feeling relaxed. This is true especially if you're new to cannabis. But, then again, even if you’ve been using cannabis recreationally, start with small doses when you’re about to work out. Given that everybody responds in different ways to marijuana, you must understand how your body reacts to it before making it a part of your routine. 

2. Relax and take it easy: Firstly, relax and try not to push yourself too hard when you’re just starting out with cannabis before workouts. Just like you should start with small doses, begin with low-intensity exercises and listen to your body before going for high-intensity exercises. Pay close attention to your breathing, energy levels, and coordination before taking it further. 

3. Avoid additional substances: Many people love having coffee before they go for a run or head to the gym. While caffeine is a great mood booster and also apparently improves performance, you can’t be sure about how cannabis fits in the entire equation. We have posted an article on mixing caffeine and cannabis, just in case you’re interested, so have a look if you cannot survive without coffee! 

So, coming back to using additional substances, ensure you steer clear from alcohol too. This is to be certain that you’re mentally prepared to work out and also allow your body to recover easily post-workout. In addition, avoiding other substances will help you gauge exactly how cannabis helps you with respect to fitness and reduce confusion. 

4. Choose a safe environment: If you have no experience using cannabis before, start with a quick workout at home. Or, go for a short run around your neighborhood. Avoid running in unfamiliar areas where it’s tough to get help in case of any unexpected situations. You never know! Being in a familiar and accessible location will let you work out with peace of mind rather than panicking about everything. 

Summary: How Does Cannabis Help With Your Fitness Journey: Maximizing Your Workouts with Cannabis

Consuming cannabis pre and post-workout is your personal choice, but it does have many advantages. Cannabis has the ability to engage with your body’s endocannabinoid system, affecting different physiological processes, including your mood, perception of pain, and inflammation. If you use it responsibly, the herb indeed has a lot to offer and also enhances various aspects of your fitness journey. 

Cannabis can help you before your workout to increase your motivation and focus. To get the best results, ensure you choose strains that have a balanced ratio of both THC and CBD to experience the entourage effect. In short, you will get the benefits of the whole plant rather than a single cannabinoid. 

If you want to incorporate cannabis into your fitness routine, start with small doses and work your way up. You can also experiment with topicals to get more benefits. 

Cannabis can also help you recover faster after intensive workouts. CBD, in particular, known for its anti-inflammatory properties, can help you relax and gain relief from stress and pain. It may also work to reduce muscle soreness. If you use THC in moderate doses, you will enjoy its calming and soothing effect. 

Note that cannabis affects everyone differently, so you can speak to your physician to incorporate it into your fitness journey. Overall, consuming cannabis before and after workouts can offer a lot of advantages. 



Imagine how sh!t my rep-counting would be. Though i can see it really working for Yoga.


@CannaScience, I find Yoga give me a subtle buzz afterwards anyway, which is quite like a subtle weed buzz.


@eurorack, I smoke a teeny bit and really enjoy my workouts. Yoga too. Really relaxes and brings anxiety down.


No although it does help with sleep :blush: