With the rise of CBD and THC being used in the health and wellness world, many people are turning to using cannabis for workouts and other purposes.
What sort of effect does weed and working out have and how can it benefit you?
We go over all the benefits and negatives of working out while high, how it can affect your body, and even improve results!
Inside you’ll also find information on the different ways you can use cannabis for working out, the differences of CBD vs THC, and how you can incorporate it into your routine!
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Cannabis for Working Out
To start, there are differences between cannabis products and the type of results you’ll get. Some people opt to use CBD oil directly after training to target soreness in select areas, while others prefer to vaporize both THC and CBD for more immediate relief and effects.
We’ll go over the best ways to use cannabis for workouts and how you can use it to your advantage. To start, we’ll go over some disambiguation.
CBD vs THC for Exercise
You might’ve seen all the hype around CBD for its use in what seems like everything – seizures, Alzheimer’s, anxiety, and more. A lot of the buzz over CBD has been over its lack of psychoactive effects. Unlike THC, CBD provides next to no psychoactive effects, meaning you won’t get high at all. This is really great for those who are a bit shy or want to dip their toes into the water without actually getting baked.
THC, on the other hand, is the psychoactive component of weed. This cannabinoid is responsible for that familiar high that so many enjoy, as well as many medical traits. This can come at a downside as you might not want to get high at all before a workout and instead want to remain clear-headed. There are some benefits to the psychoactive component of THC though, and we’ll get into that later.
However, both CBD and THC carry very similar medical properties in terms of inflammation, anxiety, relaxation, and more. In fact, a phenomena known as the ‘entourage effect’ has shown that they both synergize very well with one another, both boosting their medicinal traits while alleviating some downsides associated with THC. If you like to work out while high, then you might want to consider a strain with a mix of THC and CBD!
How to use cannabis for exercising
There are actually a handful of different methods in terms of consumption. They all differ in their effects, efficacy, and route of administration. They are as follows:
A very common method, CBD oil has spiked in popularity. When you’re using a topical oil type cannabis product, you’d use it in the same way you’d use tiger balm or a different sort of rub – directly on the afflicted areas and right after training. This won’t get you high at all and serves to target any soreness and stiffness right after a workout.
While this is a safe and simple method, CBD oils and lotions are still quite expensive and the effectiveness seems to be on par with other already available remedies. The effects seem to be lesser than the other methods and it takes a while to absorb transdermally (through the skin).
The least advisable but still an effective method, smoking weed before working out is the choice of many, mostly due to the psychological effects it bring. Some people find it gives them more focus and makes them more in tune with their body and mind. Smoking after a workout will also expose you to the beneficial traits of THC and CBD after a workout.
While this offers both the psychological and physical benefits from CBD and THC, it’s not good for the lungs and some may find that the high is distracting them or reducing their performance. If you like the idea of smoking weed before working out, then we’d recommend looking into a dry herb vaporizer to improve this experience.
A not-so-common but arguably the most effective method, vaporizing CBD and THC for working out gives very rapid results without many downsides. It’s much healthier than smoking, gives very quick medical effects, and can be used before, after, or even during a workout. The effects from vaporizing weed before a workout are quite similar but even more favorable than smoking and sets in within 10 minutes.
Vaporizing is not quite so popular as investing in a vaporizer can cost anywhere between $30-$300 or more, depending on the medium you choose to consume (ie; wax or fresh dry herb). In the long run it ends up being quite cheap, but the initial cost and learning curve is enough to scare away most consumers.
Edible cannabis is effective, cheap, and very simple. While it’ll take roughly 30-60 minutes to get the effect, the effects last for a solid 8+ hours, which is great for long-term recovery. Edibles are easy to use and you can get CBD or THC in all forms like a tincture, gummies, lollipops, and anything you can really think of.
However, THC edibles may be far too strong in terms of psychological effects for most, unless it’s a very small dose. Therefore, we recommend for most to go after CBD edibles if they do decide to use edibles. While this is a safe and effective method to dosing CBD, it has a rather slow onset.
