You’ve probably heard of a “runner’s high,” when a person gets a rush of endorphins during or after an intense cardio workout, but what about getting high before running? Believe it or not, science backs up this idea. Of course, you’ll probably want to stick to a strain that will energize you and not leave you couch-locked. And you won’t want to smoke too much before you hit the treadmill.
The Science Behind Cannabis and Running
The connection between cannabis and exercise is a fascinating one. Researchers in Australia found that THC helps burn body fat, as the body stores THC in fat cells. They also discovered that the higher a person’s body mass index (BMI), the more THC would increase in the blood during a workout. So if you’re looking to lose weight, smoking some weed before a 30-minute workout can help.
Another study from 2013 backed up this finding. Researchers discovered that weed smokers have, on average, 16 percent less fasting insulin and 17 percent lower insulin levels in their bodies than those who do not smoke. Insulin is released in the body when blood sugars are above normal. The more insulin, the more fat your body stores. Insulin also prevents your body from burning fat.
The good news is that cannabis, when combined with a healthy diet and exercise, can lower your insulin levels quite a bit. It can also help with stress and anxiety.
Other Reasons to Run While Stoned
In addition to burning excess body fat, running while high will help get you in that great workout headspace without leaving you mentally and physically burned out. When your body is working hard, it releases a hormone called cortisol. This triggers our natural “fight or flight” response, helps to regulate blood pressure, and keeps us awake and active during the day.
However, too much cortisol can seriously stress our bodies out. People with too much cortisol are more likely to get sick, and may even experience sexual problems. Luckily, studies show that cannabis is great for controlling and reducing anxiety. Strains high in CBD and lower in THC, for example, have been shown to relax our nervous system and lower our overall stress levels.
So if you smoke the right strain before running, you’ll be able to focus on your mileage and speed and deal with less racing thoughts and everyday worries.
Choosing the Perfect Strain
Everyone reacts differently to different strains of cannabis. If you need a quick boost of energy, sativa strains like Sour Diesel, Purple Trainwreck, Lemon Haze, and Blue Dream are a good bet. Indica strains like Northern Lights and Master Kush have more of a relaxing effect.
As for the perfect strain for exercise, consider one with higher levels of CBD than THC, like Harlequin. This strain has a 5:2 ratio of CBD: THC. Strains like Grape Ape can help with pain, while hybrids like Green Crack are great for lifting your mood and energy levels without making you anxious.
Just remember to pace yourself while smoking, vaping, or eating any of these cannabis strains. Know your tolerance level and keep track of how you feel after smoking and then going for a run. You can also smoke right after your workout, leaving you in a total blissed-out space of feel-good endorphins and endocannabinoids.