If you don’t smoke weed then this may seem like a strange question, as working out suggests channeling good amounts of effort, energy and adrenalin, while a joint is, stereotypically at least, more about relaxing, chilling out and craving pizza! Still, there are plenty of people who do smoke weed before exercising, and many of them claim it is beneficial; but is this really a good idea?
Professional opinions are divided.
Some experts think that as it’s entirely possible for people to react differently to the same substance, whether that’s coffee, prescribed medicine or weed, it could be that smoking a joint actually does give some people an energy boost while others simply chill out fast. Others point out that someone who is smoking weed to reduce social anxiety, change their mood, or reduce joint pain may not even get to the gym or do any exercise without it. In that kind of case it comes down to a battle between the evidence on the benefits of exercise, and the perceived negatives of using marijuana.
What does weed do to your body?
To look at this in more detail it’s important to get an idea of how weed affects the human body. Basic science tells us that the cannabinoids in weed mesh with the receptors in the brain which control pain, mood, appetite, memory and motivation. This means it can really help people endure boring, long lasting exercise feats like running very long distances, or riding a bike a long way. Smoking weed also triggers a kind of fake endomorphine feeling, which boosts confidence and helps people overcome nerves.
On the downside it can also slow reactions and focus, increase heart rates and lower hand-eye coordination, so smoking weed before certain exercise activities, or with any pre-existing heart condition could be quite dangerous.
Marijuana as an exercise aid
Bearing in mind the various, well publicized negative aspects of smoking weed it seems fair to say certain groups of people may well get more from a workout if they smoke a joint first. It is especially thought to:
- reduce crippling anxiety over a possible poor performance, or a negative body image
- help with weight loss as smoking weed raises your metabolism, while the THC and annabidiol chemicals released are thought to speed up fat loss.
- lower the risk of becoming obese or developing diabetes, thanks to the chemical THC.
- Increase stamina, making workouts more productive.
- Help people manage, reduce or eliminate pain caused by chronic conditions.
It’s impossible to say that working out after smoking weed is something you should do, whatever the positive effects you get from it. However, those who do it advise a pre-exercise smoke should be shorter and use less weed than usual, and to be aware of your natural limits, to avoid pushing yourself too far and causing an injury. For more information on smoking weed after working out, check out How to Stop Smoking Pot by Kevin Bryce.