Cannabis for Dealing with Inflammation
Believe it or not, recovery is a huge part of getting results from working out. Rather, during the recovery phase is actually when your muscles are being re-built, as the activities you do in fact break down muscle fibers. Having a good recovery routine is instrumental to development of a healthy body.
There are three things to focus on during the recovery phase; nutrition, rest, and inflammation. After your muscle fibres have been broken down, they’ll be all inflamed, leading to that soreness. While inflammation signals blood to flow to that area in order to repair it, this is only shortly after the exercise has been done. Afterwards it just leads to soreness.
You might’ve heard of athletes using an ice bath or doing cryotherapy immediately after training to reduce inflammation, similar results can be achieved by using cannabis for inflammation. Soreness can be reduced, recovery can be improved, and you can be right back into another training session quicker and healthier than before.
“I call it the Goldilocks effect; You need enough inflammation to trigger a physiological response that makes your body fitter and stronger and helps it recover after a workout, but not so much inflammation that it slows the body’s natural repair process.” Says Shawn Talbott, PhD, from the American College of Sports Medicine and author of Natural Solutions for Pain-Free Living
With that being said, inflammation is an important part to building muscle and recovering, and it’s generally a good idea to let the body run its course. While you can use it to reduce inflammation right away, it may be best just to use it if you feel particularly sore! Balance in all things.
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Part of the benefits from using cannabis and working out may be from the apparent vasodilation from cannabis. This expansion of blood vessels allows more blood, oxygen, and nutrients to flow to the muscles and other areas.
More blood flow = better cardiovascular performance and this also goes for recovery. While cannabis can help treat and reduce inflammation, this improved blood circulation also plays a role into recovery and the improved delivery of blood to muscle fibers in need of support can help noticeably.
Of course, there’s the whole mental aspect of exercising too. Some people (myself too) swear by having a little bit of cannabis before going for a run – it may help get your head in the zone and right into the mood for what’s about to come. The same could be said with strength training too, as many people notice that their mind-muscle connection is much stronger and they’re able to get more from their workouts.
Relaxation can also play a factor as cannabinoids are anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) by nature. If you get stressed out or not able to remain calm when going to work out, then you may be able to supplement with cannabis to help you out.
On the other hand, dose is everything and too much will do the complete opposite. You may have a hard time focusing, lose the energy and determination to perform best, and may actually become paranoid or stressed out as a result. Taking the right amount is key, and too much of anything isn’t good.
Notable athletes and figures that use cannabis
World-renowned athletes are following some of these methods, in particular with CBD. For instance, Nate Diaz was seen vaping CBD immediately after his UFC 202 bout against Conor McGregor. Partially due to the neuroprotective properties of CBD, and partially because he really likes it!
In fact, if you engage in high-impact sports and are prone to concussions or other sudden trauma, cannabis can be a huge proponent to keeping your brain healthy!
While the still-prohibited states of THC is enough to shy most athletes from coming out and publicizing their youth, we’d wager a guess and say a huge amount of NBA and NFL athletes smoke up in their spare time. What about WADA though?
While CBD has been removed from the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of prohibited substances, THC still remains on the list, banned for use in competition.
Due to how long it takes THC to metabolize out of the body entirely (around 1 month). As a result, most athletes are afraid of smoking due to legal ramifications. CBD however, is open game for use.
So how exactly do I use cannabis for my workouts?
Depending on the sort of training, biology, and results you’re looking for, this will vary from person to person. For the inexperienced, taking a CBD oil tincture sublingually (under the tongue) before or after a workout may do just the trick. Other people may prefer to vaporize cannabis before or after their training session for performance or recovery benefits.
We say, start small and go up until you achieve your desired results. If you don’t feel the effects the first time, try with a slightly larger dose the next time. Even as little as 0.1 grams vaporized after a workout can be enough to kick the recovery benefits into action. Pairing this with stretching, good rest, and good diet is a recipe for a healthy body.
If you want to delve deep into the world right away, we recommend picking up a high quality herb vaporizer or cannabis oil. Whether you use CBD, THC, or both is all up to you!
Start slow and hopefully you see your results grow.
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