Cannabis in Fitness: Boosting Enjoyment, Not Necessarily Performance

January 10, 2024

Recent research has shifted the narrative on cannabis use in relation to exercise, challenging the long-standing stereotype of cannabis users leading a sedentary lifestyle. A groundbreaking study conducted by the University of Colorado Boulder, involving 42 regular cannabis users, delved into this topic. This study, titled “Acute Effects of Ad Libitum Use of Commercially Available Cannabis Products on the Subjective Experience of Aerobic Exercise,” aimed to understand how different cannabis products, specifically THC-dominant and CBD-dominant strains, impact the experience of exercise.

Cannabis Use Enhances Enjoyment But Not Performance

The study revealed a significant increase in positive mood and enjoyment during exercise sessions following cannabis use. This finding contradicts the common belief that cannabis promotes inactivity. However, an essential aspect of this study was its distinction between the effects of THC and CBD. Participants using CBD reported greater enjoyment and less exertion compared to those using THC. This differential effect is crucial in understanding the unique influences of different cannabis constituents on exercise.

On the other hand, the study also highlighted that THC might make the physical effort feel more challenging, indicating that while cannabis can enhance mood, it may not be conducive for performance-oriented workouts. This complexity underscores the nuanced relationship between cannabis and exercise.

The Complex Relationship Between THC, CBD, and Exercise

The study sheds light on the contrasting impacts of THC and CBD on exercise. THC, known for its psychoactive effects, was found to increase heart rate and make exercise feel more strenuous. In contrast, CBD led to a more enhanced mood without significant changes in perceived exertion or performance. This distinction is vital for athletes and recreational users alike, as it suggests that CBD might be preferable for those seeking to enjoy their workouts more without impacting their performance.

Conclusion: Navigating Cannabis Use in the Realm of Exercise

In conclusion, this study opens new avenues in understanding the role of cannabis in enhancing the exercise experience. While it suggests that cannabis, particularly CBD, can be used to increase enjoyment and motivation for exercise, its impact on performance, especially with THC, is a complex issue that requires further exploration. The research also cautions about potential risks, including dizziness and increased heart rate, making cannabis use in exercise a topic that warrants careful consideration. As the narrative around cannabis continues to evolve, this study provides a foundation for further research and discussions about its role in exercise and overall wellness.

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