Mixing cannabis and exercise isn't exactly new, but it's not a perfected formula, either. Although we're still learning how cannabis affects everyone, recreational legalization has allowed users to refine their consumption before working out. Certain strains and edibles are created to boost energy and focus, and users have taken note.
Here are five edible ways to consume cannabis before a workout, plus five strains to smoke for energy and focus:
Coffee or tea
Want to start your day on a high note, but don't like smoking or eating sweet, fattening edibles? You can buy infused coffee, tea and other caffeinated drinks at dispensaries, but making your own is much more affordable. Distillate, a refined form of THC extract, is already activated, so you can add it to drinks without much of an infusion process. It's a sticky substance, typically sold in a syringe, so melting it in a hot drink is one of the easier ingestion routes. Add a little bit to your coffee, tea or oatmeal in the morning — or simply drop some on your tongue — and lace up those running shoes. Because of how refined the THC is, it won't take more than a drop or two. (Pro tip: The hot drink options don't end at coffee or tea. Hot chocolate, bone broth and weed hot toddies are all easy to make.)
Pills, capsules and mints
Dispensaries are full of daytime-centric edibles, but they can be hard to spot among all of the other candy bars and gummies displayed behind the counter. Those edibles at the front are mostly sugar and distillate, but many of the infused pills, capsules and mints sold at pot shops have more ingredients geared toward specific effects. Brands like 1906, Mr. Moxey's, Pressie, Stratos and SUM all make "daytime" products with ingredients like caffeine, ginseng or vitamin B, keeping the THC and CBD doses light to ensure an effective microdose, which has become a popular supplement among long-distance runners and other endurance athletes.
THC drink powder
Do you miss the days of chugging a chalky drink with pre-workout powder in college? Take a sip of nostalgia with Ebb or Ripple, two THC-infused drink powders. Add either of them to your sports drinks, water or any other liquid, and it's quick work from there. The taste ranges from bad to okay, but the dosages are reliable and the effects kick in fast. As far as simplicity and reliability go, either of these are tough to beat.
Making your own edibles is cheap and fun if you like to cook, and it doesn't have to be brownies and cookies. Infused cooking oils are easy and can be made inside of an hour if you're in a time crunch. After that, the options are virtually endless, but baking granola is a solid starting point for cannabis cooking oil. Pre-mixed boxes with oats, fruits, chocolate chips and so on are sold at the grocery store (you just have to add the oil, mix and bake), or you can scavenge through the cupboard for an improvised version. Eat it in the morning, add it to yogurt for an extra dairy kick (fat enhances the effects of ingested THC), or press and bake it into bars for a to-go snack.
Don't let all of the commercial goodies and edibles recipes fool you. Tinctures are timeless, and the timeless way is often the right way. A liquid herbal extract made with grain alcohol, vegetable glycerin or other form of liquid solvent, tinctures kick in faster than edibles because they're ingested under the tongue, reaching the bloodstream more directly than ingestibles. Tincture can be made at home, but it's a months-long process and measuring dosages is tricky, so let the pros handle this one unless you want to play scientist. Most tinctures don't carry more than 5 or 10 milligrams of THC per dose, and you'll typically feel the effects inside of 45 minutes. Given how easy to manipulate, ingest and carry tinctures are, you'd be a fool not to consider them before a workout.
All of this talk about "exotic" genetics gets old, but Gak Smoovie's parents are truly rare. The mother strain, Gak, is essentially a mystery, while the father, 4Locoz, has Hindu Zkittlez and Eddy Lep OG genetics, neither of which are readily available. The combination created one of the best daytime strains at dispensaries today — though being grown and extracted by 710 Labs or Green Dot Labs doesn't hurt, either. If you're lucky enough to come across the Gak, jump on it, and save it for a day when enthusiasm is required. Gak Smoovie's energetic high is sustainable and clear, providing a sunny disposition on cloudy days. The flavor is more sweet than resinous, but isn't lacking terps, either.
Yahemi, a mix of Melonatta and Project 4516, is a creeper of the highest order. However, it can be very productive when you reach a proper cruising altitude. Take Yahemi one hit at a time, wait a couple of minutes, and go from there. When you find the right level, it's that slap on the back you need during a long day, keeping the brain, body and spirit on an even keel as you take on a cardio workout. Just take it slow, or you'll be staring at the ground for a while.
A day in the mountains, an easy bike ride or some light exercise are all uplifted after adding Copper Chem to the mix, a clear attribute of fantastic Diesel-inspired effects. Chem #4 and Star Dawg were crossed almost perfectly here, amping up Star Dawg's fruitful highs without melting my brain (as Chem strains tend to do). A modern take on daytime Diesels, Copper Chem's potency can be too much for the ill prepared, but the stoney high never reaches a point of anxiety — just some mindless wandering. Take one or two hits before a workout or pickup basketball game, and you'll be in the zone for over an hour.
Don't smoke White Runtz if you have a day of extended activity ahead. If you're planning an hour workout, though, White Runtz provides the pre-workout boost and recovery. The effects generally start in my head and eyes, sparking an instant cerebral high that kills peripheral vision and stress. Despite the tunnel vision, though, concentration and energy aren't hard to come by for the first hour or two, and that plays nicely with the lack of stress. Alas, physical relaxation and munchies are inevitable, so be prepared to crash.
Blue City Diesel
Talk about the best of both worlds. A child of Blueberry and New York City Diesel, this hybrid carries the sweet, syrupy flavor of Blueberry as well as dank, rubbery Diesel characteristics. The initial high is all Diesel, however, boosting energy and motivation without fogging up the mind. Physical effects take hold after about ninety minutes, but it's much more warm and loosening than debilitating. Keep Blue City Diesel for a pick-me-up in the afternoon or in the middle of exercise. You'll get through the day like a champ, then sleep like a boss when it's over.