When You Smoke Marijuana Every Day, This Is What Happens To Your Muscles

Although illegal federally, adult recreational and medicinal marijuana use is accessible in most states in the U.S. In fact, as many as 78 million Americans claim to have used cannabis at some point in their lives. 

Despite its widespread use, however, it's safe to say that research on marijuana use and what happens to your body when you smoke the stuff regularly is still ongoing. After all, the plant contains over 120 compounds (cannabinoids), and there is a lot more to learn about them. Moreover, there are benefits and ills to turning to cannabis every day. Those with chronic pain, for instance, swear by its pain-relieving properties, for which some scientific evidence exists. However, memory issues, mental health problems, respiratory disease, and cancer are concerns associated with consistent use, not to mention that smoking the stuff can cause irritation in your lungs.  

If you smoke weed every day, you might be wondering how the herb affects your muscles. As it turns out, cannabis has been found to be beneficial in relieving muscle spasticity in people with multiple sclerosis. 

The science behind MS spasticity and marijuana use

Referred to as MS spasticity, the muscle stiffness and spasms that come from multiple sclerosis can greatly affect one's quality of life. Multiple sclerosis is thought to be an autoimmune condition that affects a person's nervous system. Although the disease might affect people in different ways, symptoms include blurred vision, trouble with coordination, numbness and prickling sensations, muscle weakness, muscle spasticity, fatigue, tremors, speech problems, and bowel and bladder issues. 

According to physician Dr. Daniel P. Stein (via Neurology of Cannabis), people with multiple sclerosis started noticing an improvement in muscle spasticity on their own with marijuana use. In fact, marijuana use for muscle spasticity was first approved in the U.K., then Canada, and eventually 27 countries around the world. Double-blind controlled studies done by GW Pharmaceuticals showed that nabiximols made from two of the main cannabinoids found in cannabis, cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC),  reduced muscle spasticity in several multiple sclerosis patients. The brand name for the product, which comes as a spray you squirt in your mouth, is Sativex. It is important to note, however, that the research was not on smoking pot, but on using marijuana as an intra-oral spray. Also related to muscles, there's been quite a lot of interest in what happens to your muscle recovery and exercise performance when using marijuana for workouts. 

Marijuana use and muscle recovery with exercise

There isn't a lot of concrete data on whether or not smoking marijuana every day before a workout actually helps with muscle recovery. Per a 2023 study in the Journal of Cannabis Research, physically active people who regularly use cannabis reported that marijuana helped with exercise recovery. However, while marijuana is known to be anti-inflammatory, there is no data to support the idea that it can help heal your muscles after a workout, per Harvard-trained internist and leading cannabis therapeutics specialist Dr. Jordan Tishler (via Men's Journal). The pain-relieving effects of this herb could help with delayed onset muscle soreness, though. 

According to a 2023 study on 42 runners published in Sports Medicine, using marijuana (either THC or CBD) before running was linked with a positive mood and enjoyment during exercise. The same study also concluded, however, that it doesn't improve performance. A 2023 study done on female athletes published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found no changes in the physical composition of those who regularly consumed weed and those who didn't. Whether or not you consume cannabis every day before a workout, it's important to understand the possible risks of using marijuana. THC (the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis that gets you high) could hamper your time in the gym by affecting coordination, balance, and focus. Plus, smoking the stuff can be damaging to your lungs, per Dr. Tishler. Treading with caution might be a good idea here.