The Effect Of Weed On Exercise: Is Marijuana A Performance-Enhancing Drug?

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As marijuana becomes more mainstream, with seven states preparing for legalization (hot on the heels of my home state of Washington, and also Colorado, Oregon, Alaska and Washington D.C.), an increasing number of athletes, including triathlete Clifford Drusinsky (a future podcast guest) and what seems to be nearly the entirety of the UFC, are now turning to a marijuana as a training aid for their running, swimming, cycling, lifting, fighting and more.

Since pot has long been known to alleviate pain, decrease nausea, and improve mood, it's no surprise to see marijuana legalization seemingly accompanied by a surge of use among both recreational and hardcore athletes who are facing multi-hour, grueling training regimens, and who are turning to versions of weed that don't harm the lungs, such as vaporizing, edibles and pot-based energy bars (recipe coming later in this article), and even 100% legal and highly absorbable CBD oil extracts.

Some athletes swear by using marijuana or its isolated active ingredients, such as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) as performance-enhancing drugs, saying these substances ease anxiety and increase pain threshold so that they can push themselves during workouts. Others say that smoking pot disintegrates their motivation to work out, and instead they find themselves munching Doritos while watching cartoons (a great way to decrease cortisol, but not an incredibly effective way to make big fitness gains).

Though marijuana (cannabis sativa) is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and the NCAA, its increasing legality has many wondering whether using marijuana will help or hinder our quests for optimum athletic performance and fat loss.

Do THC, CBD, or other ingredients in marijuana enhance athletic performance on a molecular level? In this article, Ben Greenfield and author Alyssa Siefert (a PhD in Biomedical Engineering) attempt to answer this question.

A few notes before we dive into the science – because only a few double-blind placebo-controlled human studies exist (the classification of cannabis as a Schedule 1 Drug by the DEA inhibits academic research), many of the purported effects of marijuana are extrapolated from rodent studies. So because there are significant differences between the endocannabinoid systems of rodents and humans (science geek-speak for “mice are not men”), certain findings from science are tough to extrapolate to actual people; you'll notice, as you read, that in many cases the science you read about elsewhere simply does not apply to humans.

Also, as you read, it is important to remember that cannabis exerts different effects depending on dose, gender, acute versus chronic use, and route of administration (smoking vs edibles vs. ingesting).

OK, caveats and clarifications aside, let's jump right in.


What Happens To Your Body When You Consume Marijuana.

Here in the USA, legislation defines marijuana as all parts of the cannabis sativa plant, which contains over 700 chemical compounds. The primary active ingredients are cannabinoids, including THC, which is responsible for psychoactive effects and is the most studied.

Peak blood concentrations of cannabinoids occur in 3-8 minutes after you inhale, as opposed to 60-90 minutes after you eat a weed- or oil-containing edible, with neural effects beginning after 20 minutes and maximizing within a range of 2-4 hours. Cannabinoids bind cannabinoid receptors (easy to remember, eh?) on neurons and peripheral cells, receptors which are normally engaged by natural endogenous substances (called endocannabinoids) that your body already makes, but that also can be bound by substances from exogenous (outside) sources.

THC binds cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1), mainly localized in the brain, while cannabinol (CBN) binds CB2, which exists mainly on immune cells. CBD binds neither receptor, but still affects numerous metabolic processes including appetite, pain sensation, immune function, stress reactivity, hormonal secretions, and muscle and fat tissue signaling.

The image below does a pretty good job visualizing this for you, and explaining the lock and key mechanism of receptors and substances that bind to those receptors.



Dosing: Real Life vs. Lab Studies

The effects of marijuana differ enormously depending on strain, as each type contains varying amounts of cannabinoids. A good resource to examine specific strains is Leafly, which is the Yelp of marijuana and extensively reviews cannabis components and makes recommendations based on mood and activities. Generally, because the majority of folks seem most interested in the psychoactive THC properties of weed, most marijuana strains have been developed over time to contain increasing amounts of psychoactive THC (up to 25% THC as shown on lab certificates and reported values of up to 35% THC) and lower amounts of other cannabinoids like CBD.

The “sweet spot” for mild psychoactivity is about 2-3 mg THC (with users reporting feelings similar to 1-2 alcoholic drinks), with significant and strong psychoactivity reported at 5 and 10 mg, respectively. As such, Colorado dispensaries have set THC units at 10 mg for edibles. So how does this translate for recreational users?

Some of our fellow PhD's calculated that the average joint contains slightly less than half a gram of marijuana (0.018 ounces), and 50-60% of cannabinoids like THC are absorbed into the bloodstream and bind receptors when smoking, with the rest lost to combustion and sidestream smoke. So depending on the strain, the total THC absorbed per hit could range from 1 mg to 15 mg. Eating marijuana in edibles or consuming it in oils actually decreases the amount of cannabinoids absorbed (10-20%), but the liver converts THC to 11-hydroxy-THC, which has more significant psychedelic effects and lasts about twice as long in the body.

Keep the above doses in mind as we review more marijuana studies below.


How Does Marijuana Affect Athletic Performance?

It is generally accepted that smoking or ingesting marijuana decreases reaction time, disrupts hand-eye coordination and perception, and divides attention, and these effects can last up to 36 hours after usage.

