Marijuana and Fitness

Marijuana and Fitness

Living in the first state that legalized marijuana, I am always asked the question ‘can I still get in shape if I smoke marijuana’? Is cannabis really that bad for you and does it have any effect on your fitness goals? I hope to clear up the smoke, pun intended, about this topic.


What is marijuana?

Marijuana goes by several names. Weed, pot, sativa, cannabis, etc. But what exactly is marijuana and what properties does it contain? Marjiuana is derived from the Cannabis sativa plant and is widely grown in North America. In the past it was known as ditch weed and was a nuisance plant for gardeners and farmers. The reason for this is because when the male plants pollinated with other plants, it grew more seeds versus the flower of the plant which is known as the ‘bud’. The plant was primarily used for hemp in the use of rope, bag, fabric, and beer production. It had relatively low value until it’s use for recreational use. For the longest time, marijuana was a controlled substance that could earn you jail time. Recently this plant has been used by patients with severe pain and has been legalized for recreational use in Colorado and California.

THC, otherwise known as Tetrahydrocannabinol is the main active ingredient in weed has several effects on the body. Most commonly is the feeling of euphoria and calmness. In high doses users can hallucinate which could be dangerous and lead to impaired judgement and poor decision making.


How does it effect us?

In small to moderate doses, I do not see any ill effects of smoking pot as long as an individual has control over how much s/he uses. The majority of the effects of this drug on the body do not hinder fat or weight loss. One of the effects of the THC is increased appetite, otherwise known as ‘the munchies’. If the effects of the drug causes munchies then I can see a problem with use of this drug. Because of the increase in appetite combined with the neurological effects, it would have a similar effect on the body as alcohol. When drunk, you have impaired judgement which causes a rational person to be irrational in decision making. For example, people who are drunk or buzzed who think they are okay to drive and as a result kill someone as a result of driving under the influence.

Overall, this plant has been shown to have significant benefits from the medical use of the plant. A neuropathic condition called Trigeminal neuralgia or TN is one of the most severe and painful neurological conditions known to man. Some call this condition the ‘suicide disorder’ because of the intense pain that it causes where it will lead people to take their lives to relieve themselves of it. Roughly 67,000 to 290,000 people suffer from this disease. Some patients have shown improvement by using medical marijuana since it targets the central nervous system and provides the sedative effect.


With low doses, marijuana won’t have a negative effect on your fitness goals. If anything, it might slow your ability to build muscle just because of the effect THC has with impaired awareness and cognition. After you get high, it is very unlikely that you would want to go to the gym afterwards. With much higher doses where you begin to have elevated heart rate, hallucination, breathing, and tendencies to do stupid things, then I would see a problem with the use of this drug. Keep in mind that I do not personally condone the use of marijuana nor do I use the drug myself. On a side note, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the person that most people think of when they think of bodybuilding, has smoked marijuana during his days of competition. If he uses it and he is able to win the Mr. Olympia contests 7 times, do you think that it has a big effect on his gains? In the end it is your decision whether or not you want to continue smoking marijuana and pursuing your fitness goals. I wouldn’t say smoking would have a positive effect on your gains. Just like cigarettes, it is still an addictive drug and the carcinogens released when smoking can be harmful to your lungs and as a result, the rest of your body. But having that being said, it is your decision whether you continue to smoke and workout or to give it up.

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