Living a healthy, holistic lifestyle with cannabis isn’t about getting baked—it’s about getting balanced. So, if you are serious about using the herb to improve your health, it is time to reconsider the lazy stoner stereotype.
Whole-body wellness can require broad lifestyle changes. And as it turns out, cannabis and exercise can go hand-in-hand.
We all know that exercise is extremely important for the human body. Not only is regular exercise a major key to preventing obesity that can cause health concerns like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and many other illnesses, but exercise is also linked to a dramatic decrease in stress with a rise in self-confidence.
Working out is also hard. But those who do it regularly know those endorphins will soon kick in – and once they’re released in the brain, we’re rewarded both physically and mentally. That “runner’s high” is real, as anyone who has experienced euphoria during or after a long workout will tell you.
Well, guess what? In a 2003 study, researchers found that that cannabis and exercise both activate the same endocannabinoid system in the brain.
In a nutshell, the endocannabinoid system is responsible for easing our pain, controlling our appetite, relieving our stress, influencing our mood, and even regulating our memory – all the good things. To help our body cope with pain from strenuous physical activity, our brain will naturally produce its own version of cannabinoids to stimulate this system during exercise.
It’s true: just like taking a hoot of cannabis, these natural cannabinoids will begin to circulate through the endocannabinoid system when you exercise to produce a high.
Engaging in moderate exercise each week is a smart way to burn off the extra calories in your diet to maintain a lean body shape, but it turns out that burning calories with exercise is not the only method for losing weight.
According to a recent study from the American Journal of Medicine, researchers have discovered that cannabis smokers have 16% higher levels of fasting insulin in their bodies than those who abstain from marijuana. Insulin is an important hormone that signals your body’s cells to take in glucose for energy, and having too much unused sugar floating around in your cells will lead to weight gain, especially in the tummy region.
In addition, the study indicated that cannabis users have 17% lower insulin resistance levels as well as significantly smaller average waist circumferences than their non-smoking counterparts.
Therefore, beyond the obvious pleasurable effects of a high, cannabis is good for insulin levels, which means it is good for your body.
The three most essential components to exercise include stretching, strengthening muscles, and building stamina. However, many of us neglect stretching before and after exercising because we are in a hurry to get on to our next activity, or because we find stretching uncomfortable. Skipping this important step can, however, cause even more discomfort and stiffness later.
Turns out that many yoga experts today report that smoking marijuana has a tremendous impact on stretching because it is the ideal way to integrating the mind, body, and spirit into exercise. Under the influence of cannabis, the discomfort and stiffness that is commonly associated with stretching is significantly reduced.
The use of cannabis is associated with increased hunger, more commonly referred to as “the munchies." However, this is caused by the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) compound, not the cannabidiol (CBD). If you’ve read our previous posts, you will know that CBD often has the opposite effect of THC. This is also true of hunger. CBD works very well at suppressing appetite and lends itself for use as an anti-obesity agent. If you are finding it hard to restrict calories to achieve a healthy body weight, CBD would probably be worth a try.
Inflammation is ongoing in our bodies every minute of every day. In large part, it is shortening our lifespan, because it is responsible for many of the chronic diseases that are common causes of mortality.
Inflammation also leads to pain that can prevent you from working out, which further contributes to poor health. CBD can help by relieving the inflammation that occurs in joints after lifting heavy weights or from repetitive wear and tear injuries. CBD compounds work by calming down your muscles and, because they’re anti-inflammatory, helping them recover faster.
Naturally, reducing inflammation also helps keep our bodies working at peak efficiency. But that’s not the only reason to consider incorporating cannabis into your fitness strategy. This plant-based alternative to opioid pain-relief drugs such as codeine or OxyContin has the added benefit of keeping athletes in focused and in “the zone”.
It’s no wonder that some professional athletes, including Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, have admitted to using marijuana. And some long-distance runners have said they use vaporizers or edibles before participating in a marathon, because the cannabis enables them to remove the monotony and stay in a steady rhythmic zone for keeping at a competitive running speed.
There’s no doubt that cannabis’ potent medicinal effects, particularly as a muscle relaxant and painkiller, is attracting athletes to partake in marijuana use. Thankfully, it is also overturning decades of stigmatization of cannabis as a gateway drug that leads to the abuse of more dangerous substances like methamphetamine and heroin.
The extra boost
According to a recent study published within the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, researchers at the University of Sydney discovered that engaging in exercise can provide cannabis users with a stronger buzz and increase the potency of marijuana. Within the study, 15 cannabis smokers were asked to complete 35 minutes of exercise on a stationary bike while the researchers measured the level of THC in their blood. The study found that levels of marijuana’s active ingredient were 15% higher on average after the participants had engaged in exercise.
Medical experts already knew that the human body stores THC within the fat of the body, but this breakthrough study was the first to demonstrate that this storage process can give smokers an extra boost – sometimes lasting for up to 28 days beyond the initial consumption. This results from small amounts of the THC being released back into the body’s bloodstream as the exercise burns off fat. Therefore, marijuana users will feel the same effects while exercising as when they are consuming a small dose of cannabis.
Are you ready to take your athletic performance to new highs?
image captured by @imcannabess