A double-blind flight simulation study assessing motor performance in licensed pilots “flying” through pre-specified (and practiced) holding patterns showed that smoking marijuana significantly increased major and minor errors, and led to larger average deviations from the assigned flight sequence, compared to those who smoked placebo cigarettes. Performance was adversely affected for at least two hours after smoking, returning to control levels six hours later. The dose used was 0.09 mg THC per kg, translating to 7-8 mg THC for an average American male, equivalent to 1-4 joint hits, depending on strain.

Just in case you were entertaining the adorable thought of mouse pilots, the study cited above was indeed a human study.


This cognitive impairment may be explained by differential blood flow in the brain. In one study, brains were imaged by Positron Emission Tomography (PET) to measure the acute effects of smoking marijuana. In the study, subjects performed auditory attention tasks before and after smoking pot.

After smoking, there was a substantial reduction of blood flow to the temporal lobe, an area important for focused tasks, and this reduced blood flow correlated with impaired performance. Interestingly, smoking marijuana increased blood flow in other brain regions, such as the frontal lobes and lateral cerebellum, regions associated with decision making, sensory perception, sexual behavior, and emotion. So it seems that the brain engages in significant blood flow shifting to specific areas under the influence of substances in marijuana.

Given these studies, one could conclude that smoking weed before a complex game, a task that requires very fast decision-making or reflexes, or a workout that incorporates new exercises could be a poor decision for peak performance. However, many studies supporting this logic use unrealistic doses (such as 100 mg THC), and behavioral studies suggest that only complicated tasks are impaired by marijuana, as a similar study with tasks of variable difficulty level showed that people are still able to perform simple tasks.

Therefore, an endurance athlete may benefit from the pain-numbing and bronchodilatory effects of marijuana to get through a tough training session, and a UFC fighter who is using THC in moderated doses could actually be able to experience a combination of pain-killing, creativity and focus. But including marijuana in high amounts – and especially meeting or exceeding doses of 100 mg THC – into a routine requiring complicated movements, an element of danger and teamwork, such as a Spartan Race or Tough Mudder, could be a recipe for disaster.


How Does Marijuana Affect Muscle Growth?

So let's say you decide to use marijuana before a boring or standard lifting session in which you know the movements like the back of your hand. Will weed inhibit muscle building? Despite a number of adamant bloggers insisting it will diminish your power output or amplify your gains, the answer actually remains unclear.

For example, because long-term use of marijuana downregulates the expression and responsiveness of the CB1 receptor, in a manner similar to frequent blood sugar swings leading to insulin resistance, some say that THC may impair muscle building by interrupting the mTOR signaling pathway, which is important for protein synthesis. Furthermore, an oft-referenced human study shows that marijuana inhibited secretion of Growth Hormone, which does indeed suggest inhibited muscle building. However, this study used a very high dose of 210 mg THC per day for 2 weeks (that's a boatload of weed), and while mTOR disruption by THC has been elegantly shown in the brains of rats, it has not been studied in human muscles; thus these deleterious effects on muscle synthesis are purely speculative.

Notably, the non-psychoactive component of marijuana, CBD, has been shown to regulate mTOR in a different way than THC, and CBD has been repeatedly shown to induce several health-promoting effects such as killing breast cancer cells, ameliorating epilepsy, and increasing cognitive performance in mice. Perhaps CBD counteracts the potentially detrimental effects of THC on muscle building. This would simply mean that the different components of marijuana could be helpful and harmful for muscle synthesis, and in practice, consumption of THC-rich strains would need to be accompanied by absorbable CBD oil to counteract any loss in muscle gain potential. Ultimately more focused muscle-building studies are needed on human athletes to make conclusions.

Ben, always the relentless self-experimenter (as we know from photos like the one below from his UConn study), has actually been experimenting extensively with CBD oil extracts in his training (combined both with and without THC-rich edibles) and will be reporting on the effects in detail soon. As a matter of fact, if you listen to podcast #314, you can hear Ben's thoughts on 10, 15, 20 oil-based THC doses and even a rather humorous 250mg (yes, 250) edible THC doses.

Snipping out my thigh muscles.


What Weed Does To Your Hormones

Because hormones are critically important for overall health and performance, it is important to understand how marijuana affects these systems. Numerous forums insist that marijuana induces unfavorable hormonal changes. For instance, marijuana has been shown to suppress the hypothalamic-pituitary axis (HPA) in rodents, but human studies suggest variable effects on the HPA axis. In both males and females, a realistic dose of THC (cigarettes containing 2.8% THC) immediately lowered Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and raised the dangerous stress-associated hormone cortisol, which may underly the paranoia some users experience. A recent study, one of the few with sufficient sample sizes, showed that the cortisol response to physiologically-relevant amounts of THC was blunted in chronic cannabis users; while plasma cortisol levels increased in a dose-dependent manner in both non-users and frequent users, frequent users showed less of a cortisol surge.

Many people believe that HPA suppression decreases the production of testosterone in men. Yet, the vast majority of testosterone in human males is produced by Leydig cells in the testes, with about 5% produced under the control of the HPA axis, so HPA suppression is unlikely to significantly alter the total amount of testosterone in humans. The hormonal effects of marijuana on women are complicated by natural hormonal fluctuations depending on menstrual cycle. A popular report posited that THC competes with estradiol to bind estrogen receptors and thus THC acts like estrogen; however, this was a rat study that may not translate to human biophysical interactions. Overall, surveying the literature found no definitive evidence that marijuana depresses sex hormones long-term.

