Updated: Jan 12
What does it do for us?
Cannabis consumers who sesh before working out may be onto something when it comes to optimizing their physical activity. Working out provides the body with increased levels of endorphins which make us feel euphoric or high, commonly referred to as experiencing a “runner’s high.” However, endorphins are only a small part of why we feel so good after a workout. Research now shows that the high feeling comes from the activation of our endocannabinoid system. Cannabis reacts with this system the same way exercise does.
Health Nugs, we understand why you enjoy cannabis before and/or after your workout. We will break down some reasons why it is so enjoyable based on the effects consumers claim it has that help them get through a workout.
Gets your head in the game
A workout challenges the strength and endurance of your body in order to reap the benefits of physical activity. In other words the, “no pain, no gain” mentality surrounding working out is unavoidable and inevitable. Cannabis is slowly changing that mentality among individuals, from fitness beginners to advanced enthusiasts, who are associating working out with positive attitudes rather than a negative one. When you are not bogged down with emotional fatigue concerning the “pain” part of working out it greatly helps you get in the mood or zone before a workout. Cannabis boosts the moods of many people who use it. According to a study published in Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, when people use cannabis in conjunction with working out, it strengthens the association between an increased mood and reinforces the positive attitude towards exercise. It is important to remember that this statement is broad-based and ultimately, cannabis affects everyone differently. Some people may be able to sesh and then workout, others may not have that capacity for a number of different reasons. Just because you workout and consume cannabis together does not mean you will automatically have a better level of fitness or health.
A closer look at how cannabis and exercise work together
As we established, the high from exercise and cannabis are one in the same in terms of how it affects our bodies. They both activate the endocannabinoid system to feel the high rather than, the previously thought, increase of endorphins. We know what the most popular cannabinoids are in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD); but did you know that these cannabinoids are stored in fat and can come from either cannabis or can be naturally occurring via the endocannabinoid system? As we exercise and burn fat, we are releasing small amounts of THC back into the bloodstream to give that euphoric feeling after a workout. The endocannabinoid system is responsible for pain management, appetite control and affects our memory and mood.
How cannabis is believed to affect your metabolism
In order to talk about metabolism we have to talk about insulin. Essentially, insulin is a hormone that lets the cells in your body know when to use sugar as an energy source. Fasting insulin is the amount of insulin in your bloodstream before eating and insulin resistance is when cells are not able to use the sugar already in your bloodstream for energy. People who are insulin resistant run into an issue where their body has to produce more insulin to make up for it which results in having conditions like high blood sugar levels, obesity and high blood pressure.
So, why is this important to know for you Health Nugs? With emerging research surrounding cannabis and health, it reinforces the benefits consumers claim about the plant. An article published in American Journal of Medicine conducted a study analyzing the relationship between cannabis consumption and the body’s metabolic process. They found that consistent cannabis consumers have lower fasting insulin rates compared to those who do not by 16 per cent. The study also found that cannabis consumers had lower insulin resistance levels by 17 per cent as well as a smaller average waist measurement. The results of this study point to the conclusion that cannabinoids from the cannabis plant help increase metabolic processes.
Tips for toking up before working out
Know your limits: If you have never exercised high before, start low and go slow (the basis of every cannabis ‘rule’). Try not to get too high and not to workout too hard. Figuring out your comfort zone with physical activity and cannabis will help you pinpoint that sweet spot for the pre-workout sesh.
Consult your health practitioner: Cannabis causes an increased heart rate so with underlying heart diseases like heart arrhythmias, it would be a wise decision to talk to your healthcare practitioner about cannabis use and exercise.
Workout buddies: If possible, have a buddy join you for a few workout sessions to ensure you are doing it correctly. Poor form during a high workout is a possibility if you have little experience with it...you don’t want to hurt yourself!