Getting a Lift

When consuming cannabis, compounds are released that trigger a chemical reaction within your body and brain, affecting the five senses – probably an obvious statement if you’ve ever had an elevated experience. But, what if, instead of vegging out on a couch, you put your elevation into a different gear to make an hour at the gym more enjoyable, by getting creative and writing in a journal, or by enhancing an intimate encounter?

Below are only five things that lend well to getting lifted….

Working Out

If you’re new to cannabis, the idea of exercise is likely far from your mind. However, an appropriate amount of THC has been said to help you push your body to its full physical potential.

Everyone has what’s called the endocannabinoid system (ECS); it’s a unique communication system made of cannabinoid receptors in the brain and body that affect the way a person feels, moves and reacts to different sensations when interacting with THC. This is important to understand when working out because, when interacting with THC – the main psychoactive compound in cannabis – the neurotransmitters in the ECS change the way the body perceives pain or physical exhaustion, allowing you to push your body further than you usually would in pursuit of gains.

Altering your perception of physical exhaustion is what makes understanding your relationship with cannabis so important, because you want to push yourself without surpassing your physical limits and actually hurting yourself. Dr. Dustin Sulak, an osteopathic and physician based in Maine, suggests someone should consume “lower than what people are used to doing for recreation, for lack of better words” if they’re going to experiment with cannabis for getting fit. Micro-dosing – taking a minute amount of cannabis that’s high in THC – allows for a controlled response and makes a work out less intense and more tolerable, thus allowing for a few more reps, or a further run on the treadmill.

Although there is anecdotal evidence to support this idea, there is still very little scientific research that has been done on the subject.

Listening to Music

As explained by Jorg Fachner, a music professor and writer of the study Cannabis as a Hearing Aid, THC alters our perception of time, changing the way we listen and by extension, the way we focus.

When interacting with THC, our ‘internal clock’ is slowed down. Fachner’s study argues, under the influence of cannabis, 15-seconds feel like an average of 16.7-seconds. It might seem like a small difference, but this slight change allows you to focus on different and specific information.

Fachner explains that “Time expansion may temporarily allow an increased insight into the space between the notes. This might help experienced individuals to perceive acoustic sound structures more effectively”.  Therefore, listening to music after consuming cannabis allows you to hear music more clearly, providing a unique experience. So even if you put on your favourite track, it might feel like you are listening to it for the very first time.

Going for a Nature Walk or Hike

If you are a nature lover – or someone desperately in need of some time out of the city – try going on an elevated nature walk or find a hike with a view; your heightened senses will make the great outdoors truly relaxing.

As spoken about in the article Cardiovascular Pharmacology of Cannabinoids by Pacher, Batkai and Kunos, after consuming cannabis, most people experience mild to moderate dose-dependent hypertension – simply known as an increase in blood pressure and blood flow. This means all organs in your body receive more blood supply then they are used to (including in your eyes).

As they receive more blood, your pupils will dilate allowing for more light to enter your eyes resulting in your ability to see brighter colors. Much like the feeling of hearing your favorite song for the first time, seeing the outdoors through green-tinted glasses, allows you to take in views from a whole new perspective.

Having Sex

If cannabis elevates all five of our senses, it should not be surprising that sex is something worth considering. In a 2016 qualitative study, Joseph Palamar explored this very topic, interviewing 24 heterosexual adults about stoned sex. His results suggest that compared to drunken sex, where sensation is muted, sensations are enhanced during sex after consuming cannabis.

But, why? While under the influence of alcohol, your thought process and cognition are slowed down but the parts of your brain tied to sexual urges remain untouched. This explains why you might make uncharacteristic sexual choices when drunk. Conversely, when THC enters your bloodstream, it stimulates testosterone production, making you horny without compromising your cognition to the extent alcohol does. Combine that with the relaxing and mood-lifting effects of cannabis, and a good time could be in the cards.

Getting Creative

Cannabis elevates your creativity with the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain that creates a feeling of euphoria. This release of dopamine turns off your internal editor, allowing your thoughts and actions to move freely.

Getting creative is not only fun after consuming, but also said to be a good brain exercise; it allows you to break through practical thought barriers making way for full creative flow.

Morgan, Rothwell, et al also refer to this creative flow as hyper-priming in their 2010 study, Hyper-priming In Cannabis Users. An increase in dopamine results in our ability to make connections between concepts that otherwise might be thought of as unrelated – otherwise known as  ‘ah-ha’ moments. This permits for an expanded mind that looks beyond the practical and into a full creative space, and it might just result in some really great short stories to laugh at later.

Story by Sophie Naprawa
Graphic by Andrew Cooper

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The preceding is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to condone the use or consumption of cannabis. For more information, please refer to our disclaimer

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