As marijuana in sports becomes less taboo, more athletes will get the chance to enhance their training and performance with this gentle drug. Some already admit to using it anecdotally to improve focus during training and support recovery post-workout. But what about using it during one of the most critical parts of a fitness schedule – weight training?
Short-term cannabis use can help increase appetite and relax the nervous system. For an athlete who is overtrained and undernourished, this is a significant bonus. After winning the 1975 Mr. Olympia title, Arnold Schwarzenegger famously enjoyed a fat joint and some fried chicken. However, the average gym-goer who is using cannabis to recover and stoke an appetite should make sure that the foods they refuse with are high-quality proteins and vegetables. If that’s you, try choosing Whole Foods over 7-11 on the way home from your next strength session to avoid the temptation of processed junk food.
If you are trying to grow muscle mass, don’t rely on marijuana to help you do this. Some athletes anecdotally declare that consuming cannabis before a visit to the gym allows them to focus more on their movement and range of motion but it does not directly contribute to muscles growth.
If you aim to lose fat and build lean muscles, remember that cannabinoids get stored in fat cells, and fat loss during your strength session could mean increased exposure to THC and CBD. Even if you don’t use cannabis right before a strength training session, you may feel the effects of those cannabinoids as they are released back into your blood. Don’t panic; just be aware that this could occur up to about two weeks since you last used cannabis.
Given the lack of clinical research in the area of fitness, exercise, and marijuana, there is no apparent correlation between the act of weight lifting and lean body lifestyle, but using it as a relaxant and sleep aid could have a profound effect on your recovery. When using cannabis before a workout, you may want to try a sativa with uplifting and focus-related impact, like Cinex or Sour Diesel, and start by micro-dosing with a tincture or edible if possible. After the session, a calming indica with CBD, such as Sweet and Sour Widow or Pennywise, will help ease inflammation and muscles soreness.
Alana seeks to see cannabis from the perspective of politicians, advocates, entrepreneurs, and consumers. She got her start with a byline in the arts and culture section and crossed over into cannabis after using it medicinally. Current projects include investigations into cannabis and wellness; entrepreneurs of the Green Rush; cannabis for athletes; and the evolution of cannabis laws and culture in Canada.