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According to new research from the University of Colorado Boulder, over 82% of individuals who use cannabis ingest it before or after exercise, saying it makes their fitness hours more pleasurable and helps them recover faster.
In the Colorado Boulder study, 67.2% of individuals supported cannabis use both before and after exercise. However, 14.5% supported just using it after exercise and only 1.5% endorsed it before exercise. Overall, the majority of cannabis users who consume while exercising report doing so both before and after they exercise.
According to separate research in the American Journal of Addictions, cannabis is the second most often used substance among athletes after alcohol.
For example, as of 2012, additional research shows that 23% of college athletes used cannabis. This was nearly a decade ago, before many states legalized adult-use cannabis.
In a study published in Frontiers in Public Health, a survey of 600 cannabis users was conducted in states where cannabis is legal, such as Colorado, California, Oregon, Nevada, and Washington. The researchers asked participants about their usage, including when they used cannabis, how it affected their workouts, and how they think it affects motivation.
More than 80% indicated they used cannabis within an hour of beginning to exercise. According to the poll, smoking cannabis after exercise was significantly more prevalent than taking it before a workout. Additionally, many participants said that cannabis inspired them to exercise and made them appreciate it more. People who indicated they used cannabis soon before or after exercising obtained greater physical activity than those who said they didn’t mix cannabis and fitness. For example, those who used cannabis to exercise worked out for more than two and a half hours per week vs less than two hours per week for those who didn’t.
Research seemingly backs up cannabis’ beneficial effect on motivation. In fact, another study published in 2015 by Bryan’s Lab shows that cannabis increases motivation and satisfaction during exercise. It accomplishes that by possibly activating brain circuits involved in reward and pain response.
Cannabis Before Workouts
The most important thing before the workout is stretching. That is where cannabis might come for assistance in the first place. The correct quantity of cannabis can help one’s body and muscles relax, allowing one to stretch properly before starting the physical activities, according to Merry Jane, a cannabis-focused digital media platform.
Stretching on its own will help to relax the psoas muscles, which constrict after sitting for lengthy periods of time. Also, cannabis, when used in moderation, causes dopamine release and inhibits pain receptors, which improves stretching, says Merry Jane.
Cannabis may also come in handy for bronchial relaxation. Cannabis causes vasodilation, or the dilation of blood vessels, which causes a slight rise in heart rate, according to the Journal of Thoracic Disease. Vasodilation improves one’s oxygen intake, allowing individuals to push further throughout their workout. Furthermore, vasodilation improves blood flow to the heart. Consequently, cannabis may make it simpler to breathe throughout an exercise, and in turn, improve performance.
Cannabis also increases appetite. It’s happening by THC preventing the production of leptin — a hormone that suppresses the appetite, says a study published in the Brain Research Journal. A good ratio will help in muscle building and increase blood flow.
Cannabis After Workouts
Cannabis helps soothe post-workout aches and pains, according to Calyx Wellness, Canada’s first CBD boutique. CBD, as an anti-inflammatory, helps alleviate the soreness and muscle pain brought on by fitness. Cannabis helps the body to recover from strenuous activities more quickly and with less discomfort throughout the body.
Also, cannabinoids, active compounds in cannabis, inhibit the release of neurotransmitters and neuropeptides from presynaptic nerve endings. They descend inhibitory pain pathways and reduce neuroinflammation, according to a study published in Frontiers of Pharmacology.
Besides that, cannabis also kicks up recovery by helping to relax and give the body rest, according to Herb. As well as pre-exercise appetite, cannabis helps to increase post-exercise appetite. A good meal after a workout can adopt lots of gains one made in the gym. It also will refuel the body faster.
Herb also myth-busts a common misconception that cannabis lowers testosterone levels, which is harmful to muscular building. Cannabis actually increases levels of the growth hormone somatotropin and the stress hormone cortisol. These hormones are fully initiated in the muscle growth and recovery processes. And not to worry, cannabis’ influence on these hormones doesn’t make them rise over the normal range.
Be Careful With High THC Levels
As the studies show, cannabis is more popular after workouts than before. One of the reasons for this is that cannabis with a high THC level can drastically elevate the heart rate and disrupt motor function and balance, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
The dangers are likely reduced for those who use cannabis after working out, especially because both THC and CBD, two chemicals found in cannabis, have been demonstrated to reduce inflammation and aid with pain management.
But there is still a lot that we don’t know about cannabis’ health consequences. While some studies have found it to have health advantages such as improved mental health and pain relief, others have found it to have negative effects such as cognitive and cardiovascular strain.
Overall, studies clearly show us that cannabis plays a huge role in fitness. Workout sessions could be better with it whether one ingests it before or after. Controlling the dosage is also still vital, be careful especially with high levels of THC before an intense session.
The market is full of different ways for individuals to work cannabis into their workouts. For instance, there are topical creams for applying directly to aching joints or sore muscles and infused bath bombs for complete relaxation and recovery. Also, Herb recommends the strain Harlequin, which has high levels of CBD, making it safe and efficient to implement into fitness activities. It has great anti-inflammatory and pain-killing effects. Give all this a try and see how combining cannabis and exercise could bring lots of benefits.