Almost all states legalized medical marijuana. Recreational use is getting more accessible, too. Even professional athletes promote the use of weed as pain relief. Someone who doesn’t put their body under so much pressure doesn’t understand the pain that comes after each hard workout. But when you undertake such a challenge, you realize that the “no pain no gain” parole is just a cliche. You need a way to soothe your muscles and bones after straining them to their limits.

Researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder found that using cannabis shortly after exercise improves the recovery process. The participants reported that the option of combining cannabis and exercise increases their motivation to engage in a more demanding workout.

Let’s see: does weed help muscle recovery? Should everyone start using it after workouts?

Nov 28, 2020; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; TCU Horned Frogs quarterback Max Duggan (15) throws a pass during pre-game workouts, prior to a game against the Kansas Jayhawks at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

How Does the Marijuana Muscle Recovery Connection Work?

The compounds in weed have powerful effects for relieving pain, relaxing the muscles, and soothing inflammatory processes in the body. After a demanding workout, joint pain, muscle spasms, and soreness in specific body parts are common. These side effects may prevent you from returning to an intense workout. With proper dosage and use of cannabis, your body may recover faster. So will your motivation to return to your exercise routine.

Anti-inflammatory pharmaceuticals and steroids used to be the go-to relief for muscle soreness after strenuous exercise. But they come with significant side effects, and they aren’t recommended for long-term use. The use of weed after workout has a significant potential to recover your body, but doesn’t impose the risk of stomach pain, ulcers, and an affected immune system. Yes; weed may boost your appetite, cause dry eyes and mouth, and affect your senses. But those side effects are brief, and you can easily manage them with careful use and a limited dose.

Science proves it: the endocannabinoid system plays a significant role in the treatment of inflammatory disorders. Weed can help alleviate a great number of inflammatory conditions, including muscle inflammation after exercise. When activated, cannabinoid receptors have the power to suppress the body’s inflammatory response. With that, they alleviate pain to a significant degree.

Researchers mainly focus on the way that cannabis components affect specific medical conditions. But what about the cannabis fitness effects? No one is funding that research. We can’t say for sure whether the positive effects overcome the potential side effects.

This research area is relatively new, and we still lack strong evidence that would enable us to recommend weed to everyone who exercises. It’s true that irresponsible use of cannabis comes with significant side effects. That’s why it’s important to get informed and limit the dose to a degree that your system can handle.

Jan 11, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal shoots the ball during a workout prior to the Wizards’ game against the Phoenix Suns at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

How to Safely Use Cannabis as a Pain Relief after Strenuous Workouts

  1. Be Careful with Edibles

Edibles have a major advantage: you don’t smoke the weed, so it doesn’t have any negative effect on your lungs. Smoking marijuana irritates the lungs and throat, and long-term use may cause bronchitis. That would definitely affect your athletic performance. But edibles are not perfect, either. When you smoke weed, the effects immediately kick in, so you know when you’ve had enough. If you eat a THC-enhanced brownie, you may lose control over the dose. It takes some time for the effects to take place, so you can easily overdo it if you’re not experienced enough.

The fact that edibles don’t immediately alleviate muscle soreness is also important to consider.

If you opt for this form, you should start with a very low dose and be patient.

  1. You Don’t Have to Get High

If alleviating muscle soreness is your only goal, there’s no reason to rely on weed that’s high in THC. CBD-dominant products (with an insignificant concentration of THC) don’t have any psychoactive effects. Although this component doesn’t make you high, it still has beneficial therapeutic properties.

CBD oil will offer effective pain relief without any side effects. It won’t cause a mind-altering experience. It won’t disturb your lung capacity. Getting high on weed may affect your performance, since it will make you tired the next day. CBD products don’t carry such risks.

  1. Don’t Expect a Miracle

Yes; weed will alleviate symptoms of muscle soreness after a demanding workout. But the idea that you’ll feel better after you consume it shouldn’t make you surpass your physical limits. Do not push yourself too hard! The main rule of effective exercise is to slowly push over your body’s limitations. Start slow and boost the pace as you progress with more stamina and physical strength.

Marijuana is an effective remedy up to a certain degree, but you hold the responsibility to be kind to your body.

Should You Use Cannabis after Exercise?

The current status of research is not impressive. Cannabis is proven to have anti-inflammatory effects, but the research hasn’t been specifically directed to post-workout use. If you feel comfortable with the knowledge we have so far, you can try it. Limiting yourself to CBD products will prevent potential side effects.

written by Tia M., Editor and Contributor at AskGrowers