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By Ayad Maher
Is smoking weed and working out good for you? I'm sure you've thought off working out while high on weed. Have you tried it?
People should stop holding marijuana accountable for stoners lifestyle, because it's not the weed mistake and we all know it. As many people may believe marijuana isn't a stimulant, and there is some truth to this. Marijuana does make us feel content and sometimes numb, and surely it's one of the reasons why we like to smoke weed, but some of us go a bit too far portraying and confirming the "irresponsible stoner stereotype." Guilty as charged - Still working on it.
Related article: 7 Key Tips to Break the 'Irresponsible Stoner' Stereotype
In many parts of the U.S., people consider marijuana as, not only a "dangerous" substance but also, a gateway to illegal and even more dangerous drugs; cocaine, heroin, meth, etc. What they don't realize, however, cannabis became a harmful and dangerous because of its illegality, not the other way around.
Here is what's happened, marijuana has been illegal for nearly 80 years (the first national regulation was the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937) and because of the criminalization, the substance was widely associated with either outlaws or sloths. Nevertheless, in the recent years and as more scientific studies coming out debunking all the misconceptions about marijuana, it has become a socially accepted substance. Due to this relatively recent phenomena, many people with variety of interests, backgrounds, socioeconomic class and professions are becoming into it. Many of which highly successful people and professionals.
Personally, I didn't start smoking weed on regular bases until the last two or three years, and since then I've been experimenting getting high on variety of indoors or outdoors occasions; exercising high, sleeping, riding a roller coaster, watching a musical or a movie, even attending someone's funeral or praying to a "higher power".
My ultimate conclusion so far; any experience can be much more superior and meaningful when I'm stoned. I consume a high THC sativa, smoking weed before working out, before each visit to the gym; I found high THC strains allow for relaxation in pre-workout stretching, better focus and awareness of my body, then I consume CBD after the gym , which tends to reduce inflammation and helps wind me down from workout intensity. And finally an Indica before bed, for obvious reasons.
Related article: Marijuana Effects: THC and CBD, and the Entourage Effect!
It gets better, my good friend Sasha, who identifies herself as a pioneer in Stoner Fitness, had a similar experience.
"Before using cannabis with my workouts I was unmotivated," Sasha said; "unable to push myself past my plateaus and had no desire to be a better version of myself. After learning what strains were best for my needs I have been applying them before, during and after exercise (depending on what my body and mind requires for the session). I have kept 45 pounds off for over 2 years so far by medicating and meditating with marijuana. It helps keep my anxiety in check and over-all has improved my quality of life tremendously!"
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Mike Mercer, co-founder of Soulshine Cannabis, gave his insight about his first experience exercising while high. He's been doing Yoga and CrossFit for the past 7 years. Although he has never tried smoking cannabis prior to a workout, he recently smoked one of Soulshine's Indica strains, Hindu Kush, before his Yoga class. Mike said:
"It was the absolute best yoga class I have ever experienced! I could feel every muscle fiber in my body. It felt so amazing to feel every muscle group relax and stretch. Everything was enhanced during the class, the teachers voice, the music, the smell of incense burning. I mentally went into a very deep place that I had never been before, slowing my mind & thoughts for the entire 90 minutes. I plan to integrate this new way of experiencing Yoga from now on.”
Is smoking weed and working out good for you? Not necessarily smoking, but consuming THC in any way. You have to understand your relationship with cannabis and how it affects your mind and body. Each one of us can experience cannabis in different ways, it depends on your tolerance level, mood, personality, environment, etc.
First! You may need to consider the following three tips before you jump into working out while high:
Smoking in public: It may take some time to be able to smoke weed and feel relaxed and comfortable in public setting and among strangers, so take your time experimenting on your own first before you put yourself in an uncomfortable or embarrassing situation.
Health issues: You shouldn't try smoking weed to exercise if you have heart issues or any other medical issues that may not go well with smoking weed, or smoking in general.
Underage: Also, if you were under the legal or/and recommended age to smoke weed! Sorry dude.
I started getting high while working out just last year, and here is why I love it:
1. Zone in and Zone out: I've always thought of exercising as a boring activity, maybe it's for that reason I didn't get into it till recently. For me, exercising while high eliminates the feel of boredom. Cannabis distracts my mind from thinking about time, instead it keeps me, believe it or not, motivated and focused on the targeted muscle groups, my highdeas and/or whatever I was listening or watching at that point. It also gives me some type of unusual determination to keep going. However, keep in mind this feeling doesn't start right off the bat when you take your "workout" hit, you normally have to get into the workout first for 10-15 minutes to obtain some momentum.
