August 30, 2023 08:00 am ETEstimated Read Time: 5 Minutes
Looking to boost your runner’s high? Consider using a small amount of cannabis before your run.
Traditionally, cannabis has been stereotyped as encouraging laziness, often tied with images of a sedentary lifestyle. Yet, a fresh wave of research has explored the hypothesis that cannabis use could potentially enhance rather than hinder physical activity, particularly running.
A new 2023 study published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research is the focus of this research. It marks a crucial turning point in understanding how cannabis may influence physical health and well-being.
This study challenges common misconceptions and sparks important conversations on how we perceive and integrate cannabis into various aspects of our lives, including fitness and sports.
Can Cannabis Enhance Your Runner’s High?
The primary objective of the researchers was to delve into the relationship between cannabis use and the experience of running. In doing so, they sought to validate or debunk the increasingly popular notion that cannabis could enhance a runner’s high. The study employed a unique methodology to reach this objective: comparing runs that were influenced by cannabis use to those that were not.
This approach provided an exciting opportunity to analyze the potential impacts of cannabis on running experiences in a real-world setting, thereby promising a comprehensive understanding of this relationship.
The Participants and Process
The study involved diverse participants, all within the age bracket of 21 to 49 years, who were already cannabis users. A total of 49 participants were recruited for this research, providing a rich variety of individual experiences to explore. The process was straightforward but profoundly simple: participants were asked to run an average distance of 3.88 miles under two different circumstances.
The first circumstance was a run under the influence of cannabis, and the second was a run in a normal state without any cannabis influence. This setup allowed the researchers to draw parallels and contrasts between the experiences during cannabis-influenced runs and non-cannabis runs: did cannabis enhance the euphoric runner’s high?
The Results of the Study
While the change in running pace drew attention, it was the participants’ feedback that truly illuminated the potential impact of cannabis on running experiences. Participants noted a range of positive effects during their cannabis-influenced runs. These included fewer negative emotions, amplified positive feelings, and an enhanced sense of tranquility and enjoyment.
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Notably, they also reported an amplified ‘runner’s high’ – the euphoric feeling often associated with prolonged exercise. Interestingly, post-run pain levels appeared to be lower after cannabis runs, and perceived exertion remained similar across both cannabis and non-cannabis runs.
An interesting observation from the study was that the form of cannabis used, its cannabinoid content, and the feeling of being ‘high’ did not necessarily correlate with the participants’ running experience. These findings have opened up a rich and complex discourse around the role of cannabis in enhancing physical activity experiences.
Implications of the Findings: Cannabis May Enhance Runner’s High
The implications of these findings are profound and suggest a potential paradigm shift in how we view the intersection of cannabis and physical activity. The research concludes that, for regular cannabis users, the use of the substance could potentially enrich their exercise experience, specifically in the context of running and the coveted “runner’s high.”
However, while these initial results are compelling, they form just the tip of the iceberg. The researchers stress the importance of conducting further studies to deepen knowledge of these interactions, especially regarding potential long-term effects. They also emphasize the need to assess whether these findings are applicable across different populations and exercise modalities. Essentially, these results have shed light on a new avenue of research that could fundamentally reshape perceptions of cannabis and its role in exercise and health.
The findings of this study extend beyond individual experiences and into the realm of general fitness and health practices. The researchers suggest that positive emotions experienced during exercise, potentially enhanced by cannabis use, could foster a commitment to regular physical activity. This idea gains more credibility when considering previous reports highlighting that cannabis users often meet or surpass the recommended physical activity guidelines and typically have lower body mass indexes.
Such reports suggest a potentially beneficial interaction between cannabis use and physical health, an avenue that warrants further exploration in light of the study’s findings.
In wrapping up, we should not overlook the emerging potential of cannabis as a tool to enhance the experience of running. While the initial findings are promising, it’s essential to remember that they represent the starting point, not the end, of this scientific journey. It will be necessary to conduct more comprehensive research to gain a clear understanding of this intriguing interaction between cannabis and physical activity.
As our understanding deepens, we might find ourselves amid a significant perceptual shift, where cannabis transitions from being seen as a substance associated with inactivity to a potential catalyst for healthier, more active lifestyles.
Note: The content on this page is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be professional medical advice. Do not attempt to self-diagnose or prescribe treatment based on the information provided. Always consult a physician before making any decision on the treatment of a medical condition.
Lemetria Whitehurst is a cannabis nurse educator and writer specializing in cannabis science and culture. Her career in the medical industry spans more than two decades where she began her career as a pharmacy technician before becoming a registered nurse. As an avid reader
and researcher, she is passionate about educating others about cannabis’ medicinal properties.
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