Please note, the following is a guest contribution and while there’s a great deal of science supporting the medical benefits of marijuana, it is still an illegal substance in many parts of the world. Like alcohol, marijuana consumption is to be respected and not abused. Do you have an opinion on this topic? Would like to share it? Please reach out directly if you’d like to contribute a guest article.
We all know the importance of exercise, or at least we should. Working out is crucial for optimal health, and science is daily proving that marijuana is too. The words “exercise” and “cannabis” may not seem compatible in any way, but they actually complement each other perfectly. Marrying the two may not be an activity you think much about, but if your goals are to get fit and healthy, then you really should.
Here is the scientific reality: Consuming marijuana is, in fact, potentially beneficial for your exercise regimen. We know that weed relieves stress and pain, but it also improves focus, increases motivation, heightens metabolic function, and gives you the energy you need to complete your workouts. Of course, these effects are strain dependent.
Some of the world’s most accomplished athletes smoke pot. Michael Phelps is but one of them. As an openly admitted reefer fan, Phelps has 22 Olympic medals to his name. He is not alone. Even the National Football League wants to treat players with marijuana. The reasons for weed’s popularity in sports are many, but improved performance and effective pain management are just two of them.
If Phelps and other athletes can smoke pot and be the best in the world, there must be some connection between their achievements and their exercise habits. If that is not a sufficiently convincing reason for you to include weed in your fitness routine, then consider the following six reasons, as well:
Effect 1. Marijuana Increases Metabolism
Everyone should roll a joint before hitting the gym. Weed can help raise the speed of your metabolism, which means that you can actually burn some fat before you even start working out. According to a study, Men’s Journal published, “The compounds in THCV and cannabidiol found in marijuana may help raise metabolism, speed fat loss, and lower cholesterol.”
Without speeding your metabolic rate, working out will not give you the results you want. It will take longer to burn fat if you do not increase your rate of calorie disposal. If you need a little extra boost pre-workout, then indulge in a little cannabis consumption. Although this may seem counterproductive, it is not. Weed smokers are slimmer and always have been, especially those that enjoy active stains.
According to the American Journal of Medicine, “Researchers have discovered that pot smokers actually have 16 percent higher levels of fasting insulin in their bodies than those who abstain from marijuana. In addition, the study indicated that cannabis users have 17 percent lower insulin resistance levels, as well as significantly smaller average waist circumferences than their non-smoking counterparts.”
Controlling your insulin levels is the secret to weight-loss and energy. Cannabis has a very positive effect on insulin levels, which means that weed is excellent for optimal body function.
Effect 2. Cannabis Motivates and Lowers Anxiety
Interestingly, marijuana is the main ingredient in motivating you for a workout. Energy and inspiration are two very common effects of consuming the right strains. As Keith Humphreys, a professor at Stanford Medical School, said in an interview, “We have cannabinoid receptors throughout our brains, and when the THC hits those receptors, it triggers a system that reduces anxiety. That you would feel more aggressive is a natural reaction to the drug.”
Despite marijuana having a reputation for chilling people out totally, gluing them to their couches for hours on end, and neglecting exercise completely, science proves that the right strain can actually help you prepare for a vigorous gym routine. Smoking before exercising will reduce any anxiety you may have about it, as well as motivate you to achieve your goals.
Effect 3. Marijuana Improves Athletic Performance
Cannabis literally makes you better at your favorite games. Although participating in sports drunk could compromise performance and impair judgment, smoking a joint beforehand will actually enhance your skills. Popular triathlete and Colorado gym owner Clifford Drusinsky, who frequently holds sessions where participants get high, told Men’s Journal in an interview:
“Marijuana relaxes me and allows me to go into a controlled, meditational place. When I get high, I train smarter and focus on form.” Since smoking relaxes you, it automatically improves situational awareness and boosts focus on current tasks, which is, of course, necessary for all sports aptitudes. Smoking cannabis improves athletic performance and science prove it.
Gordy Megroz, the correspondent for Outside Magazine, told Business Insider that marijuana makes him a better skier. He claims that once high, he feels pumped up and ready to take on all slopes. Hundreds of other athletes make similar claims, too many of which to name here.
Effect 4. Cannabis Aids Muscle Recovery
Muscle stiffness is the biggest exercise turnoff for most people. Even the most enthusiastic feel sore for several days after a hardcore workout. Fortunately, you do not need to consume tons of protein to dissipate lingering lactic acid in the body: You can simply get high instead. Cannabinoids help flush the body of painful lactic acid more quickly, making it a must-have for fast muscle recovery.
According to skier Megroz, consuming marijuana helps him recover from sore muscles much faster than other methods. Additionally, he claims that working out high reduces stiffness the next day too, claiming that when he does squats high, he does not get as sore as when he does them sober. Smoking pot means significantly less muscle pain during and after exercise.
Effect 5. Marijuana Has Similar Effects to Exercise
Cannabis has a similar effect on your body that exercise has. It activates the same body areas that working out does. According to Wellspring, “As a group of lipids, fats, and cell receptors that THC bind to when smoking weed, the endocannabinoid system plays a prominent role in the neurological system for maintaining homeostasis for overall human health.”
It also says, “In short, the endocannabinoid system is responsible for easing our pain, controlling our appetite, relieving our stress, influencing our mood, and even regulating our memory,” all of which exercise does most effectively too. Combining exercise with pot can amplify these effects, or at the very least, make them notably more noticeable.
Effect 6. Cannabis Enhances Focus
One of the most famous effects of marijuana is its ability to get you “in the zone” and keep you there. In fact, this is one of the reasons most users smoke it and athletes are no different. Weed can help you stay super-focused on your workout and your goals, even improving stamina in the process. As Wellspring explains:
“Many long-distance runners admit to using 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.”
Anyone struggling to find the motivation, energy, focus, or even desire for exercise can benefit from a joint beforehand. Ample evidence exists proving how weed can help people complete their workouts, stick to their goals, and get fitter and healthier in the process. It can even make you better at your exercise of choice, and if dedicated enough, can even help you become a top athletic performer.
This post is submitted by John Levy. He is a blogger for Pot Valet – an online cannabis dispensary in Santa Barbara. He has 5 years of experience in the Cannabis industry and loves share useful information about marijuana and related products. Follow his company on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.