We have a stereotype of people who use cannabis: a lazy teenager hanging off of the sofa, surrounded by snacks and a smokey haze. This is the image that we’re repeatedly shown in movies and on TV, however, now that Mary Jane is legal in 18 states (and counting), researchers are beginning to disprove the misconceptions that people have about cannabis.
A team of researchers recently surveyed 600 cannabis users and were surprised to discover that 8 in 10 of the participants ingested cannabis right before or right after their workouts. Of the participants that utilized cannabis in their workouts, 52% said that it made them more motivated to work out. Over 70% said that using cannabis made them enjoy working out, and 78% claimed that it helped their recovery. The most surprising finding? The CannaFit participants reported getting 43 more minutes of exercise each week than the cannabis users who didn’t.
While research begins to normalize plant medicine and unravel the myths around cannabis, athletes and fitness gurus around the world are actively challenging society’s image of the “lazy stoner” stereotype. Whether you’re a marathon runner, a weekend hiking warrior or you live in the gym, athletes and experts alike are agreeing on one thing: cannabis can help you exercise more effectively, more often, and more enjoyably.
It’s Monday morning. The alarm goes off at 6:30 am and you’re lying in bed, mind racing. You have a VERY full schedule today between work, grocery shopping, meal prep and that exercise class that you booked a few days ago; you feel tapped out.
You know that exercise is important, but prioritizing ourselves when you are trying to balance work, home family responsibilities isn’t an easy decision. Doctors suggest that people should be moving their body for at least 150 minutes per week! That number might seem high, but ultimately it equates to three workouts per week, five 30-minute walks, or one really intense bike ride on the weekend. No matter if you are active in a way that brings you joy, or if you frequently switch up workouts, we all need help finding motivation some days. CBD’s got you covered! Ingesting just a few drops of CBD can motivate you by boosting your energy levels and improving your focus so that you can perform at your best.
We know something about needing that extra oomph. Maggy, Co-Founder of MATCH CANNA, describes herself as a CannaFit mom. She doesn’t love working out, but she loves the way it makes her body feel. As she neared middle age, she noticed that she wasn’t bouncing back from intense workouts as quickly, and the aches and pains that were once small nuisances had officially made a home in her shoulders, low back and now, her left knee. These days, it’s hard to motivate herself to start her workout. Becoming a mom only amplified her lack of motivation, because now, not only does her body hurt, but it’s hard to get focused when her head is filled with all the other things her family needs her to do. Knowing that the answer to motivating herself to move her body is to make working out more fun, Maggy started using cannabis in her workouts. If you see her at the gym while lifting weights, hiking on the coast with her dog, or riding her peloton, just know that she’s using CBD. A few drops of CBD oil in her coffee or a drag of her blunt is all she needs to put on her tennis shoes.
Cannabis can help get you out of your head and into your body: it can help you relax and focus on your form, feeling aligned and more powerful. Working out high may not be for everyone (be careful with those weights), but next time you are heading out for a hike try popping an edible (be sure of your dosing) and note how it changes your experience.
Pain and Inflammation
More than 20% of adults, approximately 50 million people in the US, suffer from chronic pain. People develop chronic pain from poor posture, lower back pain, autoimmune conditions, nerve damage, or any number of underlying issues. The catch 22 is that while pain is one of the main factors that prevents people from working out, regular exercise could reduce the severity of chronic pain. Not only does exercise have mental and physical health benefits, but it can also help temper pain.When you’re experiencing pain before you’ve even started to lift weights, before you reach for those pain pills, take a minute to consider your new best friend: cannabis. Recent studies suggest that CBD (either topically or sublingually) may reduce both pre and post-exercise inflammation. When you reduce your muscle aches, poof! You can get on with your day without that post-workout fatigue. CBD has anti-inflammatory properties that can help you recover faster, improve your training, and avoid long-lasting muscle soreness.Cannabis is not just anti-inflammatory, but it’s also a natural analgesic (pain reliever) and contains neuroprotective properties (heals and improves functions of nerve cells). Cannabis’s pain management properties help the body work with its own natural system to aid in healing and balance. Cannabis has been extensively studied for inflammation and pain management benefits, which often go hand-in-hand. Inflammation is the root of many problems ranging from skin conditions like eczema to autoimmune conditions like arthritis and MS, to long-lasting injuries that contribute to lower back pain or pulled muscles. Cannabis works in two ways to help us heal: at the site of injury by aiding in chemical mediation and improving healing time. Secondly, it works with our pain receptors and in our brain by dampening the “pain signal” and helping to protect and improve our nerve cell functions.Just remember — whether you’re a pro athlete, a workout junkie, or a person who likes to run twice a week, you can benefit from cannabis. Using CBD regularly can help you manage pain from injuries or soothe muscle aches and sore joints.
Rest and Recovery
When your body is stressed, you require rest! Maggy from MATCH CANNA knows a thing or two about both those subjects. She’s been a massage therapist for over 20 years, and early in her career she had a new client book a massage after he had just finished running a Century. Never heard of a Century? A century is when someone runs 100 miles in under 48 hours. Wow – this is the definition of pushing your body to the limit. Maggy says that as the runner laid on her massage table, she hardly put her hands on his body and he was already jumping with pain. His body was one big bruise. Since then, Maggy has not only learned sports massage but has become a thought-leader and educator in the realm of sports massage and pain management. She wishes that she could go back to that moment and instill the importance of rest on that Century runner.
Our bodies are well-tuned machines and they are wonderful at healing, but only if you give them the proper environment, which is why one of the most important aspects (and our favorite aspect tbh) of working out is taking the time to rest and recover. Why are experts so serious about the double R’s? Training damages our body’s tissues – which doesn’t have to be a bad thing. But in order for our muscles to recover and improve, we need to allow our bodies to rest in between activities. R+R increases performance, reduces recovery time, and keeps you doing what you love. Creating a healthy balance of work-hard, rest-hard is necessary in order for your body to repair and heal, to recover from the damage it sustained and strengthen itself between workouts.
How much rest do you need? Most studies suggest that the body needs at least 24 hours between intense workouts to replenish our muscle stores of carbs and to maintain an adequate store of glycogen to help maintain stable blood sugar levels.
How can CBD help when you need to wind down? Taken either sublingually or topically, CBD can help reduce inflammation, aids in relieving muscle soreness and aches, and helps prevent post-workout fatigue. Another way that you can utilize CBD is by taking a good old-fashioned soak. Bath soaks target chronic pain and muscle soreness while the heat of the water causes vasodilation, or the opening of the blood vessels, enhancing absorption and allows your muscles to fully relax. Don’t just take our word for it, try a CBD bath soak after one of your more intense workouts and feel the pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects for yourself.
Research suggests what the canna-curious have known for a long time, that CBD/Cannabis and exercise can go together like peanut butter and jelly! While we need additional research around the topic to explore any potential downsides, studies have shown that exercisers have used the plant to boost motivation, help with focus, assist in pain management, and aid in recovery. But a note to the intrigued: while CBD isn’t psychoactive and can be 100% safe to use around bikes and gym equipment, stoner-cisers have said that overindulging in cannabis has, in some rare cases, lead to an injury. Remember y’all: cannabis is still a mind-altering substance and can affect people differently, so please be careful when dosing. Despite a few mishaps, the canna fit isn’t going back to sober workouts anytime soon.