Cannabis: A portal to “the zone”
Strains containing the terpenes Pinene, Terpineol and Caryophyllene are said to be most helpful for a focused workout and efficient recovery. I’ve certainly experienced this personally myself and always toke before and after every workout. Everyone is different though so if you want to give it a go, always remember to start low and go slow!
My personal favourites for workouts available now at Ideal Buds are: Jack Haze by 7ACRES, Delahaze by San Rafael ’71, Clementine Punch by Ritual Green, or a Ghost Train Haze Pre-roll by Color Cannabis
Many athletes who puff and work out/compete do so because they claim cannabis gets them into “the zone” and provides them with a deep connection between their minds and their bodies.
This makes sense when you consider that cannabis alters our perceptions in a way that may be beneficial for people engaging in some types of physical activity.
Cannabis has been shown, in scientific studies, to substantially affect the way our brains can focus on and pay attention to elements of our environment.
If you use THC, you may have noticed that your thoughts can drift frequently while under its influence. Sometimes it’s very difficult to focus on one thing for an extended period of time.
While this behaviour may seem like a drawback under many conditions (it’s why you shouldn’t smoke and drive, for example), the phenomenon of “wandering attention” can actually be of great benefit during certain types of exercise.
When lifting weights, for example, it’s common to have your attention get “stuck” on one particular portion of each rep’s movement.
Since staying close to the correct form for each exercise is crucially important, throughout the entire cycle of movement, many pot-friendly athletes say cannabis lets their attention flit from one part of the movement to another, ensuring a clean and continuous lift that’s as close to the correct form as possible.
“The team doctors cheered… but I couldn’t disclose to them all that I was experiencing — no pain, no inflammation, restful sleep, vigorous appetite, a clear head,” said NFL tight end Nate Jackson, describing why he had to keep his cannabis self-therapy a secret.
THC actually encourages the type of rapid readjustment of attention that can be a distraction in normal life but is quite beneficial in the highly-artificial milieu of repetitive exercise movements.
Jim McAlpine, founder of the pro-pot 420 Games, says of combining cannabis with exercise: “It puts me in a place of higher focus, the Eye of the Tiger-type thing. It’s not for everyone, but for some people who are more athletic and coordinated, it works.”
Therefore, learning a complicated new workout routine after consuming cannabis may not be the smartest idea. But, if you’re in good shape and know your way around the gym, a toke or two might be just the ticket for your 100th shoulder-press of the day.
Pushing through plateaus
The other factor cannabis users/athletes often expound upon is the ability to let them push through plateaus in their workouts and to be able to shunt pain and discomfort aside to triumphantly ascend to new personal bests.
Ex-NFL offensive lineman Eben Britton, a staunch advocate of cannabis in sports, told Men’s Health that cannabis “connects” me mentally and emotionally into my body, which allows me to get a more fulfilling workout. It’s very uplifting mentally. It allows me to push through that last couple of reps. I might be fatiguing, but it gets me into a flow state and allows me to push through.”
Part of that flow state may come down to cannabis’ ability to dull pain and assist with endurance.
There is much academic literature about the efficacy of cannabis’ analgesic properties. This is especially important, since weight-lifting is mostly about repeating the same movements over and over.
After working out comes the recovery period.
There is much active debate over the “correct” amount of recuperation needed, but one thing is for sure: after being exposed to the intense stresses of a high-intensity workout, your body needs time to recover.
For example: you must wait for protein synthesis to occur after exercise so your body can make new muscle tissue. The recovery phase of exercise is a valuable opportunity to take advantage of other molecules present in cannabis.
Following his bruising defeat at the hands of Conor McGregor in 2016, UFC welterweight superstar Nate Diaz vaped CBD oil at a press conference.
He told the assembled media that CBD “helps with the healing process and inflammation”. He could have certainly used a bit of that after coming into repeated contact with McGregor’s fists.
That unscripted moment helped launch the idea of CBD as a healing panacea into the popular consciousness. After all, once a popular athlete endorses something, its adoption in living rooms across North America is sure to follow.