Marijuana, a juicy topic on the forefront of several debates and groundbreaking research. Its benefits have been extensively researched over the last several decades, showing positive results in the majority of cases. While these are mainly focused on benefits to health and use of medication, other studies reveal surprising benefits that come from getting a little high on the regular.

A recent study conducted by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) showed positive results when testing mice while exercising under the influence. We have all heard of the runners high, the euphoric state that takes us over during a good workout, giving us that extra burst of energy to do one more rep. Scientists have long blamed the phenomena on endorphins released while working out. These endorphins, when fed to the brain in large quantities, create a dazed state, one that everyone seems to be anxious to return to. But evidence showed that this ‘runners high’ could be reached when receptors in the brain were connected with cannabis. A quite different perspective from lounging out on the couch for hours surrounded by junk food. Studies actually showed workouts were more effective when a little baked. However, it’s not to say go ahead and light up a joint before you go to the gym, like with all good things, this too must be used in moderation.

The thing about weed is that it has a ‘bidirectional’ effect. This means that it affects people differently at different doses. While some feel lazy, others get a creative spark, and others a burst of energy. For this reason, it is first recommended to take a look at your relationship with Mary Jane understanding what dosage is correct for the desired effect. Though the sensations may not be the same, the benefits tend to be. Those that have worked out high tend to reap three main benefits from lighting up before hitting the gym.

Better Workout

Of those that turned to the natural green instead of chemically heavy powders as a pre-workout enjoyed a better workout. They reported that they were able to focus better and concentrate, completing more reps while being in a more relaxed state. With a little THC pumping through the blood, the muscles tend to be relaxed and the joints lubricated, taking away any potential tensions while pumping iron. As San Milan, the director of sports and performance at the University of Colorado stated:

“Obviously, your mental state plays a role in how well you perform. And, in certain situations when reducing anxiety or pain is beneficial, marijuana may be helpful despite its ergolytic [impairment] properties. That is, if it is good enough to prescribe for chronic pain, it should work with exercise pain too.”

Better Mood

We all know the stereotype, the peace and loving hippies of the 60’s. That same constant state of happiness is thanks to cannabis use, with those that smoke regularly showing a better attitude and a healthier mental state. This can do wonders while doing repetitive exercises that easily get boring like pumping iron or running on a treadmill. Doing these types of exercises are food for the creative part of the brain, stimulating thoughts and bringing about the best ideas. Combining that with cannabis and its ability to create the same spark makes it a killer combination that will have you looking and feeling better while walking out of the gym with a smile and off to a better day. Both exercise and marijuana have been known to reduce depression and anxiety as well, giving a solution to the two diseases that are on the rise nowadays.

Better Recovery

After a good pump or a good run comes the dreaded soreness, sometimes leaving us moving uncomfortably for days. The good thing about incorporating a weed regimen before and/or after the gym is that smokers will see a reduction in recovery time. This happens for two reasons: one because when smoking before, exercises tend to be less strenuous as the muscles and joints are more easily relaxed during execution. The second being that afterward, smoking allows for quicker recovery and helps to manage pain from more difficult workouts better. Apart from a small drag after a workout, there are also options to use cannabis-based salves to manage pinpoint pain, doubling the effect of recovery without the high state of being. Those that smoke on the regular tend to sleep better as well, able to calm the mind which promotes faster recovery and muscle regeneration.

To Use or Not to Use

Though the use and legality of marijuana is still highly debated, the list of health benefits keeps on adding up. As more studies are conducted, the more its use is becoming the newest health craze among all types of health-focused individuals. Incorporating micro-doses into a regular workout regime has proved to show positive results, which is just what the world might need just now, especially these days with depression and anxiety on the rise which in turn has a link to obesity and development of unhealthy habits. Marijuana could be just the thing to promote a healthy lifestyle and a healthy body weight.

Weed doesn’t affect everyone the same and can have different effects depending on the amount and strain. This is why the most important way to take advantage of the benefits is to listen to your body. Be aware of the sensations and levels of energy that flow when you choose to smoke. Pay attention to different activities that you can and can’t do while high. Also, try and point out differences in strains and amounts, doing a bit of a trial run before you incorporate it into your regular schedule. Once the perfect amount is found, its time to start taking advantage of the benefits, which are way too large to list. Those that choose to start smoking will notice several changes to overall health and happiness, with the majority of these changes happening immediately. Take advantage of a better workout, a better mood, and better recovery time with marijuana.