Cannabis and Exercise: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Cannabis and Exercise: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

On October 17th of this year, cannabis was officially legalized in Canada. This was a pivotal moment in Canadian history and drew a plethora of opinions and stances on the matter at hand. There are those who are elated with the legalization of cannabis and those who are concerned about how it will impact factors such as public places. One thing is for sure, there will always be a divided stance on cannabis, it’s usage (recreational and medical), and the benefits/ramifications it may pose.


Many people utilize marijuana for medical purposes because it’s said to alleviate several generalized symptoms, including nausea and pain associated with illness/injury. Typically, medical and recreational use is what people immediately associate cannabis with. Seldom do people draw a correlation between cannabis and exercise. There is no argument, marijuana does have an impact on how a person feels, reacts, and performs, however, how exactly does it translate into exercise?


Cannabis’s Impact on the Body

Like any other substance, cannabis affects every individual differently. For example, someone smoking/consuming marijuana for the first time may experience symptoms of anxiety while someone who has been smoking/consuming marijuana for a prolonged period of time may experience the opposite effect – complete relaxation. Other symptoms prevalent with cannabis use include slower reaction time, fatigue, dry mouth, and loss of coordination, to name a few. Because of the varying degree of symptoms associated with cannabis use, it’s correlation to fitness and exercise can get a bit hazy.


Cannabis and Exercise: The Good

Cannabis has no direct link to heightened performance in the gym and because of that, many tend to think nothing of it. In fact, the symptoms associated with cannabis use lead people to believe the opposite – it hinders performance in the gym. While information surrounding cannabis and health is a little foggy, there are those who have experienced the euphoria of using cannabis prior to/throughout their workout with great benefits.


An article by Bethany Rae for Flower and Freedom explains how cannabis use in relation to exercise has been highly beneficial for her for many reasons. Two key points she makes involve how one perceived exercise and the results that ensue. With micro-dosing (taking the minimal amount of that product to receive a small effect of the “high”), workouts can become more enjoyable. The effect of the cannabis can provide a sense of creativity and elation, according to Bethany, making the process of working out seem less tedious. This will improve overall drive and motivation; the more content and upbeat you are throughout your workout, the more inclined you are to continue long-term.


Bethany also states that cannabis can help repair muscles faster. Cannabinoid (CBD) is a compound found in cannabis strains that acts as an anti-inflammatory and a pain reliever. Similar to ibuprofen or other over the counter medications, CBD can provide temporary relief from pain and can reduce inflammation of the muscles and joints. This is especially good for those who are looking for a more natural approach to muscle pain relief. The faster the muscles recuperate, the faster you can get back to your workout regime and crush it!


Cannabis and Exercise: The Bad and The Ugly

There are always two sides to a story and that holds true when it comes to cannabis and exercise. While some have found that it aids with performance, others have found that it does just the opposite. Healthline outlines some potentially dangerous ramifications associated with cannabis and exercise. Common symptoms of cannabis use include a slower reaction time and lack of coordination; a disaster waiting to happen when combined with machinery and heavy weights.


These symptoms typically occur in new users or over-consumption of cannabis. The most worrisome part of these associative symptoms is the fact that the recipient may not be fully aware of their lack of coordination or reaction. How can these symptoms pose danger? Imagine you are bench pressing and your coordination is off, causing the bar to jerk around throughout your movement. This may cause you to lose grip or be unable to get back in the proper form, causing the bar to fall. A slower reaction time could mean that your awareness of the situation at hand may not kick in until it is too late.


The legalization of marijuana has made it more convenient for Canadians to consume and because of this, it is imperative that those who utilize it and exercise to understand the potential benefits and ramifications it poses. Like anything, moderation is essential for getting the most out of a beneficial high without dealing with the pesky symptoms that come with over consumption.

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