10 Benefits of incorporating cannabis in your exercise routine

Cannabis Benefits in Exercise Routine

Exercise may not be the first combination that comes to mind, when weed is brought up but the two have been working out together for as long as weed has been around.

Cannabis as a psychedelic is heavily influenced by set and setting, this means that the intent you enter into when consuming has a large impact on your high. We've all heard the lazy stoner trope but when used correctly cannabis products can have the exact opposite effect.

If you've got this far into your cannabis curiosity journey remember the new trend is for conscious cannabis consumption. That's not to say that relaxing in a hammock with a joint and reflecting or relaxing in the sun is a bad way to spend an afternoon, rather to open up your options to alternatives and let me tell you from my personal experience that physical activity while high can be a great alternative.

I'm sure we've all heard cannabis labeled as a "performance enhancing drug", with sporting bodies such as the world anti doping agency taking a hard line stance on THC. In my mind cannabis is a natural supplement that interacts with your endocannabinoid system (ECS). Endocannabinoids have been around for as long as our CB1 and CB2 receptors have existed and the cannabinoids found in cannabis are interacting with the same set of receptors to regulate homeostasis in our bodies. I'd even go so far to say that its a natural ergogenic aid just like any number of other natural supplements that people pop into their bodies without a second thought.

Active cannabis consumers are made up of a diverse range of humans that exercise at various forms of intensity for different reasons, there is no one size fits all and you need to remain conscious and pick what is best for your specific needs. Some might prefer yoga and meditative movement, while some might do high intensity physical activity that resemble more of a bootcamp session.

The important thing to keep in mind whenever experimenting with incorporating anything new into your routine is to start with low doses and increase as you grow more comfortable until you hit your sweet spot. Exercise can tend to enhance the effects of cannabis so remember to start with different dosages than you typically would in the above hammock example.

Depending on the consumption method, marijuana products can have different effects and durations, make sure to check out our blog on cannabis consumption methods to find out what is best for you. Smoking cannabis can have an impact on your lungs and in the interest of mitigating health risks it's important to understand that there are alternatives for cannabis users.

Additionally, if you're concerned about the psychoactive effects of THC then CBD may can be a great alternative that still provides a multitude of benefits and I personally use CBD products before working out to great success.

If you're skeptical, not to worry there's scientific evidence to back it up. Keep in mind that each individual is unique and if you are curious you can always talk with a qualified health care professionals or conduct some cannabis research to see if recreational marijuana use could supplement your exercise routine. 

So, if you're ready to have your mind blown here are 10 benefits of working out while high!

#1 Improved focus to help you get in the zone

We're talking about that flow state, when all the outside noise is cut out and you can just focus on the task at hand. You've probably experienced the feeling before during your favorite activities, your mind is in the zone, time flies by, and you end up feeling like you've just come back from a vacation. Well good news... cannabis can help you get to that focused state.

Runners high which is associated with a chemical known as anandamide [which derives from the Sanskrit word ananda, which means bliss] is that body high that runners and other endurance athletes experience.

Anandamide is a cannabinoid neurotransmitter similar to THC, while THC binds directly to the brain's receptors (CB1 & CB2) anandamide binds to your fatty acid receptors (think 'ol fatty acid receptors). When you exercise, your body releases anandamide.

The runner's high has been associated with a 50% – 70% increase in anandamide levels. In one study, volunteers who didn't exercise were given THC and then asked to run on a treadmill. They found that the THC was working as a runner's high by binding to the anandamide receptors (CB1 and CB2) in the brain.

#2 Relax muscles, reduce inflammation, and recover

There are plenty of ways to ease your body after an intense workout session such as drinking protein shakes and taking supplements. But, if you want something more natural and effective to add to your stack, weed can help tremendously!

Cannabis has natural anti-inflammatory properties and can reduce muscle tension which are both key ingredients for pain relief. This helps with working out in general, but especially with engaging the muscles that are typically prone to injury.

I know from personal experience that even the anticipation of physical discomfort from lifting weights is enough to make working out a drag. When combining cannabis with my workouts I find myself in a more calm mental state, less focused on the anticipation and more present.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a non-psychoactive component of cannabis that has been studied extensively for its therapeutic properties. CBD can assist with workout recovery by reducing inflammation and muscle spasms, easing any pain you are experiencing in your muscles or joints. The sooner a recovery begins, the better it is. Cannabis use after a workout can stimulate your body's lymphatic system which can help reduce muscle soreness. Furthermore, it also repairs damaged cells and relieves pain caused by arthritis.

