Study Finds Marijuana Use Before Exercise Enhances Enjoyment and ‘Runner’s High’ but Increases Exertion Level

Cannabis consumption prior to exercise can lead to greater enjoyment and an enhanced “runner’s high,” according to a new study published in the journal Sports Medicine. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Colorado, found that using marijuana before exercising may result in increases in both positive and negative aspects of the experience. The findings held true regardless of whether participants used THC- or CBD-dominant products, although those who used CBD reported a greater sense of enjoyment and less of an increase in exertion.

Enhanced Experience with Cannabis Use

The study, which is the first to investigate the acute effects of commercially available cannabis on subjective responses to exercise in a laboratory environment, suggests that smoking or vaporizing cannabis flower before exercise may lead to increases in both positive and negative aspects of the exercise experience. Participants reported higher levels of positive mood states, such as enjoyment, when exercising under the influence of cannabis. The five-author team believes that this study is an important first step in a nascent field that has, until now, consisted primarily of cross-sectional surveys and studies examining the acute effects of cannabis on exercise and sports performance.

Study Methodology and Results

To conduct the study, researchers recruited participants from Boulder, Colorado, who had used cannabis while running or jogging in the past with no negative effects and were capable of performing 30 minutes of exercise. Participants were assigned to use either a THC-dominant product or a CBD-dominant product. They consumed the assigned product at home before being driven to the exercise facility, where they warmed up on a treadmill and spent 30 minutes exercising. Participants then completed a post-exercise questionnaire.

The study found that participants during the cannabis exercise activity reported more enjoyment during exercise, regardless of whether they used THC- or CBD-dominant products. Participants who used CBD reported a higher degree of difference in enjoyment compared to the non-cannabis workout. Additionally, cannabis use was associated with experiencing more runner’s high symptoms during exercise, with indications that those in the THC group experienced the effect more than those who used the CBD-dominant product. However, participants also reported significantly more exertion during their post-cannabis activity.

Limitations and Future Research

The study acknowledged that federal regulations and the prohibition of cannabis use in a laboratory setting placed limitations on the research. Additionally, the study sample consisted mostly of non-Hispanic White men between the ages of 21 and 40 years, limiting the generalizability of the findings. Future studies should make active efforts to recruit more diverse samples. Despite these limitations, this study adds to the growing body of research around marijuana and its effects on exercise.

Implications for Cannabis Use in Sports

The findings from this study align with previous research that has shown positive effects of cannabis use on exercise. Other studies have found that marijuana users report enjoying exercise more and are more likely to engage in physical activity. Sports medicine providers also generally have favorable views toward CBD and cannabis, supporting the legalization of marijuana for recreational and medical use. However, marijuana remains prohibited in competition by the World Anti-Doping Agency and many other professional and international sports organizations. Calls for reform have intensified, particularly after U.S. runner Sha’Carri Richardson was suspended from participating in Olympic events due to a positive THC test in 2021.

In conclusion, the study suggests that cannabis use prior to exercise can enhance the enjoyment and runner’s high experienced during physical activity. However, it is also associated with increased feelings of exertion. The study adds to the existing research on the effects of cannabis on exercise and highlights the need for further investigation in this area. As attitudes and regulations around cannabis continue to evolve, it is important for athletes, sports organizations, and policymakers to consider the potential benefits and risks associated with cannabis use in sports.

Original Story at – 2024-01-02 18:39:24

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