A new study has found that smoking marijuana prior to a workout can make exercise more enjoyable and boost a person’s motivation. The study, which involved 42 volunteer runners, released its findings almost a decade after Colorado became the first state in the United States to offer legal sales of recreational cannabis.
The investigators took survey data and fitness measurements then assigned each volunteer a dispensary where they could pick a flower strain that contained mostly THC or CBD. Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are two of the primary compounds found in marijuana. Unlike TH, CBD doesn’t induce any high.
The volunteers had to go for follow-up visits where they ran on a treadmill for half an hour at a moderate pace. They also answered questions to evaluate how much they were enjoying themselves, how motivated they felt, how fast time seemed to pass, how hard the workout felt and if they felt any pain. The runners wore safety belts while running on the treadmill during the study period.
Across the board, study participants reported more intense euphoria and greater enjoyment. The researchers observed that this heightened mood was greater in the CBD group as compared to the THC group, which suggests that athletes may derive some benefits to mood while using a CBD-dominant strain.
Laurel Gibson, the study’s first author, highlighted that the bottom-line discovery was that marijuana before exercise seemed to increase enjoyment and positive mood during exercise, regardless of whether one used CBD or THC. She further noted that THC products, specifically, could make one use more effort during exercise. Gibson is a research fellow with the Center for Health and Addiction: Neuroscience, Genes and Environment.
The study’s findings as well as prior research by the researchers go against stereotypes that link marijuana with idleness/laziness.
Professor Angela Bryan, the study’s senior author, stated that new tools were needed to try get more individuals to move their bodies in enjoyable ways. Bryan, who specialized in psychology and neuroscience, noted that if marijuana was one of these tools, then it needed to be explored, with both its benefits and harms being considered.
A prior survey on marijuana users conducted by Bryan’s research group determined that 80% of respondents had used the drug before or after exercise. Despite this, minimal studies have been done looking into the link between marijuana and exercise.
The study’s findings were published in the “Sports Medicine” journal in December 2023.
Some prohibitionists have always asserted that marijuana is a performance-enhancing drug, but the cannabis industry and companies such as Curaleaf Holdings Inc. (CSE: CURA) (OTCQX: CURLF) may not be surprised that research has shown that the substance only improves one’s mood and not the workout itself.
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