Working Out High
5 Tips on How to Workout High Safely
By: Sumera Quadri
Now that recreational Cannabis is legal in Ontario, it is critical for gyms, fitness professionals, and those involved in sport and recreation, like me, to first educate ourselves about the new law, second, acknowledge that our class participants may be using while in our programs, and lastly, provide some tips on how to workout safely while high.
Currently, there seems to be a lack of research online exploring the connection between Cannabis and exercise. Many articles and blogs focus on how the drug impacts male workout and sports performance, with little on female performance. I’d say this is a start to a larger discussion that needs to happen.
Based on available findings, many report that getting high before a workout can make the workout more enjoyable. A blogger, Sam Smith, found that he had the best workout experience while being high. He noted his ability to exercise for a longer period of time and complete more repetitions. Lea, the owner of, Break the Stigma Fitness, the first cannabis-friendly-fitness facility in the world, has been offering Cannabis-infused fitness classes including Yoga and Kickboxing. She mentions that she herself has been using Cannabis to treat her chronic pain brought about by a connective tissue disease. While exercising high may bring about better results for some, the drug has been noted to in fact reduce performance, mental capacity (i.e. paranoia and hallucinations) and slow down one’s reaction time and coordination which can lead to an increased risk of injury.
On a personal note, my grandmother, who had a stroke last year, and my aunt, who was recently diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and experiences Chronic Fatigue Syndrome symptoms, a condition that caused her to leave her job and masters program and instead become bedridden, have both reported that the use of Cannabis on occasion has helped them alleviate their pain and become more physically active.
Here are my 5 tips on how to workout high safely:
Before using Cannabis for exercise, speak to your doctor or nurse about the risks and benefits of doing so. For those using medicinal marijuana to alleviate any pain symptoms preventing them for living a healthy active lifestyle, ask how much of a dose you need and what options are best for exercising with your condition. According to men’s health CBD (cannabidiol), is a non-psychoactive compound in marijuana that many athletes claim enhances recovery.
Do note, if you’re new to working out or are just getting back into it after a pregnancy, injury, or health condition, you are always encouraged to fill out PARQ forms to assess your readiness and to speak to your doctor.
2. Let your gym, facility and/or instructor know ahead of time that you’re working out high. Let them know you’ve discussed this with your doctor and are aware of the risks. It’s important to let those in charge know as they will feel liable if anything happens to you while you’re on their premises. In case of an emergency, they will also be able to share your drug usages with the right parties, similar to those taking heart medications.
3. Stick to a workout you know and are comfortable doing. If you do weights, try doing them sitting or lying down in case you become dizzy and light headed. If you prefer low impact cardio, do a class you already know and with an instructor, you know. It’s best not to try any new exercises, high impact workouts, or enhance the exercise (making it longer or adding more weight) in case the drug causes a negative effect. According to the Government of Canada, “cannabis can slow reaction times, lower your ability to pay attention, harm coordination, and can lead to disorganized thoughts.”
4. Workout around others. In case your high turns bad during a workout, (i.e. causing hallucinations, paranoia, and/or lower blood pressure which can make you feel light-headed) you can reach out for help instantly. If you’re at home alone, have your phone nearby in case of an emergency.
5. If you experience any pain, STOP! You cannot gain if you’re in pain.
The goal of a workout is to enhance one’s mind, body, and spirit. If you’re achieving this while high, then that’s worth noting and maybe even sticking to unless it causes long-term health concerns.
Wishing you a healthy active lifestyle this winter season.