It gets better; many long-distance runners admit to get high while practicing for a marathon, I'd assume they use a vaporizer or edibles to keep their lungs healthy. Marijuana helps them to eliminate the tedious repetition and stay focused on breathing and the steady rhythmic zone that comes with it.
2. Fatigue and pain: Weed can assist your tolerate discomfort, and that may help you to bust out more reps or go the extra mile on the elliptical or treadmill. As you may know that cannabis can act like a pain killer, nevertheless, a study by University of Oxford showed that cannabis results experiencing of pain to be more tolerable, rather than reducing the intensity of the pain. In other words, marijuana can distract the person from her or his pain or fatigue more than "killing" the pain itself.
Furthermore, it's a common knowledge that our body induce Endorphins when we exercise, which interact with the opiate receptors in the brain to reduce our perception of pain, it act similarly to drugs such as morphine and codeine. What you don't know that exercise also stimulates the body to induce small amounts of THC, which is the psychoactive ingredient of marijuana.
3. Runner's High/Cardio Exercising While High: According to many studies, researchers found that our body already stores THC in fat, and when you exercise, the body tend to produce this small amount of cannabinoids, and that's where you get the "runner's high" - It's a coping mechanism to pain and fatigue. It also means that exercise can seriously boost your buzz. The level of cannabis's psychoactive ingredient, THC, will get higher and eventually, you will get "higher." It's simple math.
We can describe the endocannabinoid system as group of receptors that cannabinoids (like THC and CBD) interact with. Endocannabinoid system is literally a bridge between body and mind. It can work as an appetite controller, mood influence, pain moderator, and more.
If you haven't heard of the The Four-Twenty Games, it's about time. The 420 Games were established to show that cannabis users are NOT lazy, unmotivated or “stoners” and to de-stigmatize the millions who use cannabis in a healthy and responsible lifestyle.
Louis Santiago, Director at CannaSense Total Wellness, described his experience with marijuana and exercise; "I concur with all those finding's and add moderation is the key to almost everything in life, the same lame excuses that Cannabis makes people lazy; can also be used to say it helps people focus and debunk the fable. It's all up to the individual and their commitment to good health. I have been smoking since 12 years old and at the pinnacle of my misuse, I was smoking a pound a month by myself. I eventually realized I had an addictive personality; but being a non-conformist at heart allowed me to get that down to one ounce per month...started and finished 23 marathons (4 for Team in Training), 2 N.Y.C. Triathlons and 2- 150 mile bike rides for MS Society...all while under the influence." - Now, this a stoner I'm proud of.
4. Weight loss and the muffin top: A study by the American Journal of Medicine, included 4,657 adult men and women - 579 individuals were current users of cannabis, and 1,975 were past users. The study showed that current weed users have a 16% decrease in their fasting insulin, a hormone, levels compared to the past weed users. The study also found noteworthy connections between pot use, weight loss, and smaller waist circumferences.
Insulin signals the cells in your body to take in glucose for energy, due to our unhealthy eating habits, we will have a lot of unused sugar floating around in our cells which will lead to weight gain, especially around the stomach region. That said, it's been found the cannabinoids helps handle insulin properly and facilitate more efficient metabolic functioning. There for, the main ingredients in marijuana may help to lose weight.
This is exercise can be great to practice when you're high. The 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise is utterly simple, takes almost no time, requires no equipment and can be done anywhere. Although you can do the exercise in any position, sit with your back straight while learning the exercise. Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise. You will be exhaling through your mouth around your tongue; try pursing your lips slightly if this seems awkward.
Note that you always inhale quietly through your nose and exhale audibly through your mouth. The tip of your tongue stays in position the whole time. Exhalation takes twice as long as inhalation. The absolute time you spend on each phase is not important; the ratio of 4:7:8 is important. If you have trouble holding your breath, speed the exercise up but keep to the ratio of 4:7:8 for the three phases. With practice you can slow it all down and get used to inhaling and exhaling more and more deeply.
Source: Andrew Weil, M.D.
Ayad Maher is a Cannabis Industry Entrepreneur, Blogger & Activist. eCommerce Specialist and Owner of a 420 Life Style Website; Monroe Blvd, an online smoke shop; 421Store, and an online CBD store; GoodyCBD.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in January 2017 and has been revamped and updated as needed for accuracy and comprehensiveness.