How Does Marijuana Affect Exercise?

A man riding a bike next to a marijuana shop
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For some athletes, marijuana is a crucial part of working out, as they say smoking weed helps them perform better during their routine. Lighting up some bud before hitting the gym may not be the best idea for others, however, as cannabis is known to cause temporary impairment of motor functions.

"Marijuana relaxes me and allows me to go into a controlled, meditational place," Colorado gym owner Clifford Drusinsky told Men's Journal about smoking weed before exercising. "When I get high, I train smarter and focus on form."

Read more: Should You Smoke Marijuana After a Workout? Weed May Help You Recover, Perform Better
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A growing pool of research indicates getting high on cannabis reduces anxiety, which could allow for some to experience a more natural aggression when exercising while high, Stanford Medical School professor Keith Humphreys explained to Outside Magazine last year. 

"We have cannabinoid receptors throughout our brains, and when the THC hits those receptors, it triggers a system that reduces anxiety," Humphreys told Outside's Gordy Megroz. "That you would feel more aggressive is a natural reaction to the drug."

However, many studies and what they claim to find contradict others in the scientific community. PBS reported from the National Institute of Drugs symptoms of marijuana could include "an alteration of heart rate. Use of marijuana may result in intense anxiety, panic attacks or paranoia."

As controlling one's beats per minute is a vital part of exercise, an altered heart rate could prove to be dangerous for those smoking weed before engaging in physical activity. Not to mention, nobody wants to be surrounded by sober gym attendees while in that terrible anxiety-ridden marijuana high.

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However, that doesn't discredit the many athletes and gym enthusiasts who report having better workouts while high on marijuana. It simply means getting stoned is a very unique experience for each smoker — even without lifting weights afterwards — and more research needs to be completed to determine the complete effects of weed on working out.