The Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport recently published a review of studies on the subject of cannabis and exercise.1 They found more than a dozen studies on the subject. For cannabis-lovers, the outlook is not very promising at this point for weed and exercise.
The Not-So-Good News about Weed and Exercise
- First, THC did not show an improvement in aerobic exercise in any study. Of course, this is not to say that it was a problem necessarily, but did not help. So, if you want maximum performance, cannabis will not help. It may even hurt.
- Second, THC caused angina (chest pain) at lower workloads in 100% of subjects. That’s every last one! Keep in mind that angina has strong association with heart disease and heart attack.
- Third, some subjects could not finish their exercise program because of adverse effects from the cannabis. Again, not only will cannabis NOT help your performance, it very well may inhibit it.
- Fourth, is really only relevant to athletic testing. It turns out that exercise can cause a slight increase in TCH concentration in the blood. So, even if your cannabis use is low, it could appear than you use more than you actually do.
The Silver Lining
- Cannabis was effective against exercise-induced asthma. Thus, if you suffer from this condition, it might actually be easier for you to exercise. So far, this seems to be the only reason than cannabis MIGHT help with exercise.
The Bottom Line Regarding Weed and Exercise
So far, the science simply shows that weed and exercise don’t mix. It might, and I stress might, be useful if you get asthma when you work out. Other than that, it seems to only inhibit exercise. Given what is known so far, long-term use with exercise might be a real health risk.
- Kennedy MC. Cannabis: Exercise performance and sport. A systematic review. J Sci Med Sport. 2017;20(9):825-829.