Furthermore, chronic marijuana use may induce tolerance and reset HPA set-points such that any suppression of hormones returns to normal levels. Supporting this logic, the largest human study to date found no significant long-term hormonal changes in chronic marijuana users, and suggested that earlier studies involved insufficient sample sizes. Furthermore, a meta-analysis and human simulation study showed that male testosterone levels, while depressed immediately after marijuana use, returned to previous levels after 24 hours. Overall, based on the current evidence, it's very tough to believe that marijuana induces permanent, damaging hormonal changes in most people.


Does Weed Make You Fat?

As stoners seem to come in all shapes and sizes, it is unclear from mere observation whether weed leads to weight loss or gain. Perhaps counterintuitively, a 2013 adjusted epidemiological study showed that obesity rates are significantly lower for all groups of cannabis users (inclusive of gender and age) compared to those who had not used cannabis in the last 12 months. Although these findings have been replicated, the cross-sectional nature of this study precludes establishing causality; we cannot conclude that marijuana causes weight loss.

The lower Body Mass Index (BMI) of pot-smokers may be explained by an adaptive down-regulation of brain endocannabinoid signaling. While acute THC stimulates appetite, the repeated stimulation of CB1 receptors by THC decreases receptor expression and sensitivity, and long-term stimulation may result in antagonistic rather than agonistic triggering of CB1 receptors, which would dampen hunger signals.

Furthermore, CBD and another component of marijuana, tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), may reduce body weight, as animal models of obesity have shown THCV to increase metabolism of fat cells. But before you get excited that marijuana may burn fat, please realize that very few strains on the market have significant levels of THCV, so do your research (such as these four strains of skinny-pot that won't bring out the munchies). Another study found that regular cannabis consumers have fasting insulin levels 16% lower than non-consumers as well as 17% lower insulin resistance levels.

Therefore, research shows that marijuana does not directly contribute to fat gain, and properly harnessing its dose-dependent stimulation or suppression of appetite may enable muscle gains or fat loss. For example, biohacking bodybuilders (or others desiring a post-workout anabolic state) can increase post-workout protein intake for mass and muscle building by consuming THC (in a higher-than-usual dose) before big workouts, whole those pursuing fat loss and appetite control may actually suppress nighttime cravings by using smaller doses of THC on a more frequent basis.


A Personal Experience

After reading the article “How to Make Pot-Infused Energy Bars at Home“, in preparation for a self-report in this article, Ben actually made pot-infused energy bars (100% legal in his state), following this exact recipe for “No-Bake Toasted Coconut Energy Bars”. Be extremely careful to know how much you are consuming if you use a recipe like this. You may find this article helpful to make sure you do not overdose on THC like Ben did.

Ingredients are as follows:

-Ground weed (a little goes a long way – make sure you use a digital kitchen scale and know exactly what a “gram” of ground weed is if you don't want to repeat Ben's mistakes!)
-At least 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
-¼ cup butter or coconut butter
-2 cups of unsalted cashews
-1 cup of pitted dates
-Ground cinnamon
-Sea salt
-2/3 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut
-A brownie pan
-Parchment paper
-A food processor

With full credit to this article in Men's Journal, the instructions are as follows:

Step One
First, extract your THC. Grind a tablespoon of pot, whichever strain you want — sativas will keep you from wanting to stay on the couch (Ben found approximately 1.5g to be a sweet spot for him, close to 15mg THC) , but indicas will be better for relieving pain, if you’re aiming to go for a longer distance, so it’s up to you and what you’re used to (Ben noted that hybrid strains with a blend of indica and sativa are good for any kind of workout – particularly a strain called Lemon Haze). Then, in a crock-pot or a double boiler (or a regular sauce pan), on very low heat, cook 1 cup of oil with the ground herb. Stirring occasionally, every half hour or so, you should heat the oil and the pot together for at least 2 hours, if not 3. You can modify these measurements according to what you want to make, of course; do the math.

Step Two
Preheat your oven to 350° F. Spread 2/3 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut onto a baking sheet, and cook it for 5-6 minutes, until the coconut is golden.

Step Three
Put the coconut aside, and spread 2 cups of unsalted cashews onto the baking sheet. Cook those for another 5-6 minutes, until fragrant.

Step Four
In a food processor, mix the coconut, the cashews, 1 cup of pitted dates, a healthy amount of cinnamon, and a tiny amount of sea salt. Pulse until the mixture is crumb-like.

Step Five

Add ¼ cup of unsalted butter (you can also use coconut butter, if you’re lucky enough to find it) and 2 tablespoons of your THC-infused coconut oil. Pulse until the mixture starts to clump. If it looks too dry, go ahead and add a little more butter. (Or more coconut oil, if you’re feeling optimistic.)

Step Six
In a brownie pan (8 by 8 inches should do the trick), dab some oil and lay down a sheet of parchment paper. Make sure the paper sticks to the sides. Then pour out your mixture into the pan, smooth it out, and stick the whole thing in the freezer for 15-20 minutes.

Step Seven
Slice them up and eat one (Ben found about 45-60 minutes prior to a workout is a sweet-spot). Or put one in your gym bag for later. Makes 8-16 bars, depending on your tolerance.

