If you frequent online communities for active adults and athletes, you may have seen people discuss using cannabis or CBD products as part of their exercise routine. Now, we have some research that explores why and how people like it.
A new study from American researchers has examined the ways sporty people use cannabis. It included 231 participants (82% men and 18% women) who filled out an online survey that ran from September 2020. Forty-five per cent of the participants described themselves as “competitive athletes” while the remainder were “recreational exercisers.” Both groups used cannabis in relation to their sport of choice (which ranged from team sports to endurance training).
Forty-four per cent of participants used cannabis before and after exercise, 30% only used it before exercise, and 36% only used it after exercise. Of the people who used it before, 45% used it for psychological reasons and 14% for physiological reasons. In the “people that used cannabis after exercise” group, 36% used it for psychological reasons, and 28% used it for rehabilitative purposes. The majority of participants also used THC (74%) instead of CBD (11%) or both THC and CBD (15%).
To give you an idea of the frequency of cannabis use by participants, it’s worth noting that 84% of participants exercised at least three days a week for 45+ minutes.
So what does this data tell us about CBD and exercise? In the conclusion of the study, researchers wrote the following:
It appears most active individuals believe that cannabis and CBD can improve the psychological aspects of exercise and assist with recovery from exercise.
And though they suggest that more research is needed to understand how athletes use cannabis in relation to exercise, the results line up with similar studies that show athletes benefit from using cannabis to recover and to handle chronic pain. An estimated 45.9% of MMA fighters also currently use cannabis for recreational and recovery purposes.
If you’d like to read the full study yourself, you can find it in Volume 14, Issue 1 of the International Journal of Exercise: Conference Proceedings.