By John Salak —
Who doesn’t enjoy getting a buzz from exercise—whether it’s that endorphins rush that kicks in from heavy duty training or simply the feel-good vibe that’s generated when you manage to squeeze in a workout session. Now there is a twist to this equation. Mounting research indicates that getting high, i.e. consuming cannabis before training, can enhance your workout.
The University of Colorado, for example, recently published research in the Frontiers in Public Health journal that claims using marijuana increases motivation to work out and “enhances recovery from exercise.” The study went on to note that cannabis consumers worked 43 minutes longer on aerobic exercises and 30 minutes longer on anaerobic training than non-users.
Users And Athletes Buy In. In fact, over 80 percent of the cannabis users interviewed for the study endorsed using marijuana either an hour before or four hours after their workouts. Admittedly, asking cannabis users about its potential benefits may have skewed the results and delivered something of a self-fulling prophecy. But marijuana users, nonetheless, did average longer workouts than non-users.
Other studies and reports support similar findings, including a recent article on the Ben Greenfield Fitness website that points out an increasing number of athletes are relying on marijuana to help them train for running, swimming, cycling, lifting and fighting in part because of its ability to reduce pain and nausea and improve concentration.
The article, however, was quick to point out that sussing out the exact impact of cannabis consumption on exercise and athletes is not simple. It notes that marijuana intake can also adversely impact reaction time, eye-hand coordination and focus.
The Amount And Strain Matter. The underlying impact likely rests on how much cannabis is consumed and from what strain—as different strains combine varying about of cannabinoids, such at THC. Ultimately, the impact is probably going to be a coin toss. “An endurance athlete may benefit from the pain-numbing effects of marijuana to get through a tough training session, and a UFC fighter who is using THC in moderated doses could actually be able to experience a combination of pain-killing, creativity and focus,” according to Ben Greenfield Fitness. “But including marijuana in high amounts – and especially meeting or exceeding doses of 100 mg THC –…could be a recipe for disaster.”
And remember, despite moves by many states to legalize marijuana, it remains banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, the United State Anti-Doping Agency and the NCAA.