Seems like a lot of work to go through for experimenting with whether weed works for your workout? If so, you can use a small portable vaporizer, an oil-based vaporizer, or you can get more targeted microdoses of THC in oils or lozenges, which generally have about 10 mg THC per serving, but can be microdosed, split into smaller pieces, etc, for doses as low as 1-5 mg THC, or even consumed in their non psycho-active (and legal in all 50 states) CBD capsule or oil version.



So now that we've thrown a bunch of science at you, are you thinking that marijuana is an asset or an obstacle to burning fat, building muscle, and performing at your best? Like any other tea, herb, powder, oil, capsule or supplement, its utility depends on your unique physiology and how you use it. If you read the article above carefully, you'll notice many practical tips from Ben about what has seemed to work for him with the moderated doses of both THC and CBD he has been experimenting with.

While marijuana often has anxiolytic effect that can aid sleep and thus enhance recovery, some people (often those hard-charging overachievers with high cortisol) find it antithetical to their goal of finding inner peace. So once again, it is crucial to find the dose that complements your hormonal baselines to promote feelings of well-being, rather than paranoia, and combining smaller amounts of THC with ample amounts of CBD can be a good way to achieve this sleep and recovery goal.

Ultimately, it appears from science that most of the beneficial effects of weed are derived from CBD and THCV, and as Ben discussed in this controversial podcast on The Science Of Weed, CBD has been shown to have therapeutic activity in a number of inflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases, even in children. Unfortunately, if you live in a state or area where weed is not legal, most of the marijuana you get from the guy across town contains high levels of THC and little or no CBD, and the data is fairly conclusive that THC impairs cognitive and motor performance.

So when it comes to exercise and physical activity, we wouldn’t recommend smoking up before a complicated event requiring fine motor skills or people depending on you, such as a team Tough Mudder, a doubles tennis match, a basketball game, ballroom dancing, or lifting ungodly amounts of weight over your head, but you probably don't need to worry too much about taking a pre-lift or pre-run toke or edible if you have normal cortisol levels and you find your motivation and performance remains intact or improves.

If you’re interested and within the bounds of legality, we'd advise performing an n=1 experiment to determine if marijuana increases or decreases your levels of stress, motivation, and appetite, and then rationally use it to aid your training and recovery plans accordingly. Let us know how it goes, and leave your questions, comments and feedback below!

Click here if you want to try 100% legal and highly absorbable CBD Oil Extract.

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Ask Ben a Podcast Question

83 thoughts on “The Effect Of Weed On Exercise: Is Marijuana A Performance-Enhancing Drug?

  1. Lucas Watkin says:

    Athletes do use marijuana to enhance their performance . Also it helps them in recovering from any sports injury reducing the waiting period.

  2. Mark says:

    Yep, it will make running feel easier and increase your tolerance to pain. It will be helping, not hurting you.

  3. Dan Collins says:

    I’ve heard a lot about athletes using marijuana to enhance their performance but I still haven’t found any article or any study that has proven it. I am hoping for a positive result though.

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  7. Mary says:

    I am a recreational triathlete who suffers from pretty high anxiety in T2. The run freaks me out to the point where I can predict various cramps that occur due to this added stress. This is starting to get old. Add in all the new chatter about hydration being a myth to cramping and I am thinking about hanging it up.

    1. Here are a couple resources that you might find helpful: and

  8. I think it depends on the strain of cannabis whether it can significantly affect exercise.

  9. Aaron says:

    There are a lot of body builders, MMA fighters and WWE wrestlers that openly use it as a pain reliever. Many claim it allows them to push their body’s to the limit and then still be able to relax when done for the day.

  10. webwisdom says:

    Restaurant in Maine Is Sedating Lobsters With Marijuana Before Cooking Them

  11. Jared says:

    Hi Ben,

    Any suggestions for dealing with the munchies? I am doing roughly a 14-16h IF with keto. I am fine not eating until lunch but I cannot stop eating everything in my house at night if I have smoked. I have not been able to control my eating well if THC is in my life. Do I just lack self control and should abstain if I can’t deal with it?

    Interestingly, I find the vape pens to be less hunger provoking than flower, but they seem to be missing the full body relaxation. I am not in a state where a wide variety is available.

    Additionally, myself and a friend of mine have found that too much THC actually makes lower body pain seem more pronounced vs. the desired analgesic qualities.


    1. matt says:

      Hi — as someone who studies this pretty extensively — you are going to want to look into a sativa or sativa dominant hybrid that is high in THC-V. (It is actually an appetite suppressant) If you do not have access to specific strains, get a dry herb vaporizer, or rent one, and smoke at 365 degrees Fahrenheit so that you are not burning any of the couchiness stuff.

      Best, ya fellow motivated stoner

  12. Peter Wagner says:

    Marijuana is probably not going to lead to improvements if you continue taking the conventional approach to health and fitness. Taking the Omega Iota approach (greatest value – least effort), however, where muscle relaxation is the objective, and movement is guided by feel alone, it becomes very beneficial.

