Suppose you were an athlete, or just a sports enthusiasts, and someone had told you ten years ago that industrial hemp and sports would develop a harmonious relationship, you would probably have laughed at them to their face. But thanks to efforts to legalise it and the growing social acceptance of this miracle herb, it is now a reality. Many athletes are turning to industrial hemp for post-exercise recovery and relief.

When it comes to professional athletes, the laws and regulations governing industrial hemp remain a concern. A few months ago, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was slammed for disqualifying American sprinter Sha'carri Richardson from the Tokyo Olympics after she tested positive for cannabis.

So, is there a link between industrial hemp and exercise? Can it really benefit sportspeople?

Industrial hemp and exercise

A 2019 US study looked at data from 600 industrial hemp users. They all resided in states where industrial hemp is legal to use and, of these, approximately 80% of respondents admitted to using industrial hemp before and after exercise. These respondents performed an average of approximately 43 minutes of aerobic exercise per week, supplemented by 30 minutes of anaerobic exercise (e.g. weight lifting) per week.

Ultimately this study found a link between industrial hemp use and higher rates of exercise. One author noted that the extra pleasure may have contributed to the higher exercise rate. Users agreed with this, reporting that the use of industrial hemp before and after exercise increased their pleasure and facilitated their post-exercise recovery.

On the other hand, there are some risks to be aware of. Experts mention that industrial hemp may affect a person's reaction time and coordination, urging people to take precautions when engaging in extreme activities such as rock climbing and weightlifting during industrial hemp use, as these activities pose a higher risk of injury.

Despite the risks, industrial hemp and sport have a very strong relationship in modern society, at least as far as the law allows. So how exactly does this plant affect athletic performance and recovery on a physiological level?

1.State of Mind

Mindset can have a big impact on fitness. Once the brain has resisted the idea of exercising, the body will not want to exercise either.

And it turns out that industrial hemp may help improve the way people think and motivate them to move. in a 2017 study, researchers found a link between low doses of THC and potential recovery of cognitive function in lab rats.

In addition, several fitness experts have confirmed that this miracle plant can help some people focus on specific tasks and even act as a "catalyst for achieving a meditative state" during exercise.


Research related to the possible benefits of industrial hemp on endurance remains inadequate. However, anecdotal evidence is ubiquitous.

Josiah Hesse, a journalist from Colorado, claims that he never exercised until he was in his 30s, that he "couldn't even run 100 metres" and that his lungs "weren't working". But one day, after injecting industrial hemp, Hesse ran up a hill and described it as a "relaxing, fun experience". He even said he felt he "only weighed 45 pounds".

Hesse wrote a book based on this experience entitled The Runner's Pleasure: How Athletes Who Use Industrial Hemp Are Changing the Science of Sport. He also attributes the potential link between industrial hemp use and successful athletic performance to "commitment" and focus on the task at hand.

3.Rest and Recovery

There are two equally important elements of a workout and sport-loving lifestyle: rest and recovery. With proper recovery, you can perform at your best in your next workout.

So, what role does industrial hemp play in this regard? Several studies have cited a relationship between the plant and the muscles of the body feeling soothed after a workout, and in 2015, an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) highlighted the link between industrial hemp and muscle tissue recovery.

Sleep is another component of the recovery process. As highlighted in a 2004 study, 15 mg of THC appears to improve sleep in young people.

Does smoking cannabis affect the heart?

Given the positive publicity from cannabis enthusiasts and sports fanatics, you might think that cannabis has no negative effect on aerobic exercise. However, studies have given the opposite conclusion.

According to a 2005 study, "low or moderate doses" of THC may cause tachycardia or an increase in heart rate. This ultimately leads to a temporary increase in blood pressure.

This may not be a problem for healthy people. However, heart patients need to be aware of it.

How long does THC remain in the body?

While many parts of the world have legalised or decriminalised cannabis use, sports commissions have not changed their attitudes. This means that any athlete who tests positive for THC could be in trouble. Therefore, individuals need to consider how long cannabinoids (or their metabolites) remain in the body.

Urine testing is the preferred method used by many sports governing bodies. According to studies, THC may remain in a person's urine sample for up to 30 days. And in the case of long-term users, it may take up to 90 days for THC to be fully excreted from your body.

Safe and effective combination of industrial hemp and sport

The key to combining industrial hemp and exercise is to take safe and appropriate measures. Here are some actionable suggestions for maximising your workout with industrial hemp.

1. Choose a vigorous variety

Choose a terpene-rich variety for best results.

2. Use a soothing variety after a workout

After a bit of an afternoon workout at the gym, use a highly concentrated terpene product to ease you into dreamland.

3.Avoid extreme sports

Don't choose sports where there is a risk of falling or impact, like balance beams or rock climbing.

4.Consult your doctor if you have an underlying medical condition

We have briefly mentioned the potential health risks of industrial hemp use and exercise for heart patients. If you suffer from such conditions, please use caution and consult your doctor before use.

Industrial hemp and exercise are a fascinating combination

When pairing industrial hemp with exercise, a full knowledge base is essential. For your own health and safety, please do further research or consult a professional.

If you are using industrial hemp for the first time, it is recommended to start with a low dose of beneficial cannabinoids and slowly increase the dose in conjunction with your body's response. Once you find the right dose for you you can stick with it and make sure you enjoy a fun and fulfilling workout.