Cannabis and Exercise Science: A Commentary on Existing Studies and Suggestions for Future Directions

Sports Med. 2015 Oct;45(10):1357-63. doi: 10.1007/s40279-015-0362-3.


Policies regarding cannabis use are rapidly changing, yet public officials have limited access to scientific information that might inform the creation of these policies. One important area in which to begin investigations is the link between recreational cannabis use and health, specifically exercise. There are common anecdotal reports that cannabis decreases motivation, including motivation to exercise. On the other hand, there are also anecdotal reports that cannabis is used prior to athletic activity. In fact, the World Anti-Doping Agency includes cannabis as a prohibited substance in sport, partly because it is believed that it may enhance sports performance. At the current time, there is limited scientific evidence to support either one of these opposing lay perspectives. Given recent political, cultural, and legal trends, and the growing acceptance of recreational cannabis use, it is important to develop a more nuanced understanding of the relationship between cannabis and exercise, specifically the potential effects of use on exercise performance, motivation, and recovery.

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Performance / physiology
  • Athletic Performance / psychology
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Marijuana Smoking / physiopathology*
  • Marijuana Smoking / psychology*
  • Motivation
  • Public Policy*
  • Research
  • United States