If you’re interested in combining your love for cannabis with your love for fitness but aren’t sure of how it can actually help, or if you can use it for maximum benefits, we have the answers for you. It’s tough to keep your body both fit and feeling good, but also ensuring that there is the right amount of sculpting happening. Thanks to medical marijuana, you can now work out harder and more consistently than ever, while using cannabis as a way to relieve pain between workouts.
We all love the great benefits that cannabis can have (beyond just being an uplifting psychoactive experience). From chronic pain to depression, cannabis can help alleviate some of the symptoms and help people manage their day-to-day. Luckily, the same aspects of cannabis that help those with health issues can be used to optimize your workout. And even luckier: the options for consumption don’t necessarily require a smoking apparatus or don’t need to take you on an elevated journey (which could knock you out and would be quite counter-intuitive, don’t you think?).
After a grueling HIIT workout or a long cardio sprint, you know that the next few hours or even days can be tough. From refueling, rehydrating and helping your muscles endure the expected stiffening and aches as they repair and rebuild, you know what is in store for you. Generally accepted methods to manage the pain or soreness have been: protein supplements, creatine, and forms of ibuprofen – but there is a new sheriff in town: cannabis.
What The Science Says About Weed And Athletic Recovery
Before we say whether or not cannabis is truly capable of helping us optimize our workout recovery time, let’s go through a breakdown of what we know and what the science is saying.
Thanks to more and more recorded research around the effects of marijuana, we are beginning to understand the benefits and the pitfalls of the drug on the human body. While this is true, there is still much research to be done, specifically in the area of combining weed and athletic recovery. Frankly, there are large gaps in our knowledge when it comes to cannabis, but one thing is for certain: cannabis most likely has little to no effect on the muscle protein synthesis process.
Right now, there are no studies being conducted on whether or not the marijuana plant or cannabis compounds are catabolic. We don’t know if marijuana is able to help your body properly dispose of biological debris or even help reduce the swelling that is imminent after a tough workout. We do know that cannabis is an anti-inflammatory, but we do not know the limits of what it can do, or if it is enough of an anti-inflammatory to help mend muscle fatigue or damage.
How Cannabis Helps Post-Workout Recovery
While our knowledge is limited on what the effects of cannabis on muscles are, we do know that lighting up after a workout can help cushion the effects of delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS. This can easily help you manage the pain and be able to hit the gym faster than if you did not smoke a bowl or eat an edible. Cannabis can help alleviate aches and pains – and DOMS is considered to be a part of the acute pain family, which, while different from chronic pain, can still wreak havoc on your day-to-day.
Not necessarily as impactful as proper time off, smoking a joint could have the same effects on your body as taking a low-level pain reliever, such as ibuprofen or an Advil, would have on the pain. So why not just take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as Advil? In the case of those options, the over-the-counter medicines or NSAIDs can have a debilitating effect on other parts of your body. Between the two, consuming cannabis would prove to be the “healthier” option for you and your body.
So, What’s The Best Option?
With the many different ways we can consume cannabis today, it may just be easier for those who are inexperienced to start with either smoking a joint or vaping. Smoking, in general, is a “no-no” for those who are fit, so vaping could offer the benefits without the lung burn. Vaporizing the entire cannabis flower is the healthiest option for those who are seeking a way to bring cannabis into your work out routine. Avoid vape oils at all costs!
Edibles, on the other hand, would be for the more seasoned cannabis user; allow yourself the time that comes with eating an edible for the effects to kick in and make sure you know the right dosage for your body. Tinctures could be a great option that is taken sublingually (read: beneath the tongue) and can be simply added to your post-workout smoothie. If you choose to just take the tincture sublingually, it has a higher chance of entering your bloodstream immediately, meaning you will feel the effect in no time.
Another option are medicinal marijuana bath salts. Take a nice soak in some cannabis-infused bath salts and soak away the pain after a grueling workout. Similar to Epsom salts, cannabis bath salts will melt the aches and pains right off your bones.
If you’re feeling muscle or joint pains and need something to shake the soreness off, medical marijuana salves and topicals could be for you. These can provide some helpful, and deeper, relief that penetrates right to where the pain is.
Muscle pain doesn’t have to stop you from achieving your fitness goals. Topicals, tinctures, and vapes are out there that can help reduce your recovery time and give you the ability to be in top to keep you happy and fit for years to come!