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This week's installment of the Yoga Living Project welcomes first time guest author Justin Bennett to discuss Colorado's hot topic: cannabis, and under which circumstances it should be integrated with exercise. While reading this, consider how it applies to your yoga practice also keeping in mind any policies your home studio has in place on the matter. What hot topic are you fired up about right now? Send your thoughts or blog proposals to Austin at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Should You Combine Exercise and Cannabis?

The question of whether to combine exercise and cannabis is a divisive one. Some people swear by it, claiming that cannabis makes exercise more enjoyable, while others think it can be dangerous or counterproductive. So which is it? Workout booster or workout hazard?

Well…it depends. Both cannabis and exercise feel very different to different people, and the two can combine in very different ways. In this article, we will explore the main arguments for and against it and give you some advice for testing things out in a safe manner. 

 

Cannabis: The Basics

Before starting, it is useful to go over some cannabis basics. Cannabis, also known as marijuana or by an endless variety of other names, is made up of two essential components: THC and CBD. THC is the active component that makes you feel “high”, while CBD has a more subtle, relaxing effect.

Most cannabis consumed for therapeutic and recreational reasons has a higher level of THC, but high-CBD strains do exist, and many people consume CBD alone though oils and other products. For the purposes of this article, we will be discussing cannabis that contains both.

Additionally, there is a lot of specialist vocabulary around cannabis. So, if you are a relative newbie, it might be good to familiarize yourself with it.

 

The Argument for Mixing Exercise and Cannabis

According to Time, recent research has shown that people who consume cannabis before or after exercise tend to work out more than the average American. The main reason given is that cannabis makes working out more fun and enjoyable. This means you do it more often and for longer.

Cannabis can also be beneficial post-workout, since it reduces pain and inflammation. Both CBD and THC play a part in this: CBD has stronger anti-inflammatory effects, while the “high” of THC can be an effective remedy against pain. 

 

The Argument Against Mixing Exercise and Cannabis

Many doctors still advise against using cannabis to enhance exercise. In particular, there is a worry about cannabis’ effect on heart health. While it does not have any significant effect on healthy people, it can increase the risk of heart attack in those with existing cardiovascular problems.

Some also feel that cannabis can make people clumsy or careless during exercise, which increases the risk of injury. 

 

How to Decide Whether It Works for You

While cannabis works for some people, others should probably avoid it. If you are interested in combining cannabis and exercise, here are some tips to figure out whether it is for you:

  • Choose the right strain - For before your workout, look for high-energy strains that help you get active, like Durban Poison, Jillybean, and XJ-13. If you want something for afterward, go for something with a high CBD to THC ratio to fight inflammation. Ask the staff at your local dispensary if you want more guidance. 

  • Test it out - Every strain feels different to everyone. Try the strain before exercising with it so you know exactly what to expect.

  • Try taking it in different ways - The same strain can feel different depending on how you consume it. Try a few different consumption methods, like vaping or tinctures. 

  • Start slow - Start by taking a small dose and working out with it. You can build up your desired dose over a few sessions. You want to feel energized, but still very much in control of your movements. 

  • Pick the right workouts -  Some exercises work better with cannabis than others. Stay away from heavy weightlifting equipment at the gym, and do some yoga, swimming, or jogging instead. 



If you care about your performance, remember to record stats like distance or time so you can see if cannabis helped. However, it may simply be a matter of personal preference - some people like exercising while high, some don’t. Try it out for yourself, but take things slow and don’t try to push yourself too hard. Remember - you could always just use cannabis to wind down after the workout. 

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