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Cannabis Makes Gym Workouts More Fun Says New Fitness Study


smoke weed before a workout

New Study Says Cannabis Makes Workouts More Fun

Forget Performance-Enhancing ‘Drugs’; Just Smoke Pot


Despite the well-known importance of regular exercise, not everyone looks forward to an hour at the gym, running, or any other kind of popular workouts these days.


While there are some people who willingly wake up at the break of dawn to work out, or look forward to pumping weights at the gym after a long day of work, for the rest of us, it’s nothing but a chore. But guess what? Using cannabis right before your workout can change all that. There are seasoned cannabis users who have already integrated pot into their wellness routine that can tell you, anecdotally: weed makes working out so much more fun.


And now, there are studies to prove it.


A recent study from the University of Colorado Boulder is the first to investigate how cannabis sold in legal states can change how people feel about working out. The researchers were particularly interested in common obstacles people cite for not working out, such as lack of motivation and enjoyment, pain, and other factors.


For the study, which was led by professor Angela Bryan, investigators analyzed 42 runners who were already consuming cannabis for their running workouts. They were asked to undergo a baseline session which involved the researchers documenting fitness data from the participants.

After that, the participants were then asked to go to a dispensary and purchase some flowers which were either THC or CBD dominant. Both compounds are well-known among marijuana users, though CBD is more popular for its relaxing properties while THC is famed for its high. The participants were then made to undergo a follow-up consultation which involved running on a treadmill at a moderate pace for half an hour. During this time, they were also asked questions to gauge how motivated they felt at the moment, if they were enjoying It, if the exercise felt difficult, their perception of time, and pain.


“The bottom-line finding is that cannabis before exercise seems to increase positive mood and enjoyment during exercise, whether you use THC or CBD. But THC products specifically may make exercise feel more effortful,” explains Laura Gibson, the study’s first author. Gibson is also a research fellow at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Health and Addiction: Neuroscience, Genes, and Environment (CU Change).


“We have an epidemic of sedentary lifestyle in this country, and we need new tools to try to get people to move their bodies in ways that are enjoyable,” explains Bryan. “If cannabis is one of those tools, we need to explore it, keeping in mind both the harms and benefits,” she added.


The Results


The participants all seemed to share the same sentiment about the experiment, citing more enjoyment and a positive correlation to exercise such as feeling the “runner’s high” when they ran while stoned. According to the researchers, the participants who consumed CBD experienced a more heightened sensation of positive emotions compared to those who consumed CBD. This leads them to suggest that athletes may be able to benefit greatly from consuming CBD especially since it doesn’t come with the intoxication that THC does.


“It is pretty clear from our research that cannabis is not a performance enhancing drug,’ Bryan added.


There have been other similar studies done in the past.


For one, a study in 2019 found that marijuana helps make workouts more enjoyable while reducing pain. The study, which was published in Frontiers in Public Health, was conducted through online surveys taken from around 600 individuals who lived in states where marijuana is legal. Around 80% of respondents admitted to using marijuana before going to the gym. Meanwhile, 67% of them said that they use weed before and after their workout.


The researchers found that the participants who got stoned during their workout were able to do 43 minutes more of physical activity each week, compared to the people who didn’t consume cannabis around the time of their workouts. According to the participants, marijuana helped make the workout more fun while helping boost recovery.


“There is evidence to suggest that certain cannabinoids dampen pain perception, and we also know that the receptors cannabis binds to in the brain are very similar to the receptors that are activated naturally during the runner’s high,” explains Arielle Gillman, the study’s co-author, and a former PhD student in the University of Colorado at Boulder.


Can Marijuana Really Help With Motivation?



Back in the day, weed users were accused of being lazy couch potatoes. However, we can’t deny the data we have these days; pot seems to be a driving force when it comes to motivation in general. Whether it’s to help motivate one to work out or to work harder, there’s just something in cannabis that helps.


Back in 2019, the University of Colorado published the findings of a similar study whose results showed that marijuana use makes workouts more enjoyable and even motivates individuals to work out. According to the researchers, investigating cannabis use and its impact on health including workouts “is becoming increasingly relevant as cannabis legalization continues, a situation that has been associated with increased initiation of use among adults, and increased potency of available products in legalized states.”

The investigators polled 600 cannabis consumers online, to dig deeper into the link between their athletic habits and marijuana consumption. “Results indicated that the majority (81.7%) of participants endorsed using cannabis concurrently with exercise, and those who did tended to be younger and more likely to be male,” they wrote.


“Furthermore, participants reported that cannabis use increased the amount of exercise in which they partook, and that it not only increased their enjoyment of the workout but improved their post-workout recovery,” they wrote.


While there’s more we need to understand when it comes to cannabis use and how it helps motivation, these are certainly fascinating findings that contract the stoner stereotypes perpetuated by the war on drugs. It’s certain that when used right for your specific needs, cannabis can be a safe, and all-natural lifestyle enhancer, and definitely a tool that can help you build healthier habits.





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