The Sixties counterculture mantra “Turn on, tune in, drop out” needs a fresh, 21st century update. How about “Turn on, tune up, drop weight”? Forget the tired trope about lazy stoners, couch-locked in their living room eating Zesty Cheese Doritos while watching SpongeBob SquarePants reruns. The new trend is marrying marijuana with exercise.
“Marijuana relaxes me and allows me to go into a controlled, meditational place,” champion triathlete Clifford Drusinsky told Men’s Journal. “When I get high, I train smarter and focus on form.”
RELATED: How I Lost 50 Pounds Using Marijuana
Don’t believe him? He’s not alone. Marijuana has become the drug of choice among surfers, rock climbers, snowboarders, football stars, hoops heroes, mixed-martial arts fighters and perhaps the greatest Olympic athlete in history.
But you don’t have to be an elite athlete. Weekend warriors are finding that cannabis not only aids in the actual workout, it is an amazingly effective post-workout tonic. Instead of drinking a post-race beer, try a low-dose edible or beverage. Your body will thank you … and you’ll likely be smiling a bit more.
As for weight loss? A 12-ounce bottle of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale has 175 calories. Let’s say you had two bottles of ale after an enjoyable 30-minute jog. Well, congratulations! You just added back all the calories you just burned off. Cannabis? Zero calories.
Looking for a way to partake and participate in athletics with a group of cannabis enthusiasts? Check out the 420 Games, which promotes the healthy and responsible use of cannabis. (Don’t worry beer lovers; the 420 Games events include craft brews after the competiton.)
NOTE: If you are using cannabis BEFORE your workout, it is highly recommended that you use a sativa strain. Indica strains, typically, are more effective for post-exercise recovery and relaxation.
Here are four reasons cannabis may be helpful to keep your body fit:
Stay In The Zone
Have you ever experienced the runners’ high? What you’re feeling is your endorphins kicking in. Think of exercising with cannabis a different way of getting a similar feeling.
“The endocannabinoid system works like endorphins,” according to Andrea Giuffrida, an endocannabinoid expert at the University of Texas Health Science Center. A study at the university demonstrated that after high-intensity running, people have elevated levels of naturally occurring endocannabinoids in their bloodstream. So, if endorphins help you push through an intense workout, these endocannabinoids could increase your pain threshold to do the same.
Studies in mice have shown that even small doses of THC increase motor activity — so a pre-run toke may result in a little boost in your pace. A French study discovered that when THC hits the brain, it produces more pregnenolone, the chemical that is a precursor to steroids produced by the body. This interaction may increase energy and reduce fatigue.
“It may help some athletes get into a zone and put their bodies through very tough physical activity,” says Mark Ware, a professor at Canada’s McGill University. “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.”
According to a study recorded in Men’s Journal: The compounds in marijuana may help raise metabolism, speed fat loss, and lower cholesterol.
“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,” the report states.
Want more energy and increased weight loss? Then pay close attention to your controlled insulin levels.
“We have cannabinoid receptors throughout our brains, and when the THC hits those receptors, it triggers a system that reduces anxiety,” says Keith Humphries, a professor at Stanford School of Medicine and a former senior policy advisor at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Researchers at Vanderbilt University discovered that cannabinoid receptors, through which marijuana enters your body, assist in regulating anxiety and the flight-or-fight response.
Marijuana is an anti-inflammatory medicine. Pure and simple. The U.S. government owns Patent 6630507, which describes the antioxidant, neuroprotectant qualities of cannabis.
Here is what ultramarathoner Jeff Sperber told Runner’s World: “When you’ve been running for that long, you’ve got swelling muscles and aching joints, and you’re tired. You can take an Advil, which will help the swelling and inflammation, but it’s also very taxing on your liver. I can’t do that stuff and function as a normal human being. As a weed smoker, I can function.”
After a strenuous workout, you still will feel the burn. But cannabis will help ease the pain.
So hit the trail. Go to your yoga studio. Play tennis. Do whatever gets your heart pumping. Stay hydrated. And enjoy your cannabis. It does a body good.