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When 21-year-old Sarah Claremont1 goes to work out at her Chicago gym, she almost always uses cannabis before slipping on her sneakers. “It helps me with my stamina,” she says in an interview. “And it helps with my focus because sometimes my mind can be all over the place due to my ADHD.”

Sarah explains how smoking a few bowls of cannabis caused her to “not even think about working out, not obsess over it…and not think about how exhausted I am.”

While there aren’t any verifiable stats on those who work out and use cannabis, anecdotal evidence suggests Sarah isn’t alone. Countless articles and blog posts online share the stories of gym lovers who enjoy consuming cannabis prior to hitting the exercise bikes or weight machines.

And doctors are taking notice. “If you’re running on a treadmill, cannabis can make it more enjoyable—which can actually make you more motivated to run for longer, and to run more in the future,” says2 Jordan Tishler, a leading cannabis therapeutics specialist.

Tishler also notes how newbies to working out could find cannabis to be useful for overcoming any beginner’s anxiety. “If you’re more of a weekend warrior or trying to get into a new sport like running, cannabis can help you to overcome the discomfort of making the effort.”

Some trainers, such as San Francisco-based Zach Scioli, advise understanding which strain could be right for you before mixing cannabis and workouts. “When I use sativa strains, it’s too much for me. I’m hyper-accelerated," he told Esquire3. “Indica strains, specifically of Afghani origins, tend to be extremely mentally therapeutic and beneficial.”

Gym owners are also taking notice of how fitness-friendly folks are turning to cannabis. New gyms have been cropping up in U.S. states where cannabis is legal, such as in California, where Power Plant Fitness dubs itself “The World’s First Cannabis Gym.” Slated to open soon, the gym4 will advise clients who join that they can complete a cannabis performance assessment, which means staff will analyze clients during a sober workout and a workout after using cannabis.

Finally, it should be noted that CBD has been studied to better gauge its therapeutic uses for exercise lovers, and a 2018 study5 found that CBD can be an effective way to relieve the inflammation and pain caused by exercise.

Dr. Alan Beyer, sports medicine doctor and executive medical director of the Hoag Orthopedic Institute in California, told media that CBD could be a promising substitute for drugs such as Ibuprofen, which can cause kidney damage, to relieve pain from exercise-related injuries.

Sarah says there might still be a stigma in some communities on combining cannabis use and a gym visit. “When I first did this, I might have gotten a few funny looks at first, because I smelled a bit like cannabis, but now I don’t care.”

  1. Name has been changed at the request of the interviewee
  2. https://www.esquire.com/lifestyle/health/a14426770/marijuana-workout-tips-benefits/
  3. https://www.esquire.com/lifestyle/health/a14426770/marijuana-workout-tips-benefits/
  4. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/03/17/california-gym-welcome-marijuana-use-during-workouts/99219302/
  5. https://www.bustle.com/p/using-cbd-while-working-out-can-help-you-recover-quicker-heres-what-else-you-need-to-know-10175281

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