#3 Lower anxiety prior to and during your workout

The concept of using cannabis to treat anxiety is nothing new, this does, however, become an important factor when working out. It's no surprise that anxiety can prohibit many people from engaging in their regular exercise routines, the crux is that data suggests being physically active can actually reduce anxiety. Exercising while high can be a great way to enjoy exercise and reduce anxiety as cannabis contributes to the release of GABA, working to slow the brain’s natural racing thoughts and can help you get in the zone.

Anxiety can occur from health conditions or even just being in the wrong environment. If an all natural drug can help you get over that hump and into your chosen activity the stimulating properties of working out will activate the receptors in the body, creating a positive feedback loop that may provide relief to those suffering from anxiety.

Cannabis is a natural sedative and what makes it so effective as a post-workout remedy is because its calming effect reduces the amount of stress you have before going to the gym or after coming back from one.

#4: Cannabis increases happiness levels

Not only does cannabis use help relieve anxiety, but it also can also induce a general sense of happiness - this comes as no surprise to anyone that's felt the euphoria of the perfect high during your favorite activities.

The ECS is responsible for balancing our stress response and keeping us happy in homeostasis.

Studies support the fact that people who use cannabis are more likely to be active, mainly because it enhances their overall mood. While this is only a generalization, there is no denying that people who use cannabis score higher on happiness scales than those who don't.

For some, working out can be a painful and laborious task, but there are ways to make working out feel less like work and more like an enjoyable activity that you look forward to with the added benefit of releasing those endorphins.

#5: Cannabis can help manage pain

If you have chronic pain and it is getting in the way of your workouts, then using cannabis might be the best solution because cannabis is a natural method to decrease inflammation. Both THC and CBD are pain relieving, which is why many athletes swear by it.

Physical pain can get in the way of working out just as much as mental stress, if having less pain could increase your athletic performance you may want to consider marijuana as a natural option.

Not only that, but working out while high also increases your pain threshold. You may be able to push yourself harder at the gym or on a run for longer.

#6: Cannabis stimulates blood flow to muscles

When it comes to reducing the level of chronic pain we feel after exercising, we need to first improve blood flow to muscles. This is where cannabis comes to the rescue, as it stimulates blood flow to muscles!

When working out, you expect your muscles to get fatigued because working out is anaerobic. However, it's also important that working muscles get enough oxygen and nutrients, otherwise they won't work well or recover fast. This is where blood flow to working muscles comes in.

Working out while high helps you focus your mind on working muscles and improve blood flow through working muscle tissue, which eventually leads to less pain and faster recovery. It's a win-win situation.

#7: Cannabis fights fatigue

You will find a lot of people dealing with chronic fatigue during and after exercising so they need something that can fight it and cannabis is the perfect solution! It can stimulate your body's metabolism which reduces fatigue long after exercising.

The only thing you should keep in mind when working out while high is that working out in the evening or night time might be more difficult because it will leave you feeling tired.

#9: Cannabis can help you lose weight

Yes, working out high could mean that you're working harder because the cannabis is potentially interfering with your perception of effort. However, it's generally agreed upon that working out high means working harder. And as a result, working out high means burning more calories leading to more effective exercise in cannabis users. Furthermore, studies have shown that working out high can prevent your body from storing the calories consumed as fat.

This is of course in addition to helping you enjoy working out more which can lead to more frequent exercise.

#10: Get higher

Number 10 on the list isn't necessarily a benefit of cannabis to your workout regime but perhaps a bidirectional effect where working out can supplement your cannabis regime. Get higher and stay there longer by working out while high. Some marijuana users report increased psychedelic effects when coupled with physical exercise. The experience is different for everyone, but I have certainly felt the effects to be stronger when combining cannabis use with my workouts.

Wrapping up your cannabis workout *blog*

As much as reading a blog about cannabis and exercise may feel like exercise there's no substitute for the real thing.

Exercise is supposed to be fun, not a mundane activity that you don't look forward to. Combining cannabis and exercise is a great way to make your existing exercise habits more enjoyable. If working out high sounds like it could be fun, don't hesitate to experiment around and see if it works for you. 

Many people, from those who are new to working out to those who have been exercising for years use cannabis as a source of enjoyment. There is a growing community of fitness enthusiasts incorporating cannabis into their exercise plans looking to increase the benefits they get out of working out.

Cannabis is a remarkably versatile plant when you learn how to use it properly to target the effects that you desire. Increasing access and improving experiences has always been what we're all about at InstaLeaf as we look to create a conscious, helpful community of cannabis users.

What are some interesting ways you have seen people working cannabis into their workouts? Drop a comment and join the conversation below! Thanks for reading and as always, stay lifted.

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    Although not for everyone* But hey if it works for you then keep the weed and workouts going!