  13. Robbie Pike says:


    I recently stopped using cannabis, been a heavy user since the age of 16, now 39. 100 MG edible was nothing for me. I’m an ultra runner and always trained with around 30 to 50 MG of edibles 6 days a week on average. I would also smoke after training or during. My question is it’s been 28 days now and my HRV is tanking daily. I have kept the same training cycle as always, resistance train in the morning and run after work around 4 PM. My elite HRV score is averaging 6 (Sympathetic) in the last week. After stopping cannabis my score jumped up to 8 to 10 for around 3 weeks. My hormones are finally back to normal and my depression and anxiety is finally going away. Overall I feel so much better without cannabis, I know I was abusing it for many years! I have also noticed my HR is slightly higher when running, I try to stay in zone 2 most of the time. Do you think my stopping cannabis is affecting my HRV and HR?

    1. You never know what cannabis is laced with – often metals, toxins, herbicides, pesticides, etc. I would get really good, high quality organic green and see what happens… long story short though, I'm not a doctor and do not prescribe or make medical recommendations!

      1. LayOffTheDope says:

        The guy just said he had QUIT USING, and you are telling him to get high quality organic greens??? I thought the article was actually pretty informative, but this comment of yours is just way off base. I’m in no way anti-pot, but I do think that not using is going to be healthier than using if you have no medical need for it. BTW, who is “lacing” their supply with metals, toxins, etc??

  14. Smoky McPot says:

    I have been a heavy chronic user for a while now bout 8-9 years. I personally enjoy getting high before working out. I’m not talking about blitzed out of my mind, but not a micro dose either. I’ve found when mixed with preworkout I’m able to crank out 12 reps on weight that I normally do 8-10 without even really noticing. The preworkout gives your muscles that pump and the high keeps you from thinking of the weight.

  15. Kevin Bryce says:

    Great post. Very interesting to hear about the different factors that come into play with weed addiction. I actually struggled with weed for over 5 years and although there are some great points in this article about the amazing things that weed can do, it became a burden in my life to many degrees and I ended up quitting in 2016. I actually help people stop smoking weed now. Here’s my blog for anyone that is trying to quit.

    Good to know that I was probably ingesting too much THC at the time. Maybe if I had laid off a little bit, things would have been easier for me!

  16. Thomas Karol says:

    Hello my name is Thomas Karol , my husband was suffering from liver cancer, and the doctor’s told me that there is nothing they could do to save my beloved husband life. Then a friend told me about hemp oil , i told her that my husband liver cancer was in the last stage that i don’t think the hemp oil will be able to help, and she persuaded me to try, for the love of my husband, i decided to give it a try. I did some research and i found a doctor who helped me with the cannabis oil to cure my husband liver cancer and he assured me that after 3 months the liver cancer will be gone, and For the past one year my husband is perfectly okay and he is free from cancer, if you know any one who is suffering from cancer you can save his/her life by contacting Dr. Brown Nelson via his email : ([email protected]) it worked exactly as the doctor prescribed. Thanks to Dr. Brown Nelson for taking away sorrow in my life. God will bless Dr. Brown Nelson for helping me with cannabis oil and for his support and care, i will keep on help you to fight cancer in the World, all i have to say is THANK YOU LORD.

  17. Paul says:

    Hi Ben – Just wanted to say thanks for the great article and inspiration. I am an avid tennis player and have done a little experimenting with pot and playing recently. I became interested a few years ago when I noticed the “1.5 beer syndrome” in my social tennis events – my mind relaxes and lets my body do what it knows how to do without interfering and I played MUCH better for a short period of time. I am trying to figure out a CBD centered recipe that will give me this mental relaxation effect that lasts longer and with minimal psychoactive effects. I live in Denver so have access to all kinds of strains and delivery methods. Please let me know if you have any ideas or suggestions, I plan to hang around your site a lot!

    1. I am really a fan of Nature CBD for all the reasons you cited –

  18. missyadams says:


    so long story short, I have been smoking weed since I was 16.

    in 2013 I weighed 15 stone/ 2017 I weigh 10 stone

    I like to get high and run or train.

    I have some ab muscle problems, that I found out about recently, im waiting on my gp getting my a proper appointment. my heart rate (bpm) have been crazy last few days when I smoke weed.

    super high or super low.

    so my question is this,

    how does weed effect, the heart and ab muscles?

    thank you

    Miss Adams

  19. Heather says:

    Wow, so much to glean from this article! I’ve definitely heard of the benefits of CBD for athletes and sports-related injuries, but THC seems to be more harm than good for performance. Thanks for sharing!

  20. ebrunner says:

    Do you know any other high THCV strains besides the four mentioned in the Leafly article? Those are hard to find in my area.

    Also, what are your experiences with various CBD/THC ratios, i.e. how does 1:1 (or 4:1 or 18:1) differ from a typical high-THC strain?

    1. I'd honestly go with any of the ones listed here –… – although your local shop can often point out some good local strains for you. I personally like a 4:1 THC:CBD ratio…but preferences vary…

  21. Veronica says:

    Very insightful article.

    I have been working at home for the past year but with no particular goal, just to stay in my best shape. I’m a light user I could say, 10 gr for at least two months, just for recreational purposes.

    I do find my motivation lacking every now and then, specially on hitt intensive days. And i find a few hits before the work out make it so much easier, not only because the time distortion effect, but I just doesn’t feel so strenuous.

    The only thing i would change its that i would prefer vaping it than smoking, since smoking it’s simply bad for breathing performance.

