Cannabis isn’t commonly associated with fitness. People usually conjure up images of an idle couch potato inhaling copious amounts of snacks. But you’d be surprised how vital the plant is in fueling people’s workout regimes and training programs.
A 2019 study, published by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder, examined the relationship between cannabis use and exercise behaviour in states where the plant is legal. Researchers didn’t expect that, out of 600 respondents, 82% would report using cannabis as part of their workout regime. This group of people were younger and leaner than those who did not consume cannabis in conjunction with exercise.
On top of this, of those surveyed, approximately 70% say cannabis increased their enjoyment of exercise, almost 80% think it assisted their recovery and more than 50% believe it encouraged them to work out. That’s pretty amazing!
Now, if you’re curious about how you might benefit from cannabis, here’s how:
Reimagining the Runner’s High
One major psychoactive ingredient in cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is stored in fat tissues of the human body. In a 2013 study, THC was found to be released into the bloodstream as the body burns off fat. In turn, people exercising feel the effects of a small dose of cannabis. During moderate exercise, the level of THC in blood increased by 15%. However, two hours after exercising, this effect is no longer ongoing. So, if you are a cannabis consumer, expect THC to give you an extra boost during your workout regime! The endocannabinoid system functions similar to endorphins, which is why runner’s high helps elevate focus. So get ready to work out and feel amazing.
Researchers from three universities analyzed data from a national sample of more than 4,600 adults, of which 12% identified as cannabis users. As well, 42% of respondents reported having consumed the plant in the past. These participants were tested for blood sugar control, which includes fasting insulin, glucose levels, insulin resistance, cholesterol levels and waist circumference. And guess what? The results were incredible.
Findings showed that cannabis improved insulin control and regulated body weight, which is probably why consumers of the plant were less likely to get diabetes. On top of this, people who use cannabis had higher levels of HDL, which means better cholesterol. Finally, people who smoked cannabis in the past or did at the time of the study had insulin levels reduced by 16% and insulin resistance reduced by 17%.
You get home from a high intensity training session and now it's time to let your body recover. You're anticipating those aches and pains so you refuel, rehydrate and maybe use a foam roller to soothe your muscles. In the past, people were more likely to use supplements to help their body bounce back. But now, people are using cannabis to treat their bodies therapeutically.
In 2017, a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in the United States put together an in-depth review of scientific research published since 1999 about the health impacts of cannabis. One of the most conclusive findings was that cannabis is used to treat pain symptoms for adults with chronic conditions. More studies need to be conducted to better understand these therapeutic benefits. But in the meantime, the usage of cannabis to help the body recover has rapidly expanded from treating chronic conditions to help the body feel better after exercise.
So, if you’re looking for a runner’s high, boosted metabolism and better recovery, consider implementing cannabis into your workout routine!