Working out high. A strange concept to some. While there are many benefits of CBD, I’m referring to only THC, the main psychoactive component of cannabis. On social media I see many take it post workout, but what about when taken pre workout as an ergogenic aid? Is it legitimate or just a rationalization by cannabis enthusiasts?
While my stance on cannabis is pretty obvious, even I recognize the fact, it’s not for everyone, and it’s dose dependant. I personally prefer a sativa or sativa dominant hybrid when taking it pre workout. When combined with enough caffeine, I find I’m more focused and ‘present’ to what I’m doing. In the past few years, I notice a type of anxiety in myself in the gym. When I’m bench pressing for example, at times, I found myself scanning if the next equipment on my program is available, even if I’m only 2 sets in and have 4 more sets to go. On the other hand, when I smoke, I’m focusing on the exercise I’m performing. There does seem to be an increase in the mind muscle connection or internal cues. Possibly, this same increased focus is also what makes using heavier loads seem that much heavier as well.
When working out high on a large volume plan, the mind set compliments the otherwise monotonous and repetitive actions. This is why I take my edibles or even a few hits from a vape pen before performing my volume pull ups. Again, I experience a type of anxiety when I’m challenging myself to beat my best time on my pull up challenges. In fact, in the past 4 years, I’ve been consuming an edible before performing my annual pull up challenge of 2000 plus pull ups. When you’re 5 hours into a marathon pull up session, with muscle spasms in your arms, barely capable of even gripping the pull up bar, you inadvertently have to ask yourself, “Why the fuck am I doing this?” Now, with cannabis, I’m aware that since I’m high I’d be currently incapable of answering such a question so I don’t even begin to entertain such a train of thought.
Ironic isn’t it? At the beginning of this year, I again consumed edibles before beginning the pull ups. It took just over 6 hours. Now, do we assume that my conditioning is simply so well above average that I can still complete my 2000 pull ups even while being negatively effected by THC (please note my sarcasm) or do we simply accept the likelihood that any deleterious effects of THC is very minimal? Now like with other substances, both those considered natural or otherwise, the positive and negative effects of THC is as I said earlier, dose dependent. There was a recent study from Washington State University (2017) that showed that long term marijuana users showed ‘blunted stress activity’ compared to non users when salivary cortisol levels were measured. Another study from University of Illinois found that low dose THC (7.5mg) relieved stress and anxiety but medium dose (12.5mg) increased anxiety. What it comes down to for me is that the right strain, at the right dose, can not only relieve anxiety, but make the workouts far more enjoyable as well. At the end of the day, working out high is a personal preference.
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