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A young woman working out with a man in the background.

The Pros and Cons of Working Out High

Cannabis use among fitness enthusiasts isn’t just blowing smoke. There’s a grounded conversation happening on the pros and cons of working out high. So, how can working out high either elevate your gym experience or weigh down your performance?

Let’s explore, with a balanced mindset, the pros and cons of working out high.

people workout in gym group exercise in fitness
While its not for everyone, working out high can unlock a new level of enjoyment for your fitness routine.

The Pros of a Working Out High

Increased Motivation and Focus

For some, working out high is exactly the push they need to get through a grueling gym session. THC and CBD, the active compounds in cannabis, may activate the body’s endocannabinoid system, stimulating the body to produce anandamide for a natural “runner’s high.” Many athletes chase that sense of focus and heightened enjoyment.

Learn more about the Endocannabinoid System.

 

A bodybuilder in the gym doing shoulder exercises.
Research has shown cannabinoids like CBD can aid in recovery.

Pain Threshold and Recovery

A significant pro to working out high is cannabis’ natural anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. CBD, in particular, may be a huge help when it comes to recovery. Research has shown it has the potential to aid in quicker bounce-backs from tough workouts by dampening soreness and reducing muscle fatigue.

Increased Creativity in Workouts

A touch of THC might just be the creative spark you need to mix up your workout routine. Whether its experimenting with new yoga poses or crafting  dance routines, cannabis can liberate the mind, encouraging a more playful and inventive approach to exercise. This creative boost can be particularly beneficial in activities that inherently value expression and flow. A little lift before activities like martial arts, dance, and yoga can bring a fresh perspective and renewed enthusiasm for practice.

Stress Reduction

The calming effect of cannabis is well-documented, and it’s no surprise that this extends into the realm of physical fitness. For individuals who experience anxiety or stress about working out -whether it’s gym-timidation or performance pressure – working out high can be soothing. This relaxed state not only makes the idea of exercising more approachable but can also improve endurance and focus by reducing mental barriers. Cannabis could make your time at the gym less about stress and more about wellness. 

 

Angelika and Jackie stretching in the gym
For some, cannabis brings a heightened sensory experience.

Enhanced Sensory Perception

Fitness routines while high can transform a mundane workout into an immersive experience. Cannabis’s ability to amplify senses means the rhythm of your favorite workout playlist might motivate you more, or the sensory feeling of the water on the skin during a swim could become more refreshing. A heightened awareness can make you more present in your workout, potentially leading to a deeper appreciation of the activity and making routine exercises more enjoyable.

The Cons of Working Out High 

Risks to Cardiovascular Health

Despite the possible upsides, working out high carries some risks. THC has been known to elevate heart rates, which might be a red flag for those with cardiovascular concerns. Before you consider a cannabis-fueled workout, it’s vital to listen to your heart and your doctor – both figuratively and literally.

 

fitness man working out with battle ropes at gym
Exercises that require coordination and reaction time could become more difficult.

Coordination and Cognitive Function

Another con is the potential impact on motor skills and cognitive function. THC may impair coordination, reaction time, and stability, leading to increased risk of injury during high-intensity or precision-required workouts.

Never operate dangerous workout machines or do dangerous exercise movements while impaired.

Difficulty in Tracking Intensity

While the relaxed state induced by cannabis can have its benefits, it may also cloud judgment regarding the intensity of a workout. Users might find it challenging to push themselves adequately or, conversely, might overexert without realizing it until later. An altered perception can interfere with reaching fitness goals efficiently for some. Whether its building strength, improving endurance, or losing weight, pushing too hard could potentially lead to injuries if you’re not careful.

Reduced Short-term Memory

Cannabis’s impact on short-term memory when high could prove inconvenient during complex workouts requiring careful attention to form and sequence. Forgetting the number of reps completed or losing track of your position in a circuit can throw off the flow of your workout. This is more of a risk for activities that require strict adherence to technique and timing, such as weightlifting or high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

 

Beautiful young slim woman resting after training and wipes the
Pay extra special attention to your hydration on hot days. 

Hydration and Heat Sensitivity

Dehydration and heat sensitivity can pose significant risks during exercise, especially in hot conditions or during intense sessions. Cannabis use might put you at risk, as it can affect the body’s normal heat regulation and hydration cues. Staying hydrated and cool (or warm) becomes even more crucial when working out high. You may find you need to take more frequent breaks to avoid overheating or dehydration.

Always listen to your body’s signals for water and rest!

The Pros and Cons of Working Out High: Other Considerations

Choosing Your Strain and Method

Not all cannabis is created equal, especially regarding your workout high. The choice of strain, along with the method of consumption, plays a crucial role in how cannabis will influence your workout. Here are some of the best Revolution strains for working out:

T&T IHJ Assets TLC Dos Nug Shot copy
This strain is perfect for an energetic and productive workout.

