After decades of being illegal, cannabis is finally making its way into being culturally acceptable. This monumental shift in perception was sparked by the millions of people who are now educated to the fact that they were misled about the properties of cannabis and how it can help our society. Ancient civilizations always knew this but modern science has now proven that THC and other cannabinoids found in cannabis help us with pain relief, cancer treatment, the regulation of our metabolic rates and the reduction of insulin resistance.
Our bodies use insulin to convert carbohydrates into sugar for use as energy or convert excess sugar into fat and store it for later use. Insulin also functions as a regulator to ensure that your blood sugar levels are at the right level for optimum functionality. When you have a meal that causes your blood sugar levels to rise too fast then your body produces more insulin to convert the excess fuel into fat. Too much glucose in your body will make you gain weight because it is all being stored in your fatty deposits. You will also gain weight if your body is unable to properly use its insulin.
Pro-cannabis supporters will have you believe that cannabis can help you with everything that ails you and they could be right. In the case of insulin regulation though, they have proven to be correct. The American Journal of Medicine run a study which showed that the insulin levels in the bodies of regular cannabis consumers is 16% lower than that of people who do not consume it. The study brought together information from a survey done on over 50,000 Americans and also found that regular cannabis users were 17% less resistant to insulin and had slimmer waistlines.
THC and Exercise
Even athletes are confident that regular use of cannabis helps to keep then fit. Usain Bolt, the fastest runner in the world and Michael Phelps, the fastest swimmer in the world, are both regular users of cannabis. Countless other athletes also use cannabis regularly and believe that the active ingredients in cannabis such as cannabidinol and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabidinol are helping them reach their peak performance levels. The way that cannabinoids reduce their anxiety and increase their tolerance for pain makes them better at pushing their bodies beyond their limits.
Their claims are backed by science which shows that cannabis has anti-inflammatory properties that are so effective because of how closely cannabinoids mimic naturally occurring feel-good hormones called endorphins.
Endorphins are not the only compounds that make physical activities such as sex and exercise feel so good. Our bodies have a system of receptors called endocannabinoids which react to exercise in the same way that they do to cannabinoids. This system is made up of a fatty oils and it works to control our appetites, regulate our moods and ease pain.
When we are exercising our bodies naturally produce their own cannabinoids to interact with the endocannabinoid system and reduce pain. We produce higher levels of cannabinoids when exercising which is why some athletes say that they feel a natural high when they exercise.
The medical industry has known for years that our bodies store THC in fatty deposits. What is new to them is the knowledge that this stored THC is released when athletes are exercising to give them more stamina, according to a study released in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.
The breakdown of fat for energy releases the THC that was stored in the fatty deposits, freeing it up for use which gives you a feeling similar to taking a fresh dose of cannabis. The rise in THC in the bloodstream was found to go up by 15% after light exercise however they dropped back to normal levels two hours afterwards.
The researchers came to the conclusion that exercising for just half an hour while after taking marijuana will make the marijuana more potent. They also found a strong correlation between the release of THC and BMI because people with higher BMIs had a greater amount of THC reintroduced into their bodies from fatty deposits.
Exercise and the Brain’s Endocannabinoid System
Cannabinoids reach their highest levels in our bloodstreams close to 5 minutes after inhaling marijuana smoke or 90 minutes after ingesting pot edibles. They start to interact with the endocannabinoid system 20 minutes after that.
The endocannabinoid system plays a vital role in regulating major functions in our bodies that help to promote homeostasis. When we are stressed or feeling pain our bodies releases their own cannabinoids to interact with the endocannabinoid system and maintain our overall health. Naturally occurring cannabinoids are released into the bloodstream and react with the endocannabinoids in our bodies in the same way that the cannabinoids in marijuana such as THC and CBN would.
THC interacts with CB1 receptors which are mainly in the brain and cannabinol interacts with CB2 receptors which are primarily in immune cells. Cannabidiol does not bind with either receptor however it still plays a major role in pain relief, appetite stimulation and hormonal stimulation.
An epidemiological study run in 2013 showed that the rate of obesity among all pot users was lower when compared to those who have not smoked cannabis in 12 months despite the fact that cannabis users have greater appetites and therefore eat more. One explanation for a drug that makes people hungry resulting in weight loss is that the users gain a tolerance for the appetite stimulating effects over time.
The lower BMI among regular cannabis smokers is because their brains are exposed to more signals for down-regulation. Their appetites may be stimulated however the cannabinoids help the body to maintain its most efficient level of body weight by increasing its metabolic rate when it feels that there is too much energy stored in the fatty deposits.
THC and THVC in particular reduce body weight. Studies ran on mice showed that these two compounds increase metabolism rates within fat cells. This does not mean that marijuana will be the solution to obesity because very few strains currently available on the market have adequate levels of THCV. What you can do instead is stock up on one of the four strains known not to induce the munchies.