Working Out & Cannabis

Vanessa Shanahan

August 15, 2019

Since the legalization of marijuana in Canada the topic of cannabis use in conjunction with working out has become less taboo, even athletes are more openly admitting to partaking in cannabis culture. We are seeing more studies done on cannabis and muscle recovery, as well as its use to improve performance in the gym. Let’s look at weight lifting, for example, does smoking actually help or hinder weightlifting? To help answer this question we’ve interviewed Colin Ras, owner of Sweat Shoppe in Yorkville, Toronto, and level 5 personal trainer. Ras is an avid smoker as well as weightlifter, being at the gym is his job and his hobby.

Prior to Ras’ journey into strength and weightlifting, he was already an advocate of marijuana use. His first memory smoking was unforgettable, “I couldn’t move after taking a hit,” he told me laughingly. That experience, however, did not deter him, he now smokes 3-5 grams a day, before, during and after the gym. Marijuana, as he puts it, saved his life. In 2013 Ras was diagnosed with a bad prognosis of cancer, after enduring a year of chemotherapy he was withdrawn and terribly weak. “I came home from the hospital and started taking tinctures,” he made his mother buy him a 1 to 1 ratio of CBD and THC which was almost unheard of back then. This helped him consume enough calories to start doing Pilates and Yoga. The marijuana helped him lower his anxiety and focus at the gym to gain strength and feel human and powerful. As well, he noticed his inflammation decrease dramatically allowing him to move with more ease.

Today, Ras is strategic about what he takes, Sativa in the morning before the gym, Indica after the gym to help him sleep. Sativa tends to provide a generally energizing experience, so for weightlifting, it helps him. Indica provides more of deep body relaxation. After hearing about his experience, I wanted to know his advice for amateur weightlifters that are curious about ingesting or smoking marijuana. His advice surprised me, he stressed that everyone is unique, you will react differently depending on your tolerance and not necessarily to do with your weight. There is no one routine or strain that will fit all users. Like anything, especially marijuana, go slowly and start with a low dose and gradually, depending on how you are feeling, increase your intake. If you ever feel lightheaded that means your blood pressure is most likely dropping, DO NOT LIFT if you have this sensation!!

For Ras, this is all he knows, he cannot imagine a life where he didn’t smoke or weight lift. After reading about these positive takeaways from Ras’ experience, do you have any similar success stories? Let us know in the comments below.