Can Smoking Weed After Working Out Help or Hinder Your Fitness?
Should you be smoking weed after working out, or will it stunt your progress?
Photography by Georgia Love for Herb
Smoking weed after working out might not seem like it would have many benefits beyond winding down after a heavy session, but thanks to the blessed herb’s medicinal properties, cannabis actually has a lot to offer. For all those gym junkies and pavement-pounding runners out there, let’s take a look at how cannabis can benefit your post-workout regime.
Smoking Weed After Working Out Effects
The hours following any workout are critical to recovery. The typical post-workout routine is to rehydrate, eat and then most importantly, rest. One of the most obvious benefits of smoking weed after working out is helping you to relax, so you can give your body that much needed rest for the recovery stage.
The fabled “munchies” also help to make sure you eat after exercise. Many people don’t have an appetite immediately after working out, but skipping food in the two hours after exercise, can cost you a lot of the gains you made in the gym. Smoking weed after a workout will definitely ensure you refuel your body. What’s more, for those really trying to bulk up, weed can make that intensive high-calorie diet a breeze.
Delving beyond the obvious is where things get a little murkier. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the science of cannabis and exercise is still in its infancy. With much of the previous studies in this area focused on the negative effects, it’s only recently that scientists have begun exploring weed’s benefits with regards to working out. Even now, there aren’t many completed studies to draw from, and very few of them conducted on humans.
The science may be far from definitive, but we do have a good indication of what cannabis is good for in relation to exercise.
Cannabis and Muscle Recovery
Anyone knows that if you push yourself when you work out, you’re going to feel it in the morning. In fact, Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is a common consequence of exercise. That aching, stiff soreness that follows a good workout is caused by inflammation of your stressed muscles.
The most common treatment for DOMS is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or NSAIDS, such as Ibuprofen. However, chronic use of Ibuprofen carries its own risks. Impaired muscle protein synthesis, liver damage, and stomach ulcers are all associated with regular use.
Cannabis, on the other hand, is completely safe to consume, and its proven anti-inflammatory and pain-killing properties are exactly what is needed to alleviate the dreaded DOMS. With less post-workout pain, you can get back to the gym faster.
Does Smoking Weed After Working Out Affect Muscle Growth?
One of the biggest misnomers surrounding weed and exercise is that cannabis reduces testosterone levels, and is therefore detrimental to muscle growth. While it is true that cannabis lowers testosterone levels slightly, it also raises levels of the growth hormone somatotropin, and the stress hormone cortisol, both of which are beneficial to muscle growth and recovery. Weed’s effect on these hormones, however, is so minute that their levels never move beyond what is considered a normal range. You effectively break even.
It’s also important to stress that this information is based on the study of rats, but as far as we can deduce, cannabis does not have any real effect on muscle growth, positive or negative. That means bodybuilders have nothing to fear—it’s safe to smoke weed after working out.
Weed After Workout: Best Consumption Method?
With cannabis available in so many forms, you have plenty of options for including it in your recovery regimen. But what is the best way to consume cannabis post-workout? Flower, edibles, concentrates? Let’s take a look at each of them.
While edibles might seem like the tastiest option, the fact that they can be inconsistent and need hours to take effect means that they aren’t the best for post-workout. While cannabis oils taken sublingually are faster acting and more effective, the very best method is to vape cannabis flower. It should take effect after only a few minutes, and vaping flower as opposed to smoking it is better for your health.
If you don’t enjoy the high that THC delivers, make sure you check out a high-CBD strain like Harlequin. CBD is the non-intoxicating cousin of THC with all the same pain-killing and anti-inflammatory effects that you are looking for, but it won’t get you high.
Not a fan of smoking or vaping? Then there’s always other options. Why not try a cannabis topical cream that you can apply directly to aching joints and sore muscles? And, for those who like a good muscle relaxing soak after a heavy workout, CBD bath bombs might just be what you’re looking for. Why not give it a try and see how smoking weed after working out can benefit you.