  22. Gigi says:

    My gym recently closed​ so I decided to just start working out at home until I found a new gym. I’m not really into cardio..I’ll do 30 minutes twice a week. But lifting, I love it. I tried smoking a little before my workout and I killed it. I mean not like I’d smoke on a Friday night more like 4 good hits. Well, 45 minutes flew by, I felt less muscle fatigue, and after the DVD ended did some more bodyweight exercises. Sometimes now after I smoke at night I get the urge to exercise even though I worked out earlier. I wouldn’t recommend getting baked and lifting heavy but just a little makes it even more enjoyable for me and I can still feel in control.

  23. Sergeant M says:

    After workout I think it’s better.

    If I smoke before, I lose my Will to train.

    Helps me with the soreness big time.

    As for the sex part, I noticed that smoking a joint 30-45 minutes before increases the time of it.

    By at least 20%.

    Tested it a few times.

    Maybe you’re not so creative but you get good benefits.

    Thank you for your article.

  24. Lugger says:

    Really impressed by this article. Keep up the good work!

    Anecdotally, I started working out again about 3 months ago. I’m in my early 40’s and used to work out in my 20’s. This time around, though, I’m a daily weed user, although less than 1/2 gram of Sativa per day.

    I never workout high, but am amazed at how quickly I’ve been recovering from my really tough weight training workouts. Some of these workouts used to leave me so sore I couldn’t move for days, and unable to get back to the gym for a week. That doesn’t happen at all now. So I’m guessing that the anti-inflammatory and muscle-relaxing qualities of the weed are the culprits. Possibly also better quality sleep.

  25. Leo says:

    do you know what supplements or strategies i could use to accelerate detox from cannabis?

    1. I'd do a full cell detox like I talk about here (and stay tuned for a big detox challenge this January! I'll announce soon!):…

  26. Muhammed says:

    hey ben, if i goto heaven(unlikely) i will safe u a spot up there ty 4 the article!

    i used weed regularly about twice a week for the last years.

    i stopped using completely after i found out about the testosterone decrease(a month ago) do you have new information about cbd and testosterone? i cant risk 1% of my athletic ability as I fight and cant allow my opponents to knock me out.

    also do u know whether kratom has negative influences(seldom use on friday night past training so id b sober until monday)

    1. CBD doesn't seem to have the same deleterious effect on testosterone as THC, so if anything, focus more on high CBD strains or just pure CBD like NatureCBD and you'll have fewer concerns. I'd also look into Aggressive Strength:…

  27. iDWeeds says:

    Have you tried CBD from cannabis and compared it to CBD from hemp? Is there a big difference?

    1. Cannabis has more THC and can be more psychoactive, but the relaxation, antiiflammatory benefits, etc. are the same between the two. If from organic hemp it could actually be HEALTHIER.

  28. Trina says:

    I smoke weed before using a treadmill and have found increased endurance, decreased pain, increased focus and enjoyment, and increased stamina.

  29. Great post to read. It is an interesting article. I loved reading it. Thanks for putting it all together. I always read your blogs and trust your products.

    Intake of marijuana will definitely enhance your performance. You must intake it in limited dosage. i have experienced this in my personal life as well.

  30. Mike says:

    So, I ended up here by chance after googling fitness pot information for my fitness-nut brother. I’m not huge into fitness, but I do work out about 3 days a week to try and maintain personal health, and I like to partake in the green goddess a few times a month on average. I’m really only commenting to say thank you. It’s rare to find an article so high up in search engine results that isn’t remarkably biased towards one side or the other, and you’ve really presented a great set of information without giving me the impression that you want to influence my opinion outside of your findings. So, yeah, thank you for being honest and factual!

  31. alex rosealnd says:

    It’s nice to read an article based on science, instead of just hearing somebody say “I toke up and I can still run just fine”

    1. Trevor says:

      I toke all the time and just ran 15.3 miles in 2:03 no big deal ya know? I was feeling sick and nauseous afterwards. I tried to eat and no go. I smoked, afterwards I was able to eat a bowl of chili and drink all the water I needed.

  32. JP says:

    What about the cardiovascular effects? THC increases heart rate by 20+ percent. If you are training by heart rate zones, then your training zones will be affected by administration of THC. So, the question is, how does one adjust training zones after administration? Run slower? Create a “THC Training Heart Rate Zone” that is 10 BPM higher? Pay attention to perceived effort vs heart rate? Cardiac dangers of aerobic activity while dosed? Love to hear your thoughts Ben.

    1. You have to take a LOT of THC to get your HR up that high. At dosages of 5-15mg I have had no increase in HR like that. Otherwise you would need to adjust your training zones accordingly but if you're using that much THC to make that a necessity you may be using too much!

  33. montez says:

    Ok i use to smoke everyday and my muscle tone is still like a young 20 year old i am mid 30s. Originally I took it as good genes. Now i smoke 3 to 4 times a month especially after leg workout. Let me tell you i be extra high but i cant feel my legs. I stretch no problem run through the pain and heals me up way faster. I really believe the effects on my body was wonderful my brain is still cloudy 20 hours later i was goofy but i stayed at home and went to sleep. Wish i knew how to use it strictly for my body and leave my head alone.

    1. "Wish i knew how to use it strictly for my body and leave my head alone."…and that, my friend, is why CBD exists…

    2. Mc42 says:

      As a former d2 athlete I can say that my maxes have dropped only 20 percent, but I’ve also lost 30 lbs and definitely body fat percentage. Marijuanna definitely is great for muscle retention as I haven’t lifted in 3 years. I still have a lot of fast twitch fibers if not more. Smoked all day everyday the whole time. Did not smoke during my build up.

