A cannabis runner’s high? Is that such a thing and can weed and sport really be combined ? The old stereotype of the stoner glued to their couch has been smashed many times in recent years as a result of scientific research and changes in cultural attitudes. So the fact that cannabis and sports are so frequently mentioned together is no longer any real shock or surprise, so let’s take a look at exercise high and cannabis high research.
In recent months the results from yet another scientific study suggest that the ‘runner’s high’ is actually the result of exercise triggering the body’s endocannabinoid system, producing an effect which has some parallels with the cannabis high. Traditionally this well documented sensation was attributed to endorphins, but research from the UK suggests that exercise actually activates the body’s endocannabinoid system – which regulates many of the body’s most critical functions, including memory, emotions, sleep and pain control.
“Our study clearly shows that exercise increases the body’s own cannabis-type substances. Which can have a positive impact on many conditions,” says Dr. Amrita Vijay, from the University of Nottingham’s school of medicine.
Weed and Sport
Is this the reason that USA track and field star, Sha’carri Richardson has a smile on her face?! The 100 meter sprinter didn’t make the team for last year’s Olympics after testing positive for cannabis. However the incident, apart from highlighting just how prevalent marijuana is in sports, has led to calls for the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) to review its policy to ban those who test positive for cannabis.
The exercise high is commonly known as a ‘runner’s high’. This is actually a state more commonly associated with long distance running rather than a quick sprint. “The true but rare runner’s high is a zone that we enter when everything seems to click perfectly, when time stands still, and when we can run almost without effort,” says American Marathon runner and journalist Amby Burfot, speaking on the topic.
Cannabis and Exercise
One of the spin offs of recreational cannabis legalization has been the freedom to express a relationship with cannabis in ways which could not have been imagined before (or at least not without scepticism, mild horror or a stream of Cheech and Chong jokes). Now there is a growing culture dedicated to cannabis fitness, across a range of sports. Low doses of cannabis, consumed in combination with exercise, are suggested to aid pain relief, physical tolerance and (probably not surprisingly!) an increased enjoyment of the exercise experience.
Rather than racing from A to B, stimulated by a need to be the best you can be, cannabis and sport is more often about enjoying the ride. The positive relationship between working out and cannabis is also recognized in the context of post-exercise recovery, in relation to the relaxation and anti-inflammatory properties of cannabinoids – THC for example has 20 times the anti-inflammatory strength of aspirin.
Cannabis high and exercise high combined
Taking the concept of a ‘cannabis type’ runner’s high to the next level is the actual ‘cannabis runner’s high’. This is a topic explored in a new book by Josiah Hesse, a runner and weed consumer who became aware of the popularity of cannabis (the long lasting effects and smoke free method of consumption make edibles a popular choice) amongst ultra marathon and endurance runners.
In an interview with High Times in 2021, he told the interviewer, “There’s a lot of things that I hope Runner’s High achieves, like breaking the stigma about people who use cannabis and allowing professional athletes to be open about their cannabis use… But I think the number-one thing that I want to emphasize with this book is that exercise does not have to suck…. there’s all sorts of barriers that people feel about exercise, both physically and psychologically, that I think cannabis has the power to help and change people’s relationship to their body and to the practice of exercise.”
We can definitely empathize with what he is saying. Long term followers of the Paradise Seeds story will be aware that we are not new to the wonders of the exercise high combined with cannabis high! We were actually cannabis fitness enthusiasts long before it became trendy when we sponsored and rode in the Medical Cannabis Bike Tour, riding 420km in 3 days!