This one has been bothering me for a while.

Because of the strict diets, almost nobody who's training is allowed to drink any alcohol. A couple of my friends have turned to marijuana to get that Friday night high.

Now I am wondering, what impact does marijuana have on the progress of the user?

  • 2
    Not sure if we should be advocating drug use, aren't we supposed to be about a 'healthy' life style?
    – Ivo Flipse
    Apr 27, 2011 at 22:06
  • 6
    I think this is a fair question; it's useful to examine our assumptions about what is and isn't healthy. Red wine, for example, has only recently moved into the healthy category...
    – G__
    Apr 28, 2011 at 1:44
  • What are you training for? If it's for competition, can't you just bite the bullet and go without? Like @Greg said, it's a valid question, but it's not the only option.
    – Salsero69
    Apr 28, 2011 at 3:37
  • Im doing the 12 week body transformation by Kris Gethin on bb.com. Yeah, I sure can go without, that is definitely not a problem, but I'm just curious, what if... Apr 28, 2011 at 8:59

5 Answers 5


I train VERY extensively, I went from 270 to my current 165 and 6% body fat I am also a bit of a pot head, but an informed one. I have spent the last 10 years doing extensive research on the subject. Now of course smoke on the lungs is never good, but the anti inflammatory properties of marijuana reduces it impact on the lunges and marijuana has been shown to have anti-carcinogenic effects, ti the point of noticeably shrinking tumors. furthermore it has been shown to improve long term brain function ( tho it does impare short term Cognitive abilities , duh, ) and has also been shown to help with alztimers .

I do smoke a small amount pre work before my protiens shake on my Olympic lift and power lift days, it seems to add another level of focus for me personally, then take a hot shower and smoke again with my post workout supps. I seem to be less sore and have a much easier time stomaching my supplements. On crossfit and arobics I only smoke after because of a noticeable diferance in energy level.

I have smoked and workout long term ( and have gone long periods of working and not smoking) my vo2 max is excellent, I have good overal muscle size and tone, and watch my diet. With the exception of the munchies, I feel that marijuana has help my over all workout


Ultimately the biggest risk of marijuana is that since it's black market you don't always get pure marijuana, it can be laced with heroin or other definitely harmful drugs. So I wouldn't want to try it at all unless I know the person who grew it very well.

So assuming it's pure marijuana, it works as a painkiller and that could be detrimental like taking any painkiller would be. You wouldn't be able to tell if your body has recovered and if you're ready for the next workout, so big risk of overtraining.

On the flip side, if taken after a workout it could help in relaxing and it could promote better recovery, assuming that it doesn't have another side effect, but relaxation can be achieved by numerous other means that don't have potential side effects, so there's really no practical reason to use marijuana.


From the journal Sports Medicine, in 2003:

Studies have demonstrated that the use of cannabinoids can reduce anxiety, but it does not have ergogenic potential in sports activities. An increase in heart rate and blood pressure, decline of cardiac output and reduced psychomotor activity are some of the pharmacological effects of THC that will determine a decrease in athletic performance.

This was found with a quick search, but note that there are probably other, better papers relevant to this.

In response to the comments, and working just from research literature, it seems that there's no clear answer. The majority of the research focuses either on detecting drug abuse or examining drug abuse prevention programs rather than studying how it affects performance. This paper discusses some of the problems around drug abuse, and includes some interesting comments about individual drugs. However, the general feeling can be summarized by a line in the abstract of this article:

Potential health complications represent a serious risk to an otherwise healthy population.

Basically, yeah, you may increase your performance, but you're almost certainly going to damage to your body, possibly quite seriously, in the process. I know, this isn't quite earth-shattering, but this is common sense. Marijuana is a drug, and drugs are not good for you. Smoking marijuana will have all the typical side effects involved with smoking any substance, including the potential for lung damage (and the decrease in blood oxygenation that results) and the increased cancer risks. Additionally, long-term marijuana use is associated with numerous mental health risks. True, these are not specifically related to exercise, but they should be considered before using drugs to improve athletic performance.

  • 2
    This seems to me short term. Like really short term, ~1-2 days. What about more long term, like a week or so? Apr 27, 2011 at 20:39
  • 1
    Of course you will have those effects while you're under the influence... not very helpful to be honest
    – Nobody
    Apr 28, 2011 at 10:50
  • I do know, that ANY drugs are bad for the health. I also know, that people often keep on doing things that are bad for them. What I wanted to know from the beginning was: If marijuana causes any serious long term or short term problems with the training, and if so, what are they? Not what boost it would give me. :) Apr 28, 2011 at 22:19
  • 1
    @Janis - I think, insofar as the published literature goes, there's basically no research. I would venture to say that anecdotal evidence would vary tremendously. However, I think that everyone will agree that in the long-er term, the secondary effects of lung and mental damage will cause problems with everything, including training.
    – eykanal
    Apr 28, 2011 at 23:22
  • "Marijuana is a drug, and drugs are not good for you" - a very useless and nonsensical statement. It implies that part of the definition of "drug" is a substance that harms you. Here is the actual definition "a medicine or other substance which has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body".
    – Mike S
    Jul 23, 2012 at 2:49

That legal "drug" everyone divulges in, alcohol, is a LOT more harmful to your muscle and general health. Alcohol is a testosterone blocker, and does damage to your organs - especially in binge situations.

The day after I had a big night out on the liquor my performance in the gym was pitiful. As a person that pushes to the max every workout in reps or weight, I REALLY notice a HUGE difference. If I'm in there a night after a few puffs of the green - no difference.

I've been on a strict diet for 4 months (haven't had a drop of alcohol or sugar) and my body fat has dropped 4kg and I've gained 4.5 kg of lean muscle. My deadlift has gone from 160 kg to 220 kg (485 pounds) and I've smoked weed about 3 times a week the entire time.



I am new to working out with lots of cardio because I have some medical disabilities I'm hoping to overcome, but In the meantime I'm an MMJ patient. For me it helps me focus, and ignore some of the issues I know may never go away with my body (cramps or other pains) and be able to get my ass up and MOVE around. And that is the biggest part for me. As long as the pot doesn't make me to lazy to get off my ass and work out, work,school, kid life..etc.. it's been nothing but a benefit for me. (Smoker 2-3x a day for 2 years) Also, my lungs feel just fine, regardless of smoking, and studies have just been released that infer that MJ smoke is not A FRACTION as harmful as tobacco or other smokes on your lungs. In fact like another poster mentioned, they have been shown to reduce tumor size. Some people even use it for asthma. I know it sounds backwards but it helps clear up shortness of breath and chest pain in some, I used to smoke about 30 minutes before I would run a couple miles and to me it always felt like my muscles in my upper body were more relaxed allowing me to fully inhale and exhale during my workout bringing in lots of yummy o2. Honestly thought, don't do anything you're not sure of, and don't do something that you can feel is hurting you. Like, if you're smoking but it's starting to make your chest sore, you feel light headed or dizzy..... then just stop...

  • Could you link or cite those studies?
    – Baarn
    Nov 17, 2012 at 7:26

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