  34. narc781 says:

    This is from personal experience but I feel like it's definitely a performance enhancer if you indulge prior to a workout. I haven't found myself getting tired more but rather the exercise ends up suppressing some of the psychotropic effects but pain tolerance is higher leading to squeezing out that extra rep or 2. I've gone running after smoking MJ and could run for much longer before cramping up and running out of breath. One thing is that the psychotropic effect comes kicking in once I'm done whatever workout I'm doing, giving me a euphoric feeling post workout which I've come to assume that may be endorphins and the weed just piggybacking off each other.

  35. Michael Beyer says:

    Never any mention of pregnenolone in any of these pages that purport to know about hormones and pot. Why? It’s important, agreed?

    1. Here is an interesting anecdote for you from:…

      In order to induce its psychoactive effect, THC must interact with so-called CB1 cannabinoid receptors located in the brain’s neurons. The compound will bind with these receptors and interrupt their usual business. When the receptors become overstimulated, they fail to perform their assigned tasks, and the user begins to experience cognitive restrictions like memory loss and lack of motivation.

      What Piazza, Marsicano, and their colleagues have shown is that pregnenolone antagonizes this effect by binding to the exact same site, effectively crowding out the psychoactive compounds. As the surge in production only occurs in response to very high levels of THC, the researchers theorize that the hormone is the active component in a biological defense mechanism. Essentially, pregnenolone “caps” a marijuana user’s response to the drug.

      To test their hypothesis, the team designed an experiment with mice. When subjects were administered both THC and pregnenolone, the behavioral effects otherwise associated with the drug were moderated. Subsequent experimentation with human cell cultures yielded similar results.

  36. Markgeorgiou2 says:

    Ok I've read through it (roughly) and t sort of told me what I wanted to know, so great work there. But I just want a simple yes or no to my answer. Will smoking weed or eating cannabis food of another, just being high in general affect fitness in terms of running. Say for instance if I'm training for a marathon, will i be working against the grain or will it be generally be helping me. Plus say I have a fitness test coming up, if I don't feel I'm that ready for it, would the pain numbing as a result of smoking weed help me in anyway?

    1. Yes, it will make running feel easier and increase your tolerance to pain. It will be helping, not hurting you. I wouldn't smoke it though. I would go with edible or the stuff

  37. wendybolt says:

    It's still a drug!!! Does not matter if it is THC or CBD or BVD's It is still a drug! You should not be using drugs period, especially psychotropic ones, whether legal, illegal or pharma. By the way, marijuana is illegal per federal law, regardless of what the states do. It's immoral too regardless of any laws. You won't get into heaven loaded! Haha! I note this article completely ignores some of the bad effects of pot including brain damage, memory loss, DNA damage, etc. And in some susceptible folks, it cause a full on psychotic break from reality. Not nice. So here is my advice to all: Just say no to drugs! In fact, say Oh, Hell, no! I am here to tell you that there are nondrug methods that are safe and effective for pain relief. Having done drugs in the 70's, I much prefer the nondrug methods. Why? No side effects!

    1. jason says:

      Shut up wendybolt

      you sound like an ideal candidate for an enema.

      well actually several

      all thought and no experience by the sounds of it

      what are you saying

      God is wrong?

      morals hahahahaha

      What have morals got to do with it?

      Those that choose to work with nature are morally, spiritually & in some cases scientifically more advanced in my opinion then those such as your self who clearly need to toke up a few in order to dissolve your preconceived, externally programmed responses.

      Weed like most things has the potential for good and bad, if I offered you a handful of sugar or a handful of heroin no doubt you’d say sugar is not as harmful ,,, guess again.

      things are not what they seem but you’ll need to work things out for your self instead of talking fish jelly gibberish to people with the courage to make up their own minds

    2. Jacob says:

      I am a passerby who just wanted some information because I have been using cannabinoids before and after work outs (mostly after, occasionally before) for about 2 months now and wanted to know if my marijuana usage was the reason for my amazing results. I started smoking weed daily about 5 months ago after being an occasional user for the past 2 years. I started working out and getting back in my routine after a somewhat lazy first few months of smoking. So I got back in the gym and I have made little changes to my lifestyle choices and this is the first time ive been in a routine and been using marijuana daily. And my results have been substantial. I never considered it until today, I began to be my suspicious that my marijuana usage was aiding in my rapid increase in muscle mass and fat loss. Initially I wasn’t going to leave a comment, I was just going to take the information and go… until I saw wendybolt say this ignorant garbage. Let me hit you with some serious knowledge wendybolt.

      If you believe that god doesn’t send people to heaven purely on the fact that they consumed a plant that he put on this planet… you are an idiot.

      If I’m not mistaken if I am forgiven for my “sins” I would still be able to make it to this “heaven” you speak of.

      And your argument on the illegality of the use of marijuana being paired with the path to heaven is blasphemy. Your religion (I’m assuming Christianity; however this also applies to all monotheistic beliefs) originated thousands of years before marijuana was deemed illegal by the US government. So you are telling me all of those people who consumed anything before it was illegalized by our government didn’t go to heaven?

