Like many other fitness-minded young professionals, a 25-year-old Boston resident named Cameron adheres to a fairly typical pre-workout routine. There’s the 20 minutes of stretching, generally followed by some light cardio.
As marijuana legalization has pushed the drug further toward the mainstream — and a longstanding social stigma has begun to dissipate — more individuals are taking up before hitting the weight room, sports field, or mixed martial arts mat.
While the idea might seem inherently counterintuitive — weed, after all, is a substance more commonly paired with Doritos than deadlifts — there is a passionate contingent that swears by it.
“It’s a weird phenomenon, but it’s an increasingly common phenomenon,” says Peter Grinspoon, a primary care doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital and author of the book “Free Refills: A Doctor Confronts His Addiction.” “The fact that a lot of people are saying it helps them can’t be ignored.”
Research into marijuana’s benefits has been notoriously scant, due in large part to the drug’s federal classification as a Schedule 1 substance — meaning that, along with heroin, LSD, and ecstasy, it’s deemed to have “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” And the few studies that do exist offer relatively little insight into the drug’s effects during physical activity, beneficial or detrimental.
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