The use of cannabis prior to running is associated with greater feelings of enjoyment and tranquility, according to data published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.            

Study participants ran an average of 3.88 miles. Participants reported “a more positive exercise experience” when they ran immediately after having used cannabis as compared to when they did not.            

Authors reported: “Participants reported experiencing more positive affect, enjoyment, tranquility, and runner’s high symptoms (e.g., euphoria, effortlessness) while running after ad libitum (as needed) use of cannabis. This is in line with previous cross-sectional research suggesting that cannabis use with exercise may increase exercise enjoyment.”            

They concluded: “As feelings of positive affect, dissociation, and enjoyment during exercise are positively associated with an individual’s ability to begin and maintain a regular exercise regimen, it is possible that cannabis use may actually facilitate exercise motivation and engagement among some cannabis users. These findings could explain, in part, why cannabis users are more likely to meet minimum physical activity guidelines and have lower body mass indexes, as well as why cannabis users who use cannabis when they exercise engage in more exercise on average relative to users who do not engage in this behavior.”            

Data published in 2022 by researchers at Wayne State University strongly suggests that endocannabinoids are responsible for the so-called ‘runner’s high’ experience. “Exercise reliably increases levels of the body’s endocannabinoids [and] … studies in humans and in animal models are pointing to endocannabinoids — not endorphins — as the star players in the runner’s high,” wrote Hilary A. Marusak, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences at the university. “This natural chemical boost may better explain some of the beneficial effects of exercise on [the] brain and body.”

Several prior studies have documented the relationship between cannabis use and greater physical activity in both younger and older populations.

An abstract of the study, “Running high: Cannabis users’ subjective experience of exercise during legal market cannabis use versus no use in a naturalistic setting,” appears online.

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