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Can Cannabis Improve Your Workout?

Can Cannabis Improve Your Workout?


Leafly Science Roundup: Can Cannabis Improve Your Workout?

By Ben Adlin

Can cannabis help with your cardio? Believe it or not, yes. The little available research we have suggests cannabis is an “ergolytic,” meaning it decreases work capacity and cardiac output. Butthere’s more to a workout than peak horsepower. Iñigo San Millán, a director of sports performance at the University of Colorado, says cannabis can take the mind off pain and help athletes stay in the zone during tough workouts. It can also reduce stress and promote sleep, he says, making it a promising post-workout recovery aid. There are downsides, of course — cannabis can slow reaction times and may temporarily increase heartrate — but Clifford Drusinky, an elite triathlete, swears by the 20 milligrams of THC he eats in a cannabis-infused energy bar every morning: “Marijuana relaxes me and allows me to go into a controlled, meditational place,” he says. “When I get high, I train smarter and I focus on form.”

So maybe we should let athletes use it. The Super Bowl gave a whole bunch of former footballplayers a chance to talk about how physically demanding (read: tragically devastating) the sport can be. It also let them tear into the NFL and its continued prohibition of cannabis, arguably one of the most promising treatments for a number of football-related injuries. Cannabidiol (CBD), for example, can help protect and even heal the brain. That could be big in a league where 96 percent of players, according to a 2015 study, show signs of chronic traumatic brain injury. Medical marijuana could help manage the pain of chronic traumatic encephalopathy and even slow the disease’s progression. It could also be far safer to players than prescription painkillers and other dangerous drugs. Nevertheless, NFL players even in legal states face fines and other penalties if they test positive for cannabis.


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