Physical Fitness and Cannabis: A Medical Marijuana Doctor’s Perspective
Green Health Docs primarily mission is to give Maryland and Ohio residents medical cannabis cards so that they can access cannabis to better manage their conditions. While being able to treat pain and other symptoms can greatly improve one’s quality of life, so can maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The majority of the patients we see are seeking relief from their chronic pain, and no doubt have been counseled numerous times by their healthcare providers to try and be more active. Using your joints regularly helps to keep them healthier, even if they are arthritic – so could something typically associated with ‘stoners’ lying around eating snacks on the couch actually help you become more physically fit?
By using the right strains and dosages, patients may find that cannabis can be used as a tool not only to relieve their pain and other symptoms, but to improve their overall well-being. We’ve had some chronic pain patients return for their yearly check-ups reporting that they are more active and have been losing weight. This can seem counterintuitive at first, especially since cannabis is often promoted as an appetite stimulant that induces lethargy, but there also exist many strains that increase energy to help you be more active. Some cannabinoids, such as CBN and THC-V, can even help suppress appetite.
Pot Heads and Muscle Heads
In California, the potential exercise benefits of cannabis prompted the opening of a cannabis-focused gym called Power Plant Fitness. Gym-goers there are encouraged to use cannabis in order to improve their workouts. Even professional athletes are coming around to the benefits of CBD and THC. The World Anti-Doping Agency had previously placed THC on the list of banned substances in 1998, but has since changed their stance. Now athletes are actually allowed to test positive for THC, despite what you might think after the fallout Michael Phelps received when caught smoking a bong. CBD is also permitted and can even be used during athletic events if participants desire to.
Of course, most of us aren’t Olympic athletes and don’t have the time or energy to work out like we’d want, much less achieve peak levels of physical fitness. Many have no doubt started countless exercise routines that eventually fizzled out. The key word here is routine: we often get bored of doing the same repetitive exercises and sticking to a consistent schedule. But what if there was an easy way to increase your enjoyment of physical activity? Some patients who respond well to cannabis find that it can make the time fly while grinding out miles or reps at the gym. Not only that, but it has the potential to alleviate exercise-induced asthma for those who also experience that barrier to exercise.
A New Post-Workout Supplement
When getting back into an exercise routine, it doesn’t take long before experiencing another hurdle to your fitness commitment: aches and pains. Unpleasant pains during and after exercise tend to sap our willpower to push through, and can also require additional recovery time. Many professional athletes are discovering that cannabis helps to solve this problem. Cannabinoids, especially CBD, seem to be a great alternative to taking anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen on a long-term basis. Some athletes have even been able to completely forgo using pain pills. Topical cannabis products, such as lotions, balms, and patches, can also be used to tackle joint pain and muscle soreness from both the outside and inside.
Not only can cannabis help you recover by reducing pain and inflammation, it can significantly improve your sleep as well. Failing to get a good night’s rest can be another recipe for disaster, especially for those who try to maintain morning exercise routines. Some of our patients who have experienced weight loss attribute it to having more energy as a result of their improved sleep. Indica strains, particularly those containing cannabinol (CBN), seem to be very effective at promoting sleep, though some people report that CBD helps as well.
Breaking Personal Records with Cannabis?
Before you start hitting a vape pen as a pre-workout supplement, it’s good to take some precautions. The goal with exercise, just like when using cannabis as a medication, is to use as little THC as necessary and to avoid getting really ‘stoned.’ There’s also evidence that cannabis will inhibit your peak performance, so don’t overdo things trying to match your past weight-lifting benchmarks. Just as you shouldn’t drive or operate heavy machinery with cannabis, you should also avoid complex lifting or other exercises. It’s best to take things a little slow when starting out and to use a strain or product you are familiar with.
All of us at Green Health Docs wish you the best of luck with your fitness endeavors and hope that cannabis can be a useful tool for improving your wellness. We provide patients with guidance when it comes to using cannabis products in conjunction with maintaining an active lifestyle, and also broadcast our educational sessions on YouTube and Facebook. For more information or to learn how to become a legal medical marijuana patient in Maryland or Ohio call or text us at 240-356-1000.
About the Author:
Dr. Evan Edwards is a cannabis physician at Green Health Docs and has seen countless patients’ lives improved through the proper use of cannabis as a medication. As vocal advocates for the medical cannabis industry, Dr. Edwards, and the Green Health Docs team help patients receive their medical marijuana cards in Ohio and Maryland.