A recent study at University of Colorado Boulder revealed that approximately 80 percent of adult cannabis consumers endorse using cannabis products before and/or after exercising.
The study surveyed over 600 adult users in states with full legal cannabis access to examine attitudes and behaviors about use when engaging in physical activity.
“There is a stereotype that cannabis use leads people to be lazy and couch-locked and not physically active, but these data suggest that this is not the case,” said Angela Bryan, the study’s senior author and a professor in the UC Boulder Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and the Institute for Cognitive Science, in a university release.
SATIVA AND STRETCH
The research is backed up by the activities of some people in Washington’s cannabis community.
Twice a week, Cinder North budtender Daniel Nagel leads hourlong Yin yoga sessions in the break room at the cannabis retailer’s office (next door to the downtown location). He’s practiced yoga for 10 years and has been teaching for over two years.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to share something I enjoy,” he said, following a relaxing morning yoga session with seven co-workers.
Ashley Peterson, who co-owns Cinder, explained that management holds regular “employee investment meetings” to learn how they can help staff thrive and meet their goals.
“Since Daniel is a yoga teacher, we thought it would be a cool way for staff to connect and relax,” she said.
Along with yoga, the group is active in other ways. Several attendees mentioned jogging, biking and hiking as methods of exercise, as well as lifting weights. Several team members participated in Bloomsday together this year.
Keegan McClung, Cinder’s marketing manager, works out every day and uses cannabis-infused topicals as a recovery tool. He also adds tinctures to his post-workout protein shake.
The group also uses cannabis products pre-workout, agreeing that it makes the overall experience more enjoyable.
For marketing assistant Seth Pickens, he finds that products with a lot of CBD help him stay loose during yoga.
“It’s easier to get to a meditative space,” Pickens said.
Operations assistant Brianna McCoy said that using cannabis before a workout makes it feel like less of a chore.
When asked if they had any health or safety concerns about using cannabis during physical activity, the group agreed that it’s important to know yourself and how you’ll react to a product, and to consider what type of activity you’re undertaking – using cannabis in a low-key yoga session with friends is a different scenario than, say, mountain climbing.
“When you’re working out and already tired, and then take an indica, it could affect you more,” McClung said.
If you’re going to incorporate cannabis into a workout, the group suggested going “low and slow.”
“You want just enough to heighten the experience,” Peterson said.
AT HIGHER LEVELS
Although people who are casually active or hobby athletes might not have concerns about using cannabis, athletes who compete professionally probably shouldn’t risk using it.
“Bloomsday doesn’t have an official policy about participants using cannabis, although I believe the elite athletes who are drug tested might be prohibited from using marijuana products,” said Bloomsday founder and recently retired Race Director Don Kardong in an email.
The annual road race follows the USA Track & Field and International Association of Athletics Federation rules governing drug testing. Both organizations are signatories to the World Anti-Doping Code, which is maintained by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
A substance is included in the WADA Prohibited List that satisfies any two of the following three criteria:
• It has the potential to enhance or enhances sport performance.
• It represents an actual or potential health risk to the athlete.
• It violates the spirit of sport.
The agency’s list of prohibited substances includes natural and synthetic cannabinoids that contain psychoactive THC, but exempts cannabidiol (CBD), which has no psychoactive activity. WADA clarifies that while synthetic cannabidiol is not prohibited, natural CBD extracted from cannabis plants may contain varying concentrations of THC.
These restrictions don’t apply to non-elite Bloomsday participants, but use of any cannabis product in public is not allowed in Washington, so we don’t recommend vaping across the finish line.
When asked if Bloomsday would accept sponsorship from a cannabis company, Kardong said that decision would be made by the Board of Directors, but “since Bloomsday is family oriented, the Board would probably decide against it. For similar reasons, no alcohol spirits have been Bloomsday sponsors.”
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