The rhythmic thud of my shoes on the treadmill blend together with the music drumming from my headphones. My mind darts between focusing on my breathing, and getting lost in watching the other folks in the gym go about their routines. It feels as though I’ve been on this treadmill for hours, when last time it felt like I was only there a few minutes before my thirty minute run and weight lifting sessions were already done. This time everything feels slow, like it’s taking ages for a few minutes to pass as I huff away on the machine. Unlike last time, I’m half-regretting getting a little stoned before my workout.

Since I was in college, I’ve heard so many different opinions about whether it’s a good idea to get high before sweating it out at the gym, and I’ve never been able to determine for myself whether it’s good or bad. My roommate in college would do it all the time and tell me how much he enjoyed it, and several friends have affirmed this view; meanwhile, I feel like each time I do it, it’s a gamble. Will I soar effortlessly through each set of weights and sail away on the treadmill, or be doomed to what feels like an endless workout session where my entire body feels like a cinder block? Fingers crossed it’s the former.

Although there is limited research to indicate that marijuana has biologically beneficial properties when it comes to exercise, it has always been a hot topic from body builders to casual joggers, all the way to professional athletes. Some swear by it, saying that its uplifting and energizing effects make it easier to focus for longer periods of time. Others claim that it is extremely useful when they need to relax after a workout/game, etc. Both of these are actual effects of marijuana, making it more believable that people can use these to their advantage.

On the flip side, there can be some problems with marijuana use before working out. There are some arguments that exercising while stoned can decrease the reaction time an athlete has to some sort of injury (think hurting a muscle from doing too many reps, etc.). Some caution that smoking/consuming beforehand can decrease balance and endurance. Again, these traits can and do align with the impacts of marijuana usage, so it is not surprising that these ideas stand against skepticism.

In the end, it seems as though the great debate over marijuana and exercise will rage on until there are more opportunities to study and gather data. Like anything else, it’s important to approach with logic, as well as a deep understanding of your own self and what your body can handle. The bottom line is, always put your body in a position where it can improve, whether that’s with or without marijuana.


What Happens When You Work Out High?

Weed and the Gym: Just the Science