The number of states that have decriminalized, legalized or allowed medical marijuana sales continues to grow. The laws are mixed in some states, marijuana is fully legal or illegal, allowing medicinal use but not decriminalizing recreational use, as previously mentioned. Here Dr. Joseph Mercola, Mercola.com, reflects on the use of cannabis with exercise:
“Cannabis, better known as marijuana, has been used for its medicinal properties for thousands of years.1 The cannabis plant contains more than 60 different cannabinoids — chemical compounds the human body is uniquely equipped to respond to and benefit from.
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Two primary cannabinoids are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the psychoactive component responsible for the “high” associated with recreational marijuana use. Cannabinoids interact with your body by way of naturally occurring cannabinoid receptors embedded in cell membranes throughout your body, i.e., your endocannabinoid system (ECS).
There are cannabinoid receptors in your brain, lungs, liver, kidneys, immune system and more, and the therapeutic (and psychoactive) properties of marijuana occur when a cannabinoid activates your cannabinoid receptors.
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Your body also produces naturally occurring endocannabinoids that stimulate your cannabinoid receptors and produce a variety of important physiologic processes. In short, your body is hard-wired to respond to cannabinoids through this unique cannabinoid receptor system.
While we still don’t know exactly how far its impact on your health reaches, it’s known that cannabinoid receptors play an important role in many biological processes, including metabolic regulation, pain, anxiety, bone growth and immune function.2
Interestingly, cannabis may also have a beneficial impact on fitness. One persistent stigma surrounding marijuana use is that it makes you lethargic, lazy and unmotivated, but recent research suggests it might not have such a bad influence on your motivation to exercise after all. In fact, the contrary may be true.3,4,5,6,7
People Who Use Cannabis Before or After Working Out Get More Exercise
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According to research8 published in Frontiers in Public Health, cannabis use actually enhances both enjoyment of and recovery from exercise. “This study represents an important step in clarifying cannabis use with exercise among adult users in states with legal cannabis markets,” the researchers note.9
Indeed, it’s an important public health issue as many Americans already do not meet minimum exercise recommendations10,11 of 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise five days per week, or 20 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise three days a week. The fear is that legalizing cannabis for medical and/or recreational use may worsen public health by promoting even more sedentary behavior.
In the Frontiers in Public Health study, the researchers conducted an online survey to examine the attitudes and behaviors of adults who use cannabis in states with full legal access. Results revealed 81.7% of the 494 respondents “endorsed using cannabis concurrently with exercise,” and those who used cannabis before or after exercise actually worked out longer than those who didn’t.
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“In addition, the majority of participants who endorsed using cannabis shortly before/after exercise reported that doing so enhances their enjoyment of and recovery from exercise, and approximately half reported that it increases their motivation to exercise,” the researchers note.
Just how much more exercise did those who used cannabis get on the days they worked out? On average, they reported getting 159.7 minutes of aerobic exercise per week, compared to non-co-users who reported an average of 103.5 minutes/week.
After using linear regression to control for confounding factors such as demographics, age and gender, the use of cannabis with exercise was still associated with an average of 43.4 more minutes of weekly aerobic exercise. According to the authors:12
“Consistent with this finding, 40.1% of cannabis users who used with exercise met or exceeded American College of Sports Medicine’s recommendations of a minimum of 150 min of aerobic exercise per week, compared to only 28.7% of cannabis users who did not endorse using with exercise.
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This discrepancy was not limited to aerobic activity. Cannabis users who used cannabis during exercise also reported an average of 37.4 more minutes of anaerobic exercise than cannabis users who did not use during exercise.
After controlling for the demographic variables that were different between groups (age and gender), cannabis use during exercise was still associated with 30.2 more minutes of reported anaerobic exercise …
These findings supported our hypothesis that co-users may be co-using because they believe it contributes to recovery after exercise. The findings also suggest that co-use may facilitate enjoyment of exercise, and (for a subset of co-users) motivation to exercise.
Given that these are recognized barriers to exercise, it is possible that cannabis might actually serve as a benefit to exercise engagement. Finally, the attitudes toward co-use and performance in our participants seem to concur with studies suggesting that cannabis use does not enhance exercise performance for most users …
Given both the spreading legalization of cannabis and the low rates of physical activity in the U.S., it behooves public health officials to understand the potential effects — both beneficial and harmful — of cannabis use on exercise behaviors.”
Runner’s High Explained
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As mentioned, cannabinoids affect your body by acting on your ECS. There are two primary ECS receptors: cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2). While CB1 is typically thought of as being primarily in the brain and CB2 primarily in the immune system, both types of receptors are in fact found throughout your body.”
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Read More … Article Source: https://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2019/05/17/marijuana-and-exercise.aspx
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