Exercise While High
While when you think of a pot smoker, the first things that come to mind are typically lazy stoners sitting in their mom’s basements playing video games. And it’s true that cannabis negatively affects motivation in many cases, essentially making you want to chill out all the time. But, did you know that the substance can, in fact, be beneficial when it comes to your workout routine?
Despite the fact that cannabis has been known to produce the munchies in those who ingest the substance, it has been shown to help its users lose weight. According to a 2013 study published in the American Journal of Medicine, daily marijuana consumers had 16% higher fasting insulin (insulin present in the body before consuming food) levels than people who did not ingest the substance. Insulin is a chemical that essentially tells your cells to break down sugar for energy. When there is too much-unused sugar in your cells, you are likely to gain weight. The study showed that ingesting cannabis helps your body properly handle insulin and facilitates metabolic function. The study also found that cannabis users had 17% lower insulin resistance overall and lower average waist size than their nonsmoking counterparts.
Interestingly enough, cannabis and exercise actually do very similar things to the brain. Your body naturally produces cannabinoids that interact with the endocannabinoid system in your brain and nervous system. When exercising, many of these cannabinoids are released. This coupled with a rush of endorphins temporarily provides a similar feeling to manually ingesting cannabinoids, also known as runners high.
Speaking of runners high, it’s relatively common knowledge that THC binds to fat and sugar cells. In fact, THC can be stored in the body for up to four weeks after initially ingesting it. As you exercise and begin to burn fat, small amounts of THC are released into the bloodstream which provides a similar high to ingesting a small amount of cannabis. According to another 2013 study, THC blood levels temporarily increased by roughly 15% after exercise, however, after a couple of hours THC blood levels returned to normal.
Cannabis can also help keep people working out in ‘the zone’. One common complaint many have with exercise is that it’s rather dull. Between the monotony of long workouts and the usually perceived discomfort of the workout, it can be hard to stay focused. Many long-distance runners ingest cannabis beforehand to keep in a steady rhythmic zone for competitive running. For some people, smoking before working out can greatly increase their focus and allow them to work out for longer periods of time.
Unfortunately, it goes without saying that smoke is never good for your lungs. When ingesting cannabis before exercise it’s important to remember that there are other options besides smoking. Portable vaporizers, desktop vaporizers, and edibles are always viable options for getting some cannabinoids into your system.