Summary: A study by the University of Colorado Boulder, published in the journal Sports Medicine, reveals that using cannabis before workouts can enhance motivation and enjoyment during exercise. The research, which involved 42 volunteer runners, found that cannabis, particularly THC products, may make exercise feel more effortful. The study aims to understand how legally available cannabis affects exercise experiences.
Cannabis Use Before Workouts: More Fun, Less Performance
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder, focused on the effects of cannabis on exercise. The findings, published on December 26, indicate that cannabis use before exercise increases positive mood and enjoyment, regardless of whether THC or CBD is used. However, THC products specifically may make the exercise feel more challenging.
The research involved 42 volunteer runners from the Boulder area, nearly a decade after Colorado legalized recreational marijuana. The study aimed to explore the relationship between cannabis use and exercise, challenging the stereotype that cannabis leads to a sedentary lifestyle. The researchers sought to determine if cannabis could be a tool to encourage physical activity.
Participants were assigned to use either a CBD-dominant or THC-dominant cannabis strain. They then underwent treadmill tests to assess their motivation, enjoyment, perceived effort, time perception, and pain levels during exercise. The study found that participants reported greater enjoyment and euphoria, known as “runner’s high,” when exercising after using cannabis. This effect was even more pronounced in the CBD group, suggesting that athletes might enjoy mood benefits without the impairment associated with THC.
However, the THC group reported that running felt significantly harder during the cannabis-influenced run compared to a sober run. This could be due to THC’s effect on increasing heart rate. A previous study by the same researchers showed that while runners enjoyed more under the influence of cannabis, their running pace was slower.
The study also highlighted potential health risks associated with regular cannabis use, such as an increased risk for coronary artery disease (CAD). A 2023 study presented at the American College of Cardiology’s Annual Scientific Session found a link between daily cannabis use and a higher risk of CAD.
Overall, the CU Boulder study suggests that while cannabis can make workouts more enjoyable, it is not a performance enhancer.
Why It Matters: This study is significant as it challenges common perceptions about cannabis use and physical activity. It suggests that cannabis could potentially be used as a tool to encourage exercise in a population struggling with sedentary lifestyles. However, it also highlights the need for caution due to potential health risks and the impact on exercise performance.
Potential Implications: The findings could influence how cannabis is perceived in the context of physical health and exercise. It may lead to further research on the benefits and risks of cannabis use in sports and fitness. Additionally, this study could inform public health messages and policies regarding cannabis use.
Source: Denver Gazette
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