Are you a self-proclaimed gym rat and are intrigued by cannabis culture? Don’t let common misconceptions about cannabis keep you from using it to enhance your workouts or your recovery. The cannabis plant is packed with full-body benefits. From your mental game to a relaxing cool down, there’s a way to consume cannabis to make it work for you and your fitness – you might just call it your new favorite workout supplement.
But Won’t the Munchies Throw Off Your Diet?
When consuming cannabis, many find themselves drawn, like a moth to a flame, to frozen pizzas, brownies, and bowls of cereal. It’s true that cannabis turns on the hunger neurons, the ones responsible for letting your brain know to stop eating. This activation promotes hunger even though you are full. Researchers, in the article “Mulling the marijuana munchies: How the brain flips the hunger switch”, found that cannabis activates the cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1R), which contributes to overeating and making unhealthy food choices.
However, that is only one strain of cannabis, specifically, marijuana, that was referenced in the Yale News article. In the world today, there are a number of different strains available that can help do the opposite and prevent the hunger neurons from activating. Finding a formulation that is dominantly CBD, with little to no THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis, can help minimize the munchies. Additionally, THC-free CBD provides other diet benefits to alleviate your munchie concerns, such as increasing your metabolism and curbing your cravings.
“THC may increase appetite, but CBD helps carbohydrate metabolism, fasting insulin, and metabolic function, mitigate and curb cravings—they work synergistically,” says Junella Chin, M.D., an integrative medical cannabis physician whose work has been featured in Forbes, CNN, and Good Morning America, among others.
Will Cannabis Make You Lazier?
Another common misconception about cannabis is that users will become completely unmotivated couch potatoes. While, yes, cannabis can promote relaxation, it can actually benefit in the gym. Instead of worrying about being judged and dropping out of a workout routine, cannabis can help ease these anxious thoughts. In several different articles, many gym-rats who consume cannabis discover more consisted workouts, better mental health and improved body image of themselves. In fact, a meta-analysis found that cannabis users tend to work out more than their cannabis-free friends. Choosing the correct strains of cannabis, like THC-free CBD, may actually boost energy and increase focus.
“Cannabis can quiet parts of our brains that feed the ego, resulting in a go-with-the-flow mentality that makes working out less stressful,” said Dr. Jordan Tishler, an instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a leading expert on cannabinoid therapeutics.
Additionally, Tishler added that cannabis is perfect for the workouts that are “built for zoning out,” like spinning, yoga, treadmill running and light weightlifting.
What Really Are the Benefits of Cannabis?
The cannabis plant is packed full of cannabinoids, or chemical compounds, each with their own specific benefit that when combined increase dramatically. Many of its compounds, like CBD, are anti-inflammatory, which could help with muscle recovery. Many people, a time or two, have worked out a little too hard and, the next day, their muscles felt like jell-o. Luckily, cannabis compounds can help alleviate pain, from muscle spasms to chronic pain. Finally, many athletes have high levels of cortisol and adrenaline, which can keep them stressed and tightly wound. Cannabis may be an incredible stress reliever and an excellent sleep aid. Improved rest means better recovery.
Is Consuming Cannabis Right for You?
We can’t answer that question, but don’t let outdated stereotypes prevent you from consuming cannabis to elevate your fitness routine. Cannabis compounds, such as CBD, can help boost your metabolic functions, including breaking down pesky carbohydrates, and help improve focus and energy in your workouts. Some CBD products, like Natural Recovery Greens, are the perfect post-workout companion, helping to alleviate soreness and guaranteeing a deep night sleep so you wake up refreshed and ready to tackle the next day’s work out.