Cannabis is a popular choice for workout recovery, survey shows

cannabis workout recovery

Many professional sports leagues are no longer testing athletes for cannabis, and the NCAA will likely follow suit. Curious college athletes are celebrating as restrictions lift. Meanwhile, cannabis-loving athletes are beginning to speak out about how cannabis benefits them. A recently published survey highlights exactly that.

Researchers set out to identify whether CBD or THC were useful for recovery after getting a solid pump. A total of 111 participants opted into the anonymous survey. All respondents lit up regularly and all are over the age of eighteen. Of the 111, 65 identified as women, 30 others identified as men, and two were non-binary.

RELATED: Cannabis and exercise: does the plant help or hurt your workout?

Participants found the survey either while scrolling social media on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. The survey was also advertised by word of mouth and in flyers in a campaign from June to November 2022.

The two-part questionnaire focused first on people’s relationship with the plant, and then on their exercise habits. Questions about how long and often people consumed cannabis were followed by an investigation into workout regimens.

This section preceded another that inquired about each person’s workout routine, including how long exercise has been a regular part of their lives. The survey covered what type of workouts people engaged in, whether they used supplements, and recovery methods that didn’t include cannabis.

Various statistical research methods were used to digest the data. Statistical diagnostic methods were approved by the Kent State University Institutional Review Board.

Reported cannabis consumption at a glance

Displayed results were split up by gender and whether people opted to consume CBD or THC-high cannabis. Data did not specify how many people used CBD-only, THC-only, or a combination of the two.

The majority of CBD-consuming respondents have been consuming the cannabinoid for three to six years. 30 percent choose edibles, 27 percent vape them, 25 percent opt for smoking, and 11 percent buy topicals. These respondents shared that they consume CBD for sleep, relaxation, and pain relief. Some had negative effects, including dehydration, lightheadedness, and heart racing.

As for THC, most respondents had been consuming it for one to three years, but 18 percent had 10+ years with the plant under their belts. 52 percent use cannabis seven days a week. Of those that prefer the psychoactive cannabinoid, 40 percent smoke, 30 percent vape, two percent enjoy tinctures, and one percent buy topicals.

THC was chosen by athletes to promote relaxation, “pleasant feelings,” and for fun. Reported negatives of working out with THC included getting too high, being sleepy, heart racing, and laughing uncontrollably.

RELATED: Should you use cannabis as pre-workout? We asked health experts how CBD and THC affects exercise

How respondents stay fit as a fiddle

Of the respondents, 85 percent preferred aerobic exercise (running, cycling, etc.), and 85 percent reported resistance training (pilates, weight training) when working out. 72 percent of those who answered did a combination of the two
Despite whether they consumed CBD or THC, surveyed cannabis athletes worked out “very hard” around three to four days a week. THC workouts were reportedly a little more “vigorous.” CBD and THC athletes reported consuming additional supplements, the most common being protein powder, caffeine, and creatine.

Survey results on cannabis and workout recovery

All participants felt that cannabis was a low risk to their health. 20 percent of participants use CBD for recovery from aerobic exercise, and 25 percent grab the CBD to recover from resistance exercise. As for THC, 61 percent of respondents opt for psychoactive cannabinoid for recovery from aerobic exercise, and 60 percent use THC after resistance workouts.

The survey asked cannabis athletes whether they believed CBD and THC impacted their workout recovery. 93 percent responded “yes” when asked about CBD helping workout recovery, and 87 percent believed the same about THC. The remainder of the answers sat in the “I’m not sure” pile. Not one person surveyed answered “no.”

Studies have shown that cannabis isn’t a performance-enhancing drug, but this survey aimed to understand how its compounds might impact recovery. Researchers found that cannabis is a go-to for gym-goers and yoga practitioners alike. commonly Data on this matter is lacking, and these results are limited since data is self-reported. But this could be the starting line.

Cara Wietstock is Senior Content Producer of and has been working in the cannabis space since 2011. She has covered the cannabis business beat for Ganjapreneur and The Spokesman Review. You can find her living in Bellingham, Washington with her husband, son, and a small zoo of pets.