Illustration by James the Stanton

Illustration by James the Stanton

Getting Ripped While Ripped

The latest trend in cannabis is working out while high, but is it a good idea?

Ask anyone who likes to work up a good sweat and they’ll tell you: A euphoric high comes with a solid round of exercise. Often known as the “runner’s high,” it’s been described as a feeling of near-weightlessness and a flying sensation. Now people are starting to pair that endorphin rush with weed to boost the feeling.

And it’s going national. For the third straight year, the stoner Olympics known as the 420 Games will be hitting cities across the country this summer. Participants get baked and compete in decathlons, skate competitions, and distance runs, which should hammer a big nail in the coffin of the lazy-pothead archetype.

Unfortunately, there’s been very little medical research on the effects of combining cannabis with exercise. But we don’t have to look far to find world-class athletes in a wide variety of disciplines who smoke the gange and consistently dominate in their field. Many of them have spoken on the record about the positive effects of cannabis on their performance and health.

Perhaps the most popular effect for athletes is the pain management cannabis can offer. Weed can control inflammation, reduce the actual amount of pain you experience, and distract you from any pain that might still linger. This can help them push through those final tough reps. It can also help recovery after exercise, reducing the aches and pains commonly felt the day after a workout. And if you live with chronic pain, cannabis could be the pain relief you need to make exercise possible at all.

There are opposing viewpoints on whether to get high before a big game or a race, but some who do describe being able to achieve a seriously heightened level of focus and awareness, with other distractions and nervousness fading away. Weed can also promote bonding among teammates, and can be a great way to wind down after a game.

If you decide to incorporate a little grass into your routine, here are some starting points. First and foremost, decide why you want to. What do you hope to get out of it? This can help you narrow your choice of strain. When you begin your experiment, venture into a few forms of cannabis. Explore CBD products or microdosing before getting outright baked during your workout regimen. Take it slow and stay away from edibles, because it can be hard to predict how long it will take before you feel the effects. Go with a vape, a tincture, or a very, very small dab. I would either stay close to home and keep things super-chill, or go outside into nature. Stay away from the gym, where you might be tempted to freak out worrying about everyone knowing you’re #stonedatthegym.

Stick to exercises, sports, habits, and routes you’re familiar with, and focus on stuff that doesn’t require split-second thinking or lightning-fast reflexes. (You probably won’t remember anything new you learn anyway.) At worst, you could hurt yourself or someone else attempting something you’ve never done before without 100 percent mental sharpness. But for most people, as long as you go slow, stick with the familiar, and take it easy the first few times you try it, exercising high can be a great way to renew and deepen your enthusiasm for working out.

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