Marijuana is an aphrodisiac that stimulates sexual desire and pleasure, but marijuana is also a “supplement” that enhances workouts and other exercise!
The first and most important thing to realize about using marijuana during exercise is that marijuana affects each of us differently.
In fact, the way you feel when using marijuana during exercise is affected by multiple factors including:
What kind of marijuana are you using?
What form of use are you engaged in (smoking, vaporizing, medibles, topical oil, concentrates versus whole bud, etc.)
When and where are you using marijuana?
What’s your mental, emotional, and physical state when you use marijuana?
What type and intensity of exercise are you doing?
Most of my stoner friends say using marijuana for exercise works best when they’re doing “flow” exercise such as snowboarding, skiing, bicycling, swimming, yoga, tai chi, chi gong, sailing, and similar exercise.
Marijuana is less advisable for exercise involving sprinting (such as soccer), intense bursts of competitive effort (football, hockey, baseball, weights), brutally competitive violent sports like boxing and MMA, sports involving precise coordination, eyesight, and reflexes, such as tennis, and sports involving complex team interaction.
Successfully using marijuana during exercise includes understanding that marijuana is a muscle relaxer, pain reliever, anti-inflammatory, appetite-enhancer, and mood enhancer.
Marijuana also affects blood pressure and heart rate.
When you focus on the muscle relaxer and cardiovascular aspects, you see how marijuana use during excercise could be a problem, and it’s a problem I’m well-familiar with as an exercise addict.
It makes a big difference what kind of marijuana you use during exercise.
Sativa strains of cannabis are known to give you a stimulating, cerebral, happy-happy high, compared to the “couchlock” heavy high of Indica or Kush (Afghanica) marijuana.
So when I use pure Sativa and then do a 30 mile bicycle ride, I feel mentally and emotionally stimulated.
The physical sensations of the workout are enhanced. Visuals and audibles (beautiful scenery, the songs of birds, etc.) are enhanced.
On the other hand, the muscle relaxant effects make my legs feel heavier and make it harder for me to achieve maximum muscle activation.
I’ve measured myself with heart rate and blood pressure monitors and can see obvious effects of marijuana when I exercise, because my blood pressure goes down while my heart rate goes up.
To be embarrassingly honest about it, there have been several occasions when I used too much or too strong a dose of marijuana, or marijuana with too much Indica or Kush genetics, and I got into serious trouble exercising.
A couple of times I got so wrapped up in my high, and my blood pressure was so low, that I spaced out, lost consciousness, and crashed my bicycle.
Once I inhaled some powerhouse Hawaiian bud before I went swimming off a black sand beach on the Big Island of Hawaii.
My habit was to get high, penetrate the shore break, swim out a mile and come back in.
But about 300 yards offshore the high kicked in, and it kicked my ass.
I felt soooo heavy, so lethargic, dizzy, and weak… at just the wrong time, when I was caught in a current that pulled me down the coast away from the beach.
I barely made it back to shore that day. I almost drowned.
And other than the fact that Hawaiian weed’s cannabinoid and terpenoid ratios are altered by chemistry-changing tropical ultraviolet radiation so that the high is a sledgehammer, another reason I got in trouble that day is I’d inhaled from a pipe, using combustion.
When you put fire to whole bud, you’re inhaling combustion byproducts that aren’t good for exercise. Combustion byproducts are toxic and the toxicity interferes with oxygen absorption and C02 exhalation.
Combustion particulates clog your respiratory tract and lungs.
Overall, combustion delivers more than just cannabinoids and terpenoids into your body. It also delivers toxins and particulates that make you feel tired, weak, and dizzy.
These compounds lower your strength and stamina.
I suggest you check out our article on vaporizers versus flame to see more about combustion’s effects on your high and body.
Marijuana affects mental focus and physical coordination.
I was on a company softball team as a pitcher, and had a good record, until I got high before a game and threw several wild pitches and a bunch of floaters that contributed to our team losing big.
It wasn’t just that the marijuana affected my depth perception, sense of time and space, muscle strength, and eyesight, it was that I felt stoned and goofy.
The whole social drama of the game–spectators screaming, kids rushing around in the bleachers, the over the top competitiveness of some of the other players– seemed like a bizarre farce to me because I was super high.
It took away my motivation to do my best, and made me look at it all as a comedy.
One other thing that male athletes should know is that some researchers suspect that marijuana, a female flower, is estrogenate and may lower testosterone levels.
It could even contribute to the “man boobs” phenomenon that some male marijuana smokers suffer from.
In general, the benefits of marijuana for men include a “feminizing” effect in which more blood is channeled into the right cerebral hemisphere so kinder, softer emotions are enhanced.
But these sweeter, gentler emotions might not be so good during some kinds of exercise and sports.
On the other hand, I’ve seen massively-ripped bodybuilders using marijuana during exercise, claiming it makes them stronger and more focused.
One weightlifter said that when he’s involved in competitive weightlifting, he injects testosterone to counteract marijuana’s estrogenate effects.
Also be aware that using marijuana during exercise sometimes gives you a false sense of security so you go too far in a workout because you’re comfortably numb.
I’ve injured myself many times doing yoga postures way more intensely stoned than I’d have done them if I wasn’t high.
One other well-known medical benefit of marijuana–that it increases appetite–can be problematic for serious athletes.
The problem is that marijuana tends to increase your appetite for sugary, simple-carbohydrate foods. Eating sugary foods can affect your exercise performance, especially if you dose yourself with refined sugars.
You can see that as with learning to successfully use marijuana as an aphrodisiac, using marijuana during exercise requires you to experiment with different types of marijuana and different ways of using it so you find the optimal effects you want.
For example, my Colorado friends love to eat marijuana medibles and then spend the entire day skiing and snowboarding.
They don’t have to carry smoking or vaporizing apparatus with them, and a medible high usually lasts 4-6 hours and is whole-body and consistent, which works well with flow sports like snowboarding.
I personally have discovered an amazingly upbeat marijuana strain called Bubbleberry that stimulates me, erases fatigue, and makes me feel very euphoric during bicycling, swimming, and power yoga workouts.
Remember… each of us is different.
If you’re interested in using marijuana during exercise, do research on your reactions to various kinds of cannabis and various modes of dosing yourself so you eventually figure out if marijuana makes your workouts better.
Another relevant article you can read is a recent article about how NFL football players use marijuana.
They don’t use it just before or during a game, but they do use it immediately afterwards because it has so many positive benefits for healing sore, tired bodies.
One other caveat… using marijuana during exercise affects endorphin circuits, blood sugar, metabolism, and other personal physiology in ways that interact with and/or interfere with your natural systems and way of being.
Sometimes I stop using marijuana completely for weeks or even months at at time.
And when I do, I notice I start to gradually experience my natural endorphin highs when I work out, and that in some ways they’re almost as exciting as the marijuana high.
Like when I get my “runner’s high,” if I’ve been clean from marijuana for a while, it feels pretty much like a marijuana high!
Anyone interested in health and fitness should consider using marijuana during exercise, but… do it wisely, moderately, and consciously, so you get maximum benefit.