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Exercise, Cannabinoids, and Your Health: Understanding the Benefits and Supportive Role of Cannabinoids

How Exercise and Cannabinoids Can Work Together to Improve Your Physical and Mental Health
April 24, 2024
Industry News

The Vital Importance of Exercise and Cannabinoids for Health and Well-being

We all know that regular exercise is good for our health and well-being, but we’re starting to find out more and more about just how vital it is. 

Aside from the immediate health benefits of managing weight, strengthening muscles, and improving mood, exercising throughout life, particularly in older years, can be one of the most effective and powerful interventions to delay brain ageing and combat disease.  

Benefits of Exercise for Health and Well-being

A recently completed study investigated whether greater cardiovascular fitness in midlife is associated with decreased dementia risk in women. The participants were a sample of 1,462 women aged 38-60 over 44 years who were regularly evaluated over a 44-year period. The results were staggering, revealing that high fitness levels delayed dementia onset by 9.5 years, while medium fitness levels delayed onset by five years.

Another study on brain health, tracked the physical activity patterns of nearly 1,500 adults for 30 years. When the participants reached the age of 69, their cognitive state was tested. The results clearly found that being physically active at any time in adulthood is linked with a higher later-life cognitive state.

Numerous long-term studies have also shown that both men and women who report increased levels of physical activity and fitness were found to have approximately 20%–35% reductions in death from any cause, including but not limited to cancers and cardiovascular disease. Being fit or active has been associated with a greater than 50% reduction in risk of cardiovascular disease, while physically inactive middle-aged women (engaging in less than 1 hour of exercise per week) experienced a 52% increase in all-cause premature mortality.1 Overall, these studies suggest that regular physical activity can reduce the risk of mortality from various causes.2  

Alongside diet, this undoubtedly makes exercise one of the best preventative measures there is. 

Cannabinoids for Exercise Support

Extensive research demonstrates that exercise is critical to physical and mental health in later life. So how can you support yourself in staying fit throughout adulthood?

Simply having a solid routine can help – exercising is much easier once you create the habit, as is having a good exercise buddy who can encourage you to keep going, even when you take a break or fall out of love with exercise (it happens to most of us, at some point!). But, pushing back against the stereotype that 'cannabis makes you lazy', many people also turn to cannabinoids to make workouts and recovery much more manageable.

Health leaders believe that as we get older, walking continuously at a brisk pace for just 10 minutes a day is enough to see a 15% reduction in dying prematurely, as well as increased fitness, elevated mood and healthier weight. So why is it that 41% of UK adults aged 40 to 60 walk less than 10 minutes continuously in a  month?

Many people cite 'finding the time' as the most significant barrier, as well as lack of energy and, in some cases, aches and pains that they feel may prevent them from working out properly. And in all of these scenarios, millions are turning to cannabinoids for support.

Fortunately, cannabinoids may be able to help overcome these barriers. 

CBD Benefits for Exercise

CBD Reduces Pain and Improves Daily Activities

How can consuming CBD help you find more hours in the day? You might be wondering. Well in the first case, a pioneering study found that topical CBD application positively impacts elite athletes, significantly improving self-reported pain levels and overall functionality in various aspects of their lives.

In this way, incorporating cannabinoids into one's routine may not directly create more hours in a day, but the pain-relieving, anti-anxiety, and serotonin boosting properties that CBD affords, are certainly useful when considering more efficient use of time!  

Further to this, stress and anxiety are often more prominent causes of feeling short on time than the tyranny of the clock. For example, one study found that people who think about something mildly stressful, such as conflicting goals (saving money vs buying nice things), can lead to such a shift in psychology that there suddenly seems to be less time in the day.  

Adding a regular dose of cannabinoids to your life won't make all your problems disappear, but it can help you manage them (and the resulting stress) more easily.

Cannabinoids for Boosting Energy

Surprising Benefits of Cannabinoids for Exercise

For those who are put off exercising due to lack of energy, it may come as a welcome surprise to learn that cannabinoids can also offer an unexpected energy boost. So much for ‘couch lock’ cannabis being the only option! The more we learn about cannabinoids and terpenes, the more we understand that each can offer quite different properties - and perhaps even more astonishingly, even the same cannabinoid can have polar opposite effects depending on the dose.3

The CBD molecule may be best known for being something to help you relax and support sleep. However, studies have shown that a low dose of CBD (<15 mg) can increase energy, particularly when combined with stimulating terpenes and other adaptogens.

Overcoming Lack of Energy with Cannabinoids

Further research needs to be conducted to fully understand why this is. Still, experts believe it's likely to be down the way CBD directly activates dopamine receptors, the support of a bliss-inducing flow of endocannabinoid anandamide, the regulation of blood sugar levels and the anti-oxidant properties of CBD.

Exercise, Cannabinoids and product development

Suppose you've been thinking about kicking up your exercise game. Good for you. We all should, as if you do nothing else for your health, this one thing will make a massive difference in your life. Cannabinoids can help to make exercise that little bit easier, for a whole host of reasons! Even the athletes are getting on board, so you’re in good company!

As research continues to uncover the potential benefits of combining exercise and cannabinoids, there is an opportunity for product developers to create innovative solutions that support active lifestyles and promote optimal health and well-being. Whether it's through the development of new exercise aids or the creation of targeted cannabinoid formulations, there is tremendous potential to improve the lives of people who are looking to stay fit and healthy. If you're a entrepreneur, a retailer or a supplier, consider exploring this exciting area of opportunity and discovering ways to harness the power of exercise and cannabinoids for the benefit of consumers. Reach out to a member of the team

For more on product development, please see our article, Ultra-marathoners' Influence on Cannabinoid Product Development via Ultra-X Series and Sports Recovery

1 Premature mortality is defined as deaths occurring before the age of 75. It is measured for this indicator using the European Age-Standardised mortality rate for people aged under 75.

2 Physical activity and all-cause mortality: A meta-analysis of 80 studies found that individuals who engaged in higher levels of physical activity had a 30% lower risk of all-cause mortality compared to those who were inactive (Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. 2nd ed. Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services; 2018.)

3 CBD has biphasic properties. Low doses are stimulating, while high doses are sedative.