A new understanding of the connection between cannabis and physical activity has emerged, coined as the “endocannabinoid runners’ high.”
How Cannabis Motivates Exercise
Science has now discovered evidence that “runner’s high” evolved in humans to take the discomfort from long distance runners who hunted animals to exhaustion.
All exercise starts in your brain, sending strong signals to skeletal muscles to contract. These stronger signals of intensity in aerobic exercise cause a spike in a natural cannabinoid neurotransmitter called anandamide, whose effects aided early hunter-gather humans to run down game over many miles by blocking pain and inflammation and replacing it with a euphoric “runner’s high.” This hard-wired positive feedback pathway is what THC also activates to produce the same mood state, activating the same CB1 receptor.
Can the mixture of marijuana plus aerobic exercise produce an aroused, energetic, tingly, uplifted, focused, creative, blissful mood state that lasts the whole day, making people want to repeat it over and over again?
The Effect of Cannabis On Workout Routines
The initial rush of cannabinoids locking into CB1/CB2 receptors causes bronchial relaxation, allowing more air to be taken in, and a mild increase in heart rate due to vasodilatation. Both the increased air intake and increased blood vessel diameter deliver increased oxygen and, when channeled into your workout, will help you slip into your cannabinoid zone.
In addition to motivation, marijuana is a fitness junkie’s best friend as a natural medicine for recovery. It’s an analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, sleep aid, bone loss preventer, alternative to over the counter NSAIDs, and a great way to wind down after a big workout along with the hot shower and high-protein fruit smoothie.
Even stoners who don’t exercise have benefited from the physical enhancing properties of cannabis. A recent study published in the American Journal of Medicine found that marijuana users have a lower body mass index and a lower rate of diabetes than the U.S. population as a whole.
Cannabis Use Among Professional Athletes
Many elite professional athletes use marijuana for its amazing physical advantages. The best argument against “cannabis use negatively affecting performance” is Olympic Swimming Champion, Michael Phelps. Your lungs need to be on an elite level to rack up all those gold medals, there’s no question that all those bong rips helped Phelps achieve his goals.
Kelly Starret, a physical therapist respected for his approach to preventing injury and hacking the body for optimal performance vouched for cannabis on the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast. Many NBA trainers told Starret that basketball players will regularly smoke a bowl of cannabis and use the foam roller to recover after games.
The physical benefits of cannabis is not limited to just running and working out. You can integrate it into any physical activity such as dancing, power walking, hiking, swimming, martial arts, or cycling.
> Worth Repeating: The Marijuana Exercise Prescription | Toke of the Town