Smoking weed is about more than just getting high or even medicating. Among many who consume cannabis, it leads overall to a more healthy lifestyle while dispelling stereotypes about the lazy stoner.
A study by market research group PSB found that cannabis consumers exercise more than their non-cannabis consuming counterparts. PSB polled more than 1,600 adults from North America, concluding that 28 percent of American cannabis users workout once or twice a week, while only 22 percent of Americans who don’t use cannabis work out the same amount. As for more active exercisers, 36 percent of American cannabis users said they work out three to five times a week, as compared to 34 percent of those who don’t use cannabis, who said they also work out three to five times a week.
The results for Canadians followed a similar pattern. Thirty-three percent of Canadian cannabis users workout one to two times a week, while 29 percent of Canadians who don’t use cannabis said they workout the same amount. As for the more active types, 30 percent of Canadian cannabis users said they exercise three to five times a week, while just 26 percent of Canadian non-cannabis users work out the same amount.
In context, this evidence isn’t surprising. A number of athletes, from football players to professional runners, use cannabis to relieve pain and soreness, to enhance sleep, and to treat injuries. Runner Stefan Borst-Censullo from Long Beach, California, for instance, ran in the 420 Games this past month, a 420-friendly athletic event to show that cannabis and sports can and do go together. For athletes who want to avoid the hangovers or extra calories from alcohol, cannabis is a good alternative, he points out.
Ultra-runner Avery Collins from Colorado also says that in addition to helping with pain management, cannabis helps him live in the moment and makes his runs feel more spiritual. The runner’s high and the cannabis high are actually not that different from one another. Both originate in the endocannabinoid system, the body’s network of naturally occurring cannabinoids, or chemical compounds, in addition to cannabinoid receptors, which all regulate functions like sleep, pain, appetite, mood, and more. Endorphins do a play a role in the exercise high, but as it turns out, athletics also increase the endocannabinoid anandamide, known as the “bliss molecule.” It makes sense that those who enjoy the exercise high might also enjoy the psychoactive effects of cannabis.
In fact, cannabis and working out go together so well that weed gyms and 420 yoga classes have been sprouting up all over green states. Cannabis and fitness enthusiast Jim McAlpine, founder of the 420 Games, also launched a cannabis gym in San Francisco, where members can consume weed before or after their workout. The gym will also have trainers to help design and integrate cannabis and exercise routines, as well as its own branded edibles for “pre-workout focus and post-workout recovery.”
So whether you want to use cannabis to get in the zone, or you got the munchies last night and want to use it to help you work them off, the link between exercise and cannabis shows another side to the weed-infused lifestyle.