Once thought of as a ‘lazy drug’, cannabis has had a bad rap for turning its users into giggling, munchie eating, couch potatoes. But 2020 is just another year of breaking down weed stereotypes and stigmas. With growing legalization and acceptance, the power of cannabis is infiltrating industries like health, food, tourism and even fitness. That’s right, pot has come full circle from infamous PSA’s about the ‘melting’ effects it can have, to actually fueling those who work out before, during and after their regimens. Which means it’s time again to brush up on yet another emerging wellness trend – weed & workouts. Here we’ve compiled everything you need to know about cannabis and fitness, with extra insight from real NUG users who thrive on gym ganja too.
The hardest part about working out for most is finding the motivation to actually work out. While cannabis is beneficial for relaxing qualities like melting into your couch, many strains are found to be highly motivational too. When researchers began to look at ties between fitness and cannabis, one thing they found was many use it to get up and go.
So what types of cannabis are gym-goers using to get pumped up? Usually sativa or hybrid strains with high levels of CBD let users harness cannabis workout powers to the max. These types of strains are well-known for delivering euphoric and energetic effects. While CBD is a non psychoactive, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant that help relieve pain and anxiety.
In one recent study, 8 out of 10 cannabis users reported medicating prior to exercising. The study showed it helps, 52% of the participants reported cannabis motivated them to work out and 70% said it actually made them enjoy the workout more. Scientifically, researchers are linking the fact that marijuana can activate brain pathways that are associated with feelings of reward.
Not only can weed get you up, going and enjoying, but a joint can help relax your joints too. Lisa Cooke, a ‘big NUG fan’ and avid exerciser said this on consuming prior to hitting the gym – “Cannabis relieves joint pain and it lowers anxiety, allowing me to focus. It opens blood vessels and allows better circulation. I have found I have better scores when I use cannabis then when I don’t. My scores are 30% higher when I have a few vape hits on my walk to the gym.”
But don’t just take it from us – Tyson Griffin, a Holistic Lifestyle and Nutritional Coach noted Sativa Hybrid concentrates is his go-to when he consumes prior to activity, “Recently I have been using Limoncello and Ancient Lime like NUG’s Live Resin collaborations with Eel River. It has a small % of CBD which gives me a full spectrum effect.”
Danielle Richard a massage therapist, yoga instructor, and a busy mom adds, “I tend to choose a sativa like Mimosa from NUG for pre workout as it keeps my energy lifted.”
Regardless of how you get lifted, it seems to be working out for cannabis users worldwide. Recently, the International Journal of Epidemiology published statistics showing that cannabis users are less likely to be obese, than those who don’t use. A study in 2019 with 33,000 participants they found out that cannabis users gained the least amount of weight over a 3-year span. And, overall – those users also had a lower BMI.
You’ve heard of a runner’s high, and you know THC gives you a high. So are they actually similar? The more researchers look into legal ‘highs’ they’re finding out they may be.
Beyond internally boosting your motivation, weed can boost the good feels you feel while working out too. Not so recently, a 2003 study showed that exercise activates the endocannabinoid system – just like cannabis. And as a reminder, the endocannabinoid system is responsible for pain relief, appetite control, and influences mood. Even more, while exercising the body produces cannabinoids naturally, which is the source of that ‘runners high’ many often feel.
Adding THC, CBD, or extra cannabinoids to your pre-workout regimen stimulates these natural endorphins. Further proving cannabis effects of focus, flexibility and simply ‘feeling good’ are lending themselves to exercise more and more. As Richard says,“ it keeps my state of mind calm.” Not just another high, Cannabis’ relaxing qualities can also help ease any anxiety associated with gym judgements, or difficulty to remain at peace or on pace.
“My favorite strains and NUG products for after a workout are Forbidden Fruit and the organic Dark Chocolate bar,” Griffin shared. “Overall cannabis stimulates my fitness regimen by providing me healing as a neurogenesis, anti-inflammatory and pain relief supplement when I need to recover from injury, surgery or over training.”
Prior to a work-out some might show restrain with their use to avoid getting just too high… but after? Might call for an increase in potency. Edibles and concentrates are often ideal for delivering higher doses for ultimate relief.“When I am super sore, it is dab time! I have really been enjoying the Limoncello lately,” Cooke shares.
If you’ve made a resolution to work-out more, don’t let your weed routine stand in the way. Instead, cannabis can help that ‘let’s get physical’ motto. When choosing the right strains before, during, or after your workout – you have the potential to perform better, and feel better too. Browse NUG’s comprehensive collection of indica, sativas, edibles, vape carts or concentrates to begin fueling your pre or post exercise routines.