The Effects of Cannabis on Exercise

A 2019 online poll by Colorado University, Boulder found that 81.7% of adult users (out of 605 polled) in states with full access to legal cannabis endorsed using it with exercise. Read on below to learn more about why.

Recent Studies on Cannabis for Exercise

The aforementioned study from CU Boulder found that most who used cannabis with exercise reported doing so both before and after, while a smaller amount choosing only one or the other. Top reasons participants described using cannabis for exercise was for Motivation (51.8%), Enjoyment (70.7%), and Recovery (77.6%).

Another study out of CU Boulder aims to address these reasons in their lab with the help of 50 adult volunteers. A November 2021 article details the procedure of the SPACE study (Study on Physical Activity and Cannabis Effects). Participants are asked to smoke at home either a strain that is CBD or THC dominant as directed by the study. Then they are picked up and transported to the lab. Once safely strapped on to a treadmill, the volunteers run for 30 minutes, being asked a series of questions every ten minutes to gauge how they are feeling. These sessions under the influence of cannabis are compared to a later session where the runners are sober.

These studies provide valuable insight into how cannabis impacts the body and will hopefully break the stereotype that all cannabis use induces laziness.

Runner’s High

For a long time, runner’s high had been attributed to a release of endorphins in the body in response to certain exercises. The strongest evidence against the endorphin hypothesis is that endorphins aren’t small enough to cross the blood-brain barrier. For decades now, scientists have thought that the endocannabinoid system is a more likely explanation for the effects of a runner’s high.

Endocannabinoids are cannabinoids that are produced by the body, for which there are receptors located all over. There are several functions that cannabinoids can help with including pain and mood regulation. By supplementing cannabinoids from cannabis our bodies may function better. When using cannabis with exercise, those who experience a runner’s high could find that their high may have an enhanced and quicker onset.  

Recommendations

When considering using cannabis with your routine, it is important to consider all the effects it may have on you. A Men’s Journal article titled The Best Ways to Work Weed Into Your Workout discusses the safest ways to use cannabis. Cannabis may affect coordination and reaction time, especially with higher THC varieties. For this reason, it seems that low-risk endurance sports are the best time to use it. On a long run for example, a runner might take an edible to help with pain and keep them focused. THC will change your perception of time, making a long trek less monotonous and keep you motivated. 

Cannabis is additionally helpful for recovery for exercise as both THC and CBD can improve pain and inflammation. As mentioned previously, using cannabis during or after a run may also enhance the effect of the runner’s high.

Products

At Happy Trails, we are honored to carry a variety of hemp-derived cannabinoids. This includes a handful of different THC versions including, Delta 8, Delta 9, Delta 10, HHC and THCO. Each of these has a difference in terms of effect. We recommend you read our post on The Deltas to learn more about each.

In addition to THC we also have a few non-psychoactive cannabinoids for those who may need help with an issue such as inflammation during recovery but don’t want to get high. CBD and CBG make good candidates for this purpose.

Overall, it seems that edibles are a great route for consuming cannabis with exercise. Edibles are convenient to consume and can last a long time in the body. They are a safer way to consume cannabis, as smoking has the potential to cause harm to the lungs.  Here are a few items to consider:

  • Delta 8 THC gummies are a fan favorite amongst our customers and come in different strengths so you can find a dose that suits you best.
  • Delta 9 THC gummies come as a blend with CBD, so you are getting the best of both worlds with the two cannabinoids.
  • CBG gummies are a great option for pain, inflammation and mental clarity. They are non-psychoactive so they can be taken anytime without feeling high.

Conclusion

Cannabis has the potential to make exercise easier for some and current studies are looking to understand exactly how that works. Gone are the days where the only kind of cannabis users are the “couch-potato” type. Many high performing individuals indulge in the consumption of the cannabis plant. Now we understand that cannabis can aid one's motivation and recovery, even kick-starting the runner’s high thanks to our endocannabinoid system. Edibles make a convenient way to add cannabis to your routine, for which there is a large selection to choose from. If you’d like to try using cannabis with your workout, stop in the store or contact us here with any questions. We are always happy to answer any questions you may have.

 
Amber
 
My name is Amber. I am a cannabinoid consultant and columnist for Happy Trails. I have a Bachelor of Science in Biology. I enjoy learning about things I have passion for, and my family lovingly calls me a “human encyclopedia”.  Read more about Amber here.  

  

References

Bergland, C. (2021, February 26). “Runner's High” Depends on Endocannabinoids (Not Endorphins). Psychology Today. Retrieved July 21, 2022, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-athletes-way/202102/runner-s-high-depends-endocannabinoids-not-endorphins

Dietrich, A., & McDaniel, W. F. (n.d.). Endocannabinoids and exercise. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 38(5).

Holland, K. (2020, July 20). CBD vs. THC: Properties, Benefits, and Side Effects. Healthline. Retrieved July 21, 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/health/cbd-vs-thc#at-a-glance

Linden, D. J. (n.d.). The Truth Behind 'Runner's High' and Other Mental Benefits of Running. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Retrieved July 21, 2022, from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/the-truth-behind-runners-high-and-other-mental-benefits-of-running

Marshall, L. (2021, November 29). New take on runner's high: Study explores how marijuana affects workouts. University of Colorado Boulder. Retrieved July 21, 2022, from https://www.colorado.edu/today/2021/11/29/new-take-runners-high-study-explores-how-marijuana-affects-workouts

Schultz, R. (n.d.). How to Work Weed Into Your Workout: THC & CBD for Recovery. Men's Journal. Retrieved July 21, 2022, from https://www.mensjournal.com/health-fitness/how-to-work-weed-into-your-workout-thc-cbd-for-recovery/

YorkWilliams, S. L., Gust, C. J., Mueller, R., Bidwell, C., Hutchinson, K. E., Gillman, A. S., & Bryan, A. D. (2019, April 30). The New Runner's High? Examining Relationships Between Cannabis Use and Exercise Behavior in States With Legalized Cannabis. Frontiers in Public Health. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpubh.2019.00099/full

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