US researchers have found active individuals who use cannabis believe it can improve the psychological aspects of exercise and assist with recovery in a new study published in the International Journal of Exercise Science: Conference Proceedings. 

The aim of the study was to examine the timings of cannabis use in relation to exercise, reasons for use, forms of consumption and information sources for active adults. 

This was done through an online survey that began recruitment in September 2020 and included 231 participants, 82% male and 18% female. 

Just over half (55%) reported enjoying “recreational exercise” with the remaining 45% describing themselves as “competitive athletes.” 

When asked about their cannabis use, 44% stated they used cannabis before and after exercise and 26% used it only afterwards. 

Of the group who used cannabis before exercise, 45% reported it was for psychological reasons while only 14% said it was for physiological reasons. 

For the group that used cannabis after exercise only, 36% reported the use was for psychological reasons and 28% said it was for rehabilitative purposes. 

The authors said this finding indicates that most active individuals in the study believe “cannabis and CBD can improve the psychological aspects of exercise and assist with recovery”.

The study found that the main source of information on cannabis was family and friends (16%), followed by social media (14%), healthcare providers (14%), news media (13.3%) and sporting sources such as coaches and teammates (12.8%). 

The authors said randomised trials are needed to further determine the relationship between cannabis consumption on exercise performance and recovery.

Hannah Adler

Hannah is a communications professional and early-career researcher in the disciplines of health communication and health sociology. She is a PhD student at Griffith University currently writing a...