Have you ever wondered how Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa could smoke so much weed and stay so damn skinny? Well, as a dude who gives fitness advice for a living and smokes weed regularly, I sure have.
Maybe they were gifted with incredibly fast metabolisms, but maybe there is something else at play here that we need to start paying more attention to. That something is the basis for this article and why I am such a strong advocate for the responsible use of marijuana within your fitness regimen.
"But wait. Every time I smoke weed, I eat my entire fridge and don't leave my couch." No one is going to argue that people who do smoke weed don't eat more than people who don't.
The munchies are a real thing, and on average, they lead to marijuana smokers consuming 600 more calories daily than non-smokers. But strangely enough, this doesn't mean that marijuana smokers are struggling with their weight more than the non-marijuana-consuming population.
Actually, it turns out to be the opposite. According to research, marijuana users are 54 percent less likely to suffer from metabolic syndrome than non-marijuana users. That's pretty insane, considering metabolic syndrome is the culmination of all the health problems that are usually associated with overeating.
For those of you wondering what metabolic syndrome is, here are some of the main health problems people suffering from metabolic syndrome encounter:
- High blood pressure - High blood sugar - Excess body weight around the belly and waist - Abnormal cholesterol levels
Basically, they're all the markers that lead to the most serious health disorders like stroke, diabetes and heart disease. No bueno.
What is pretty cool is that — as I mentioned previously — we are seeing that regular weed smokers are able to eat more, but at the same time, they can cut in half the risk of suffering from metabolic syndrome.
So, what is going on here? We can smoke weed, eat more and reduce the risk of getting fat and dying early?
Well, this conversation is complex, and much of the research on the topic is still highly correlational and still being conducted, but here is what we do know. The research linking marijuana and a healthier overall body composition is very promising.
It's so promising that I believe marijuana can be a healthy part of your fitness regimen. No one really cares too much about opinions though, right? Let's talk science. Here are eight scientific reasons to start your weed diet:
1. Reduce stress and anxiety levels.
One of the leading causes for obesity is stress. This problem is two-fold. On one hand, chronic stress is dealt with by 40 percent of Americans by overeating. On the other hand, we have the fact that stress leads to an increase in cortisol levels, which can lead to a spike in stored body fat (specifically in the belly).
An awesome way to overcome chronic stress and anxiety is by taking a low to moderate dose of marijuana. Recent research is showing that one of the main psychoactive ingredients in marijuana, THC, is "strikingly similar to one of the first endocannabinoids discovered in humans, anandamide. By acting on the same pathways of the brain, both seem to hold promise as a treatment for stress and anxiety.”
What I want you to take away from these studies is that stress can make you fat in a number of ways. Marijuana is something you can experiment with to lower your stress levels and perhaps limit the amount of stored fat on your body.
2. Eat more without risking excess weight gain.
I mentioned this study above, but I am going to go ahead and beat this dead horse. Studies are showing that marijuana users eat 600 calories more on a daily basis, but aren't falling victim to excess weight gain like the rest of the population. More research needs to be conducted on this correlation, but this is very promising information regarding the positive effect that marijuana may be having on our metabolism.
3. Reduce your risk for metabolic syndrome.
Again, I'm beating that dead horse. Metabolic syndrome can lead to stroke, diabetes and heart disease. Marijuana users have been shown to be 54 percent less likely to show symptoms of metabolic syndrome.
4. Improve lung function, which makes exercise easier.
Remember when your stoner friends used to complain about not being able to run very far because they smoke too much weed? it turns out the opposite is true.
Whereas nicotine from smoking tobacco causes airways to constrict, THC from marijuana is a bronchodilator, making it easier to breathe. In fact, a study looking at regular weed smokers' lung activity versus non-smokers showed that the weed smokers' performed slightly better.
5. Overcome exercise-halting migraines.
If you have ever experienced a chronic migraine, you know they are no joke. When they come on, you don't want to do anything, especially exercise.
A study at the University of Colorado showed that marijuana significantly improved the well-being of 85 percent of people who suffered from migraines. Some people used the marijuana to help with pain management, and others used it to keep the migraines from coming on at all.
If you or someone you love has been limited in activity due to their migraines, this may be a great option for them to try out.
6. Increase the enjoyment of your workout.
Humans are simple creatures. We want to do what feels good, and we want to have awesome experiences. That is why it's not surprise that when people enjoy physical activity, they are much more likely to participate in it.
Well, we're seeing a link in the enjoyment of exercise for many people who combine marijuana with their physical activity. This is due to the feel good hormones that are released when THC enters your system.
If you are someone who hasn't tried exercise combined with marijuana, this may be the thing that keeps you moving consistently. Or, it may be the thing that keeps you on your couch. The interesting thing about marijuana is that it effects everyone differently, so that's why you need to experiment.
7. Juice your weed and use it as a superfood.
Juicing weed is not going to get you high, but it can have a ton of positive health benefits on your body overall. Marijuana is considered to be a superfood, because it helps with everything, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), glaucoma, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, hypoglycemia, anemia, etc.
8. Overcome arthritis and start moving again.
Now, you may not have arthritis yet, but maybe people you love do. So, after reading this, direct them to this article. Recent research is linking a decrease in inflammation within people who are suffering from arthritis when they consume marijuana.
This decrease in inflammation gets people moving again who otherwise wouldn't be very mobile. Thus, it helps with burning more calories and getting their overall health back on the right path.
I understand consuming marijuana isn't for everyone. We all have our unique body and brain chemistry, so what works for me may not work for you. My sole intention behind writing this article was to shine the light on the emerging research that usually doesn't get much mainstream play. I hope this was helpful, and if it was, please give it a share.