A new year means new resolutions and many people tend to focus their resolutions on health and fitness goals. Goals are usually set to go the gym more often, eat healthier, and maybe lose a certain amount of weight. With the legalization of cannabis in Massachusetts and acceptance of cannabis at an all-time high, people are finding ways to incorporate cannabis into their health and fitness regimens. Gone are the days of the “lazy stoner” stereotype as many professional athletes have stepped forward as cannabis advocates to report the benefits they experience when using cannabis pre-workout and post-workout.
There are many different ways patients can medicate with cannabis. Transdermal patches can provide pain relief without any psychoactive effects to help with muscle repair and inflammation that may occur after a workout. Edibles can provide long lasting effects for those who don’t wish to smoke or inhale cannabis. Vaporizing or smoking are also options for immediate effects. If using cannabis prior to a workout, it’s important not to overdo it. Low doses of THC or products high in CBD are recommended for use before a workout because taking a high dose or overdoing it can actually demotivate you from executing a workout.Tolerances can vary from person to person so it’s best to start low and slow and work your way up to your therapeutic dose.
Here are 3 reasons to consider adding cannabis to your health and fitness routine in the new year:
1. Boost Energy and Mood for a More Focused and Enjoyable Fitness Experience
When choosing to consume cannabis before a workout, it’s important to choose the right product for the type of exercise being performed. For example, a cardio session may be best accompanied with a sativa strain for its energizing effects while a yoga session may be best accompanied by a CBD or Indica strain for their calming effects. Professional athletes report that using cannabis prior to a workout allows them to stay focused and maintain the energy needed for a long workout session. These effects are due to the relationship that cannabis has with the endocannabinoid system in our bodies. The endocannabinoid system is a network of cannabinoid receptors throughout the body that send messages to the brain. While working out or engaging in physical activity, the endocannabinoid system produces its own cannabinoid called anandamide, which scientists believe is responsible for the euphoria or “runner’s high” felt during a long run or workout. Consuming cannabis before a workout triggers the body’s cannabinoid receptors as THC and/or CBD enters the bloodstream, producing a positive and uplifted response which can help to motivate people to workout or even to prolong a workout session.
2. Anti-Inflammatory Properties Help Ease Pain Before a Workout and Relieve Inflammation Post-workout
As discussed in an earlier post, cannabis is a natural anti-inflammatory. This property of the plant has led many athletes and people who prefer natural remedies to use cannabis for pain relief. After a workout, muscle tissue goes through a process of repairing the tiny tears that occur. These tears contribute to the soreness felt after a fitness session and can be uncomfortable and sometimes painful. NSAIDS like ibuprofen or aspirin are often what people reach for after a vigorous workout; however, there can be many negative side effects from using these on a regular basis including kidney damage and ulcers. For those seeking an all-natural remedy, cannabis can provide pain relief and reduce inflammation without the negative side effects associated with other prescription and over the counter medicines.
3. Promotes Better Sleep to Aid Muscle Recovery, Energy Production, and Weight Loss
Many patients report using medical cannabis for insomnia and sleep related issues. Sleep is a vital component to mental and physical health and should be seriously considered when evaluating health and fitness goals. Studies have found that poor sleep can contribute to food cravings, higher incidence of injuries, and can decrease the body’s ability to make muscle. A University of Chicago study also found that poor sleep can also interfere with weight loss as the body stores more fat cells after just four nights of poor sleep. The recommended amount of sleep for the average adult is at least seven hours. For those who suffer from insomnia or sleep related issues, consuming cannabis can be a natural way to help patients get the recommended amount of sleep. Typically Indica and CBD strains are recommended for patients who need help with sleep disorders. Howl’s Nighttime Tincture is a full spectrum indica tincture formulated to help patients who are seeking a better night’s sleep.
The main takeaway here is that adding cannabis to your health and fitness routine for 2019 can be a great way to elevate mood and motivation, increase focus, relieve pain and inflammation post-workout, and get a good night’s sleep. It’s important to remember that if you choose to incorporate cannabis with your fitness routine, it’s best to stick to low doses or to “microdose” because consuming too much before a workout could be demotivating for some. Sativa strains tend to be better for pre-workout use and indica strains tend to be better for post-workout recovery. Make sure you stay hydrated and take into consideration any medical conditions and/or medical history prior to incorporating cannabis into your health routine. If you have any questions, it’s best to consult a physician or licensed healthcare professional.