Cannabis and Exercise
Posted By: Dr. Singh
Cannabis and exercise can be each used in their own ways to manage common everyday symptoms such as stress anxiety, pain, inflammation from arthritis and relaxing the mind and uplifting mood. Cannabis and exercise are also a powerful combination for those wanting to reach their fitness goals and maintain a healthy overall lifestyle. When used in conjunction, cannabis and exercise may have a more powerful effect.
Disclaimer: Please consult your physician before combining medical cannabis & exercise
Many people with past injuries or arthritis turn to cannabis during exercise to help them manage pain and inflammation. Cannabis may allow an individual with arthritis to continue walking or doing light strength training to manage their condition.
Other cannabis consumers use the plant to help them attain focus for exercise and prolong their tolerance for exertion. For example, sativa strains are thought to be beneficial in this area due to their euphoric and uplifting effects.
Why Is Exercise Important?
Many individuals exercise to improve their mood and help combat daily stressors and anxiety-inducing situations. Exercise is a good distraction from daily worries and produces serotonin, endorphins and stress hormones which are all important regulators of mood. Physical activity also fatigues the body and results in improved sleep quality.
Exercise is also a great way to reduce the effects of arthritis and maintain bone density. A study released in 2009 looked an intensive diet and exercise regime for patients with arthritis and found that it was critical to maintaining weight to reduce the symptoms of the disease or slow its progression. The study concluded that patients who were able to achieve significant weight loss throughout the research period had improved function in the affected arthritic joint.
The Runner’s High
It is a well known that fact that running, or vigorous walking, stimulates endorphin and serotonin production in the brain and coupled with cannabis this “high” can be intensified. A study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence looked at the effects of stored cannabis on the body while exercising. It was found that regular cannabis use led to delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) being stored in fat cells. When a subject exercised there was a 15% increase in blood THC levels due to the body burning fat and releasing THC back into the bloodstream. This produced effects similar to that of consuming small amounts of cannabis and these effects were found to last up to 28 days after consuming cannabis, taking the term “runner’s high” to a whole new level.
Another study found that exercise activates the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) in the same way that cannabis does. The body naturally produces cannabinoids which bind to receptors in the endocannabinoid system to reduce feelings of pain and symptoms of inflammation, resulting in the perceived “exercise high”. When cannabis is consumed in conjunction with exercise the effects on pain and inflammation are magnified and symptoms may be better managed.
Cannabis and Insulin Levels
One of the biggest reasons that people exercise is weight management or weight loss, and cannabis can help. A recent study published in the American Journal of Medicine found that fasting insulin levels were 16% lower in regular cannabis users. Additionally, the research showed that regular cannabis consumers had 17% lower insulin resistance levels and demonstrated a lower average waist circumference as compared to non-cannabis users.
Insulin levels are important in that they trigger the body to take in sugar (glucose) to provide the body with energy. If there is a surplus of insulin in the body it will lead to weight gain and associated diseases.
Cannabis and Yoga
Cannabis infused yoga classes are becoming the newest trend when it comes to exercise. Whether yogis are attempting to reduce pain and inflammation to improve their practice or are seeking mental focus and clarity while on the mat, the benefits of cannabis are numerous.
Ancient Buddhists viewed cannabis as a “spiritual medicine” and incorporated its use into many aspects of daily life, including meditation. These early Buddhists recognized the ability of cannabis to elevate the mind, further opening the “third eye” to spiritual awakening. Cannabis was often part of ritual ceremonies and periods of meditation for its effects on reducing pain and inflammation, relaxing muscles, elevating consciousness and improving focus.
Pair Exercise with the Right Product
When combining cannabis and exercise it is critical for consumers to choose the right product. The biggest question to ask is “what do I want to get out of my exercise session?”. For some individuals, the goal may be to reduce pain and inflammation, relax muscles and allow their bodies to better tolerate exertion. In these cases, a hybrid strain will likely work the best as it stimulates CB2 receptors and acts directly on pain signals being sent by the central nervous system.
In contrast, if a consumer is looking to harness their focus and energy on a more intense workout, a sativa product will be of benefit. This will allow the consumer a euphoric state which is generally accompanied by clear mental focus and energizing effects.
Finally, for consumers who are not looking for the associated “high” from cannabis, CBD products are a better choice as they have non-intoxicating effects. CBD acts on CB1 receptors found mostly in the brain to decrease pain signals and reduce inflammation. Consumers also report that CBD is beneficial in elevating mood and restoring calm and focus to the whole body.
How Can Apollo Cannabis Help?
Apollo Cannabis has been conducting observational research on cannabis and associated diseases since 2014. Our staff includes doctors, specialists and patient educators who will work with each patient to formulate an individualized treatment plan that is best suited to their needs. In order to meet with one of Apollo’s doctors visit apollocannabis.ca and fill out an intake form. Once the form has been received a representative will contact you to schedule an appointment with the doctor.