Understanding the Effects of Cannabis and Exercise


While little scientific research has been done, there are countless personal anecdotes across the Internet explaining the benefits of smoking cannabis before you work out. Since the legalization of cannabis in seven states (and DC), professional athletes, amateurs and exercise junkies alike have taken it upon themselves to test the effects of using cannabis before their workout. The results? Well, they’re pretty positive. That’s why it’s time to debunk the “lazy stoner” stereotype and better understand how cannabis and exercise work together.

As a drug known for alleviating pain, improving mood and decreasing nausea, it seems that marijuana is a useful counterpart to exercise, if used under the right conditions. And according to  many UFC fighters,  NFL players and a myriad of other professional athletes, it’s a drug that helps them before, during and after their daily workouts.

So how can cannabis impact your exercise routine?

Pain and inflammation management

Known for its ability to alleviate pain and inflammation, athletes say that cannabis helps them manage pain during their rigorous fitness routines and after. In fact, the founders of Athletes for Care, a cannabis focused nonprofit started by professional athletes, say cannabis would be the preferred natural alternative to team-prescribe opioid painkillers.

Rethink the “runner’s high”

We’ve all heard of runner’s high, right? You know, that moment during your run when you have powered through the pain and found your happy place? While many studies associate this feeling with the release of endorphins, new studies have found that exercise activates the body’s endocannabinoid system as well. This means, endocannabinoids, which are essentially the body’s internally- produced cannabis, could be the real culprit of your so-called “runner’s high”.

Get zoned in

For many athletes the biggest obstacle is getting over the boredom of the gym. But according the many cannabis users, taking a puff or eating an edible before a workout has helped them stay focused on the connection between the mind and body during exercise. So much so, the first ever Cannabis Gym is said to be open in San Francisco.