TLC Dos

This energizing Sativa-dominant strain is perfect for exercise and productivity. TLC Dos goes perfectly with your morning workout routine for a bright and sunny take on the day.

Reported Effects

Energized, Uplifting, Creative

Flavors

Earthy, Citrus, OG

Lineage

Turbo Lemon Cake x Dosido (#4)

Top Terpenes

Alpha-Pinene, Limonene, Ocimene, Beta-Pinene, Linalool

Shop TLC Dos

REV Cookies Manzano Lifestyle 01 040623 (1)
Energy with a fruity kick and a side of pain relief.

Manzano

The result of crossing (aka “Selfing”) Apples & Bananas x Apples & Bananas, Manzano has all the best aspects of Apples and Bananas. Like the parent, it’s a Sativa-dominant hybrid (30 Indica/ 70 Sativa) that boosts energy, helps with pain and provides a nice body buzz.

Reported Effects

Pain Relief, Body Buzz, Energetic

Flavors

Crisp Apple, Citrus (lemon), Floral

Lineage

Apples & Bananas x Apples & Bananas

Top Terpenes

Beta-Myrcene, Ocimene, Alpha-Pinene, Beta-Caryophyllene, Linalool

Shop Manzano

REV FrostDonkeyBX1 nug shot
Energizing and euphoric, Frost Donkey is a great sativa dominant strain to pair with your next workout. 

Frost Donkey BX1

This Sativa-dominant cultivar was selected for its energizing and euphoric effects that pair with a spicy, pine-y flavor profile. Reach for Frost Donkey for an energized workout with a side helping of euphoria.

Reported Effects

Energizing, Euphoria, Uplifting

Flavor

Earthy, Spicy, Pine

Lineage

GMO x Peanut Butter Breath

Top Terpenes

Limonene, Beta-Myrcene, Alpha-Pinene, Linalool, Beta-Pinene

Shop Frost Donkey BX1

And remember, inhalation isn’t the only way to get your fitness buzz—edibles and tinctures offer an alternative.

Consultation and Consideration

Always consult with healthcare professionals when incorporating cannabis into your fitness regimen, especially if pre-existing health conditions are in play. Balancing the therapeutic benefits of CBD with the psychoactive effects of THC requires a careful approach and the guidance of healthcare professionals.

The Pros and Cons of Working Out High: Athletes’ Perspective

In recent years, some athletes have emerged to challenge long-standing stigmas and spark a conversation about performance, recovery, and wellness. With laws and attitudes toward cannabis shifting around the globe, an increasing number of Olympic champions, UFC fighters, and NFL stars are breaking barriers and changing perceptions.

They are advocates for the acceptance and understanding of cannabis’s role in sports and wellness. Their experiences offer insight into the potential benefits and considerations of incorporating cannabis into an athlete’s regimen.

Nate Diaz & Nick Diaz

Nate Diaz, a prominent figure in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), openly used a vape pen during a post-fight press conference, immediately drawing attention to cannabis’ role in athletic recovery.

Diaz highlighted the benefits for pain and inflammation, setting a precedent for transparency about cannabis use in professional sports. His public endorsement of cannabis, particularly for its healing properties, has been influential in changing perceptions about cannabis in athletics, demonstrating its potential beyond recreational use to a tool for recovery and wellness.

His brother, Nick Diaz, is also an advocate for cannabis use. He was suspended from the UFC for years after testing positive for cannabis.

On December 31st, 2023, the UFC removed cannabis from the banned substances list.

Ricky Williams

Former NFL running back Ricky Williams has been an outspoken advocate for cannabis, especially highlighting its effectiveness in managing pain and recovery over conventional painkillers. After facing suspensions during his NFL career for cannabis use, Williams has since dedicated a significant part of his post-football life to cannabis activism.

He’s since launched the Highsman brand and spends his time discussing how cannabis not only helped him cope with the physical demands of professional football but also with his mental health. Williams’s advocacy work focuses on destigmatizing cannabis use among athletes and promoting medicinal benefits. 

Learn about Revolution Cannabis’ partnership with Highsman.

Megan Rapinoe

Megan Rapinoe, celebrated for her achievements with the US Women’s National Soccer Team, has publicly endorsed CBD. Rapinoe’s use of CBD is a big step in the growing acceptance in professional sports. By sharing her positive experiences with CBD, Rapinoe has added to the conversation about holistic approaches to recovery.

Eugene Monroe

Eugene Monroe is a former offensive tackle in the NFL, and a vocal advocate for cannabis research and benefits. Particularly when it comes to pain management and the risks associated with opioid use. After experiencing the physical toll that professional football has on the body, Monroe called for the NFL and other organizations to reconsider their stance on cannabis. Monroe emphasizes the importance of player health and safety, advocating for cannabis as a safer alternative to prescription drugs.

 

man lying on grass and balancing woman in his feet
It’s all about finding what works for you.

