Cannabis isn’t thought of as the most stimulating substance in the world, but it may be time to reconsider the lazy stoner stereotype. As it turns out, cannabis and exercise work pretty well together.
It’s not news to the medical community that the human body stores tetrahydrocannabidiol (THC), the main psychoactive in cannabis, in fat. As the body begins to burn off fat, small amounts of THC are released back into the bloodstream, producing an effect similar to consuming a small amount of cannabis. THC blood levels increased by approximately 15% immediately after moderate exercise, yet this increase was no longer present two hours after the workout.
We all know that exercise is good for you. Not only is it key to preventing obesity, which causes heart disease, diabetes, and many other illnesses, exercise is also linked to the creation of blood cells and decreases in stress.
Yet, contrary to popular thought, it’s not just the endorphins (the compounds which make you feel excited after activities) that make physical activity so great exercise actually activates the endocannabinoid system in the same way that the cannabis plant does. The endocannabinoid system is a group of lipids (types of fats) and cell receptors that cannabinoids (compounds like THC and CBD) bind to inside the body. It’s responsible for easing pain, controlling appetite, and influences mood and memory.
Perhaps as a coping mechanism for easing pain, the body naturally produces its own cannabinoids during exercise. Human-produced cannabinoids increase as you exercise, causing you to feel a little “high.”
Moderate exercise is helpful for burning fat, we all know that, but calories burned with exercise isn’t the only thing that helps you lose weight.
Insulin is the hormone that tells your cells to take in sugar (glucose) to use for energy. If you have too much unused sugar in your cells, you will gain weight. If your body isn’t handling insulin properly, you may also gain weight. Cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant help facilitate metabolic function.
Coupled with the pain-relieving effects of both plant and human-derived cannabinoids, cannabis and exercise seem to go hand in hand if you’re looking to improve your physical health.