How many times have you heard your friend say they are going to get high and go snowboarding, hiking, or golfing? Well, recently there has seemingly been an anecdotal increase in the combination of physical activity and cannabis. People are frequently combining the two and citing an increased enjoyment of the experience. But can the same be said about marijuana and the gym?
Last year the University of Colorado at Boulder conducted an experiment to better understand the relationship between working out and being high. The study found that 80 percent of cannabis users do combine the gym and cannabis. Which confirms the anecdotal increase mentioned earlier. The researchers also found that 78 percent of participants explained that the marijuana usage boosted their recovery, and 52 percent of participants reported an increase in motivation. But perhaps most importantly a surprising 70 percent of the people said they experienced an increase in enjoyment. This increase of enjoyment appears to be the biggest benefit of the combination.
As we get older going to the gym and working out gets harder and harder. As we age our bodies start to break down, meaning working out and being active in general gets painful. Angela Bryan, a professor of psychology and neuroscience, explains that, “As we get older, exercise starts to hurt, and that is one reason older adults don’t exercise as much. If cannabis could ease pain and inflammation, helping older adults to be more active, that could be a real benefit.” The professor cites the anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of cannabinoids as the reasoning for these benefits.
With that being said, the cannabinoids do not simply make this pain disappear. A study from the University of Oxford found that cannabis allows users to interpret pain differently rather than literally reducing the pain. The importance of this is two-fold. Gym goers should never try to reduce pain before working out, as this can lead to greater injury. Also, medicines like aspirin and ibuprofen, which do reduce pain levels, are blood thinners, and can be dangerous when working out. Marijuana just changes users pain tolerance level while working out. Allowing users to work out smartly, because they can feel the pain and understand what movements are acceptable and which ones are not. But the pain is not so extreme that they cannot workout.
Lastly, there is an interesting relationship between cannabis and insulin. Cannabinoids help your body handle insulin properly. (Keep this in mind if you are diabetic, because your body will process insulin and cannabis differently.) As a result, people’s metabolism is more efficient, helping people’s body weight become more consistent. Meaning working out while high can help you maintain a consistent body weight.