Finding Your Balance

When it comes to the pros and cons of working out high, its personal. While the allure of a more enjoyable and less painful gym session is tempting, it’s balanced by the need to maintain safety and health. The key to benefiting from a high workout lies in understanding your body’s responses. So stay informed on the latest research, and most importantly, put your health and safety first.

Sources:

Cannabidiol in sports: insights on how CBD could improve performance and recovery

The role of endocannabinoids in the hypothalamic regulation of visceral function

How Rachael and Megan Rapinoe are Changing the Cannabis Industry

Nick Diaz: The Life & Times of a Cannabis Crusader

General Cannabis FAQ

Cannabis, often referred to as marijuana, is a plant that has been used for thousands of years for various purposes, including medicine, textiles, and recreation. The plant contains compounds known as cannabinoids, with delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) being the most well-known. THC is primarily responsible for the plant’s psychoactive effects, while CBD is recognized for its potential therapeutic benefits without causing a “high.”

Many countries and U.S. states have decriminalized or legalized the use of marijuana for medical use, recreational, or both. The legal status changes frequently as legislation evolves.

In the U.S., states vote to regulate marijuana use on an individual basis. While it remains illegal at the federal level, numerous states have legalized it for medicinal and/or recreational use.

The following states have legalized medical, recreational, or both:

  • Alaska – Medical
  • Arizona – Legal
  • Arkansas – Medical
  • California – Legal
  • Colorado – Legal
  • Connecticut – Legal
  • Delaware – Legal
  • District of Columbia – Legal
  • Florida – Medical
  • Hawaii – Medical (Possession decriminalized for small amounts)
  • Illinois – Legal
  • Louisiana – Medical (Possession decriminalized for small amounts)
  • Maine – Legal
  • Maryland – Legal
  • Massachusetts – Legal
  • Michigan – Legal
  • Minnesota – Legal
  • Mississippi – Medical (Possession decriminalized for small amounts)
  • Missouri – Legal
  • Montana – Legal
  • Nevada – Legal
  • New Hampshire – Medical (Possession decriminalized for small amounts)
  • New Jersey – Legal
  • New Mexico – Legal
  • New York – Legal
  • North Dakota – Medical (Possession decriminalized for small amounts)
  • Ohio – Medical (Possession decriminalized)
  • Oklahoma – Medical
  • Oregon – Legal
  • Pennsylvania – Medical
  • Rhode Island – Legal
  • South Dakota – Medical
  • Utah – Medical
  • Vermont – Legal
  • Virginia – Legal
  • Washington – Legal
  • West Virginia – Medical

 

Outside of the U.S., countries like The Netherlands, Canada, and, more recently, Thailand have legalized cannabis on a national level.

Always check local laws and regulations in your specific location.

In states where marijuana has been legalized, you can purchase products at licensed dispensaries. Revolution products are available at Enlightened, Revolution, and partner dispensaries in Illinois, Arkansas, Missouri, and Maryland. Find a dispensary near you.

Keep in mind that dispensaries may cater to medical patients, recreational consumers, or both, depending on local laws.

Always ensure that you are buying from a reputable and licensed establishment to guarantee product quality and safety.

The effects of cannabis vary widely depending on the strain, dosage, method of consumption, an individual’s endocannabinoid system, and more.

Some commonly reported effects include:

Psychoactive Effects: Euphoria, mood elevation, cerebral stimulation, stress relief, calming effects, and relaxation.

Physical Effects: Pain relief, body buzz, anti-inflammation, anti-nausea, energy boost or sedation, and appetite stimulation

*Medical Benefits: Cannabis is believed to have a range of therapeutic effects and alleviation of symptoms related to conditions like epilepsy, PTSD, and more.

*Marijuana is not approved by the FDA to treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

The primary difference lies in their intended use:

Medical Cannabis: Used as a treatment and alleviation of symptoms for specific health conditions. Medical strains might be cultivated and processed to have higher CBD content or other therapeutic compounds. Medical cannabis requires a physician who usually prescribes or recommends it as a treatment option.

Recreational Cannabis: Used without a medical justification but for personal enjoyment and fulfillment.

The process varies from state to state but typically involves the following steps:

Doctor’s Recommendation: Schedule an appointment with a physician who is authorized to recommend medical marijuana. Discuss your health conditions and reasons for seeking cannabis as a treatment.

Application: Once you have a doctor’s recommendation, you’ll usually need to apply for a medical marijuana card through a designated state or country agency.

Proof & Identification: Provide necessary identification and proof of residency as required by your jurisdiction.

Fee Payment: Most jurisdictions require a fee for the application and issuance of a medical marijuana card.

Card Issuance: Once approved, you will receive your medical marijuana card, allowing you to purchase cannabis at designated medical dispensaries.

If you’d like more detailed information, please read our state-specific medical card guide here.