      Also that would be including yourself not going to heaven because you also did drugs deemed illegal.

      I know I used some big words but I hope you can now see how dumb you look. If you would like to continue this debate… please by all means, proceed.

    3. Soeren says:

      It absolutely cracks me up, to be reminded that people like you are actually out there, in plenty. You live in a bubble in your own world. Please get out of it

    4. blogmazter1 says:

      Had to 'lol' at DNA Damage. What an ignorant fuck you are 'wendybolt'.

    5. Trevor says:

      Woman. Smoking weed has brought me into reality. There is no god. Your religion is much more likely to cause a full on psychotic break from reality. Go watch that and tell me there people aren’t batshit crazy.

    6. noah says:

      Find 1 place in the bible were it says cannabis is a sin to consume, and i wont call you names on the internet….

    7. Bretton says:

      Wendy, because the word “DRUGS” is such a blanketed statement for psychotropic, psychosomatic, or non such substances, it is unfair to categorize marijuana as you are stating. You clearly are unaware, and despite legality issues, our biggest drug (which is FULLY legal) is alcohol. Not that I’m comparing, but drugs can also be in the form of sugar, white flour, bad relationships, etc. I had a very depressing two years due to a business loss. I gained 50 pounds (at 5’7″), and found myself with all kinds of aches and pains and unable to find the motivation or ambition to lose it, and get back to good health. A friend recommended marijuana before I went to the gym, and I thought it was ridiculous. I’ve been doing it now for about 9 months, lost 40 pounds, feel way more positive, and now I don’t need to do a “drug” before I go to the gym, because I’m feeling my old self again. For me, it was a life saver! And I used that drug as a tool. When people like you are judging and saying that you “did drugs” in the 70’s, it comes across as a very uneducated and diminutive response to people that need help. Marijuana is excellent for inflammation, and yes, there are other non drug methods. But, herbs and supplements are drugs also, just not classified as such due to our government who makes money out of condemning or condoning substances, so do your research before you preach. And how in the NAME OF GOD do you know if you’ll get into heaven, are you GOD’s personal assistant? YOU know NOTHING and perhaps you need a big fatty so you can understand yourself better and gain some introspection before you embarrass yourself further. God Speed.

  38. dennis says:

    My N=1 experience was it made me feel I was working out better, coming up with new exciting routines, made working out fun. Gradually build up a tolerance and spent more time doing pot than working out. It wasn’t as much fun to workout if I wasn’t stoned, or watch TV, listen or play music. Lost a lot of gain that could of been.

    I believe it takes more than it gives, deceptive verses applying focused attention and discipline, for genuine results. Its popular and appealing for the short term, but not worth the ditraction. Watch carefully your results, without justifications.

    Also I thought your podcast on the phenibit was discouraging. I hope to see better content in the future.

  39. cristobalfarm says:

    Thanks for all the science you have provided, but I need to take it back to the basics. I am a recreational triathlete who suffers from pretty high anxiety in T2. The run freaks me out to the point where I can predict various cramps that occur due to this added stress. This is starting to get old. Add in all the new chatter about hydration being a myth to cramping and I am thinking about hanging it up. After listening to your podcast on hydration, I began questioning this idea of racing under the influence, SOLEY to curb the anx I am experiencing. I am going to try it in training soon, thanks for pushing the envelop man. And always…..stay a beast!

  40. Patrick says:

    Interesting read. Thanks for putting it all together.

    In my n=1 experimentation, I feel like the typical black-market products boost a lot of markers of recovery efficacy, if only on the psychological level. The use of marijuana allows me to eat the blander foods with more enjoyment, allows me to get to sleep closer to 7-8pm (I usually go to bed around 10) which definitely leads me to getting more sleep, and, perhaps most importantly, makes it “okay” in my mind to suffer a quiet night at home rather than going out to drinking alcohol and eat fried foods with my less-athletic friends.

    Also, as an introvert, I see marijuana use as a way to become “super introvert” in the sense that I feel like it super-charges the relaxation process that leads to mental energy recovery. One evening a week of toking up and relaxing will generally carry me for an entire week of daytime and nighttime activity, whereas otherwise I would really crave that quiet time after 3-4 days without it.

    I cannot speak to the biochemical affects of pot use, but psychologically I have found it a much more athletically-minded alternative to alcohol consumption in that it actually improves certain controllable recovery markers limited only to “force of will.” The down side, as I see it, is its ease of access. It’s a lot easier to consume intoxicating doses of marijuana than it is of alcohol, so the justification of usage is all the more prevalent. Certainly fewer around-the-house chores get done on marijuana and the idea of a long run, no matter how boring, pretty far eclipses my confidence that I could pull it off on THC. I can barely reheat dinner on the stuff…

    1. travis shahan says:

      Hey yo ben! I always trust the products you put out there. I’m assuming that you’ve used the biocbdplus that you link to. My question is how does this high cbd HEMP product measure up to a high cbd strain from a CANNABIS plant? Thanks

      1. Because of the turmeric they use in that BioCBD stuff it is even BETTER for sleep, inflammation, etc. compared to a high CBD strain EXCEPT there is no psychoactive component whatsoever, because even a high CBD strain from a Cannabis plant will have some THC.

    2. Quick tip: only use 5-15mg THC and take it 30 minutes prior to your run so it hits you while you're already working out. Sounds like you're using too much perhaps…

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