While the endorphins produced from exercise may give you a “runner’s high” (looking at you, Elle Woods), today’s long-distance marathoners and athletes are giving the term new meaning by incorporating cannabis into their training to boost performance and improve recovery.
Is marijuana the new key to athletic performance?
We take a look at why more runners are using cannabis their during training and why it might be the perfect key for a happier, stronger athlete.
Good for your head, better for your legs
Cannabis’ stigma is often associated with stereotypes of being lazy or unmotivated. However, it can allow athletes to train better and smarter. For one, cannabis helps ultra-runners – who often run up to 150 miles a week – stay in touch with their bodies.
As decorated Colorado ultra-runner Avery Collins puts it, “The benefit of being high is you’re more in tune with your body. It keeps you more alert and aware.”
“The benefit of being high is you’re more in tune with your body. It keeps you more alert and aware.”
Additionally, cannabis helps runners combat nausea and pain. These sensations typically stall athletes in their tracks, but they’re not so much of a nuisance for the right amount of edibles.
And for runners battling discomfort, injury, and pain during recovery periods, cannabis can help with that, as well. By reducing inflammation in the joints to improving sleep and rest, cannabis helps runners maximize the quality of their recovery periods.
It also can serve as an alternative to other anti-inflammatory and pain medications, which might violate doping laws or increase strain on runners’ livers and stomachs.
Endorphins, endocannabinoids & Elle Woods
While Elle Woods may have argued that a runner’s high is from endorphins, assistant biology professor Gregory Gerdeman says that this might not be the case. He believes that the natural high experienced by long-distance runners is a result of the brain’s endocannabinoid system kicking into gear.
Moreover, studies have shown that running increases levels of the endocannabinoid anandamide. Anandamide is tied to increased feelings of well-being, suggesting that the body rewards itself with the chemical during extended physical activity.
Anandamide, being a natural cannabinoid in the human body, creates what is, essentially, the exact same effect as THC. So if cannabis and running are processed by the brain so similarly, it makes sense to combine these activities.
…the natural high experienced by long-distance runners is a result of the brain’s endocannabinoid system kicking into gear.
If exercise makes happy chemicals, and cannabis makes happy chemicals, then no one will be at risk of murdering anyone. Right, Miss Woods?
While moderation is important for anything, it’s too hard not to pass up a chance to make something enjoyable (running) even more enjoyable (with cannabis). Just make sure that you enjoy it in a way that works best with your body and your training regimen.
Additionally, the medicinal and recuperative properties associated with cannabis products make these two a match made in the fertile, Earthy soil you’re already running on.
For other great matches to learn more about exploring the combination of exercise and cannabis take a look at how breweries have begun infusing it in their latest batches or restaurants have begun exploring ways to add it to their menu.