Everyone’s journey to wellness is unique—there is no one-size-fits-all guide to a healthy lifestyle. For most people, exercise and movement are an essential part of their overall wellbeing. However, many of us don’t exercise as much as we should, and some people who do exercise regularly still have trouble shedding excess body fat. Despite what popular misconceptions may tell you, consuming cannabis can actually help with both of these common problems!
While it’s true that some cannabis strains have a sedative effect (which is desirable for some people), research shows that the “lazy stoner” stereotype isn’t exactly true.
Many cannabis strains and products have an uplifting effect that may add motivation and duration to any workout routine. Cannabis helps stimulate the endocannabinoid system and boost metabolic functions throughout the body. Some studies suggest cannabis users are found to exercise more and have a lower body mass index (BMI) and smaller waist circumferences than non-users.
The Benefits of Exercise
Exercise benefits every single part of your body. When you make your body work hard, the metabolic boost results in fat-burning, cell renewal, and the release of endorphins—all ways that your body combats the effects of fatigue, aging, and just feeling down in general.
Unfortunately, because of a variety of reasons that often include a lack of motivation or lack of enjoyment, many Americans do not meet the minimum recommended exercise for healthy living.
Obesity is a very serious and costly public health concern. According to the CDC, over one-third of Americans (more than 90 million people!) are considered obese. The American Heart Association recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio per week for healthy adults. For those looking for more extensive health benefits, doubling the amount of cardio and adding at least two days of strength training is recommended.
What Science Says about Cannabis and Exercise
At least half of the  participants said they experience an amplified motivation to exercise when using cannabis.
—University of Colorado
A recent study by the University of Colorado indicates that cannabis can help individuals overcome the usual barriers before, during and after exercise. Of the 600 participants—81.7% support pairing cannabis with exercise. A majority also reported an increase in exercise activity with cannabis use, along with accounts of enhanced enjoyment during the activity and improved recovery. At least half of the participants said they experience an amplified motivation to exercise when using cannabis.
Cannabis can do more than just improve one’s mental state—to support exercise. A 2013 study published by The American Journal of Medicine found that cannabis use combined with a healthy diet and exercise routine is associated with lower insulin levels. This is exciting research for those at risk of insulin resistance, a precursor to Type II Diabetes. The only ways to naturally lower insulin levels are augmenting diet (less sugar and unhealthy fats) and increasing exercise. Cannabis can benefit a healthy diet and exercise routine by facilitating metabolic functions and restoring hormonal balance.
Another recently-published study by researchers at Michigan State University found that cannabis users gain weight at a slower rate than non-users, and they are more likely to have a reduced BMI over time. These findings suggest that cannabis, along with diet and exercise, may be a viable alternative to weight loss surgery or other weight loss treatments.
Cannabis and Wellness
Cannabis is opening up new ways of thinking about wellness, illness and treatment. A preventive approach to wellness can help you achieve long-term health and longevity before illness occurs. A balanced diet, plenty of exercise and cannabis all go hand-in-hand when it comes to establishing and maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle.