The COVID-19 pandemic has changed a great deal of day-to-day life. People have had to get innovative with how they work, shop, eat and exercise in order to adjust to the new normal. For 67% of Americans, the pandemic meant forming better habits. Fitness companies also took a serious look at change, with online classes offered by fitness club-owners increasing by 47%. The CBD industry has also been on the rise throughout the pandemic, and we decided to explore the roles that CBD and its relative, THC, are playing in people’s post-COVID health regimens.
We surveyed more than 1,000 people who incorporate cannabis into their workout routines to find out more about their relationship with THC, CBD, and exercise. Let’s see how these people got stoned and toned throughout the pandemic.
Getting Lit and Fit
Exercise routines vary for many people who make them a part of their lifestyle. Cannabis-fueled workouts also vary depending on preference and how the drug is consumed.
At what point in their routine are people lighting up? Roughly half of the THC users surveyed said they used cannabis before and/or after their workouts, while 33.7% reached for it during their workout. CBD users, on the other hand, focused on cannabis as a recovery tool and used it mostly after a workout (71.1%).
On average, marijuana users reported shelling out $42.70 on the drug monthly. At this rate, cannabis-fueled workouts would cost $512.40 a year – more than some gym memberships.
Outside of working out, we found that people turn to cannabis to help with anxiety (55.1%), depression (44.2%), and pain management (40.8%).
Before getting into their workout routine, 36% of people reported using cannabis, although the majority (60.7%) didn’t mix THC or CBD into their pre-workout supplements.
Just over 48% of THC users said that cannabis was the only way they could get motivated to work out, compared to 29.7% of CBD users. On the other hand, 41.8% of all respondents admitted that lighting up has led them to become too lethargic to go through with their workout.
While there is limited scientific evidence regarding the effects of smoking or consuming marijuana before a workout, the concept of lighting up before exercise isn’t new. Some experts say that smoking before a workout can help improve your mood and increase your enjoyment, making you more likely to continue working out in the future.
Lifting and Lighting Up
THC and CBD are both known for their mood-enhancing abilities, so it makes sense that people are turning to these substances to boost their spirits before a workout.
When it comes to performance during workouts, 58.3% of cannabis users reported breaking personal records, with THC users being more likely than CBD users to say so.
However, CBD users were more likely than THC users to say they use during their workout. Overall, those who consumed either CBD or THC during workouts had the shortest workout times.
Nearly 62% of cannabis users said their workouts were intense, with THC users being the most likely to agree at 63.9% versus 54.9% for CBD users. THC is known to increase your resting heart rate, which could be why users reported particularly high-octane workouts.
Recovery and Reefer
A lot of athletes and hardcore gymgoers look to cannabis for a sense of physical relief after their workout. From applying topical gels to ingesting or inhaling their substance of choice, respondents used cannabis to aid recovery in a variety of different ways.
Six out of 10 people used some form of cannabis to recover from their workout, with CBD being the most popular cannabinoid. Nearly 30% of users turned to the nonpsychoactive ingredient of the cannabis plant for their recovery regimen. CBD users reported being less likely to feel pain and tension post-workout than THC users.
While feeling sore after some good exercise is common, these aches and pains can deter some people from continuing with their workout regimen. There is a possible solution. Some of our respondents reported being able to avoid post-workout pain altogether as a result of incorporating cannabis products into their recovery regimen. Of those opting for tinctures, for example, over 43% reported feeling no pain after exercising.
Higher Reps and Minds
When it comes to the best kind of exercise to do while high, more than 25% of respondents said there’s no workout that doesn’t benefit from a little weed.
Walking, running, and lifting weights were the most common cannabis-fueled workouts. According to THC users, running and walking were the best workouts to do while using this specific cannabinoid. For CBD users, it was walking and lifting weights. THC users were more likely to incorporate HIIT-style workouts into their programs, compared to CBD users.
When it comes to getting stoned and toned, we found that our respondents found cannabis to be an effective tool pre-workout, during their workout, and as part of their recovery. It helped them get motivated and keep going, even when other aspects of their life got increasingly difficult as a result of the pandemic.
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We surveyed 1,004 people who engaged in cannabis-fueled workouts. 45% identified as both CBD and THC users, 29% identified as THC users, and 26% identified as CBD users. Those who identified as men made up 54% of respondents, and those who identified as women made up 45% of respondents. 1% of respondents identified as nonbinary or nonconforming.
To help ensure that all respondents took our survey seriously, they were required to identify and correctly answer an attention-check question.
These data rely on self-reporting by the respondents and are only exploratory. Issues with self-reported responses include, but aren’t limited to, the following: exaggeration, selective memory, telescoping, attribution, and bias. All values are based on estimation.
Fair Use Statement
Know someone looking for a way to increase their workout motivation? Or perhaps someone who already uses cannabis in their fitness regimen? Feel free to share this with them for noncommercial use only, remembering to include a link back to this page.