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For Our Health Nugs

An ongoing series of informative entries

workout equipment on a dock
workout equipment on a dock

Photo Caption:

Cord & Crystal in Gravenhurst is a small local business creating whimsical designs using macrame and crystals. This carrying strap for yoga mats is one of C&C’s latest creations.

Instagram: @cordandcrystaldesigns 


Joining the Two Journeys: Cannabis and Yoga

Tips for Integrating Cannabis onto the Mat 


July 16, 2021

Yog​a is widely practiced all over the world and at varying levels. Evidence shows yoga originated in Northern India approximately 5,000 years ago and has no substantial connections to religion, which is a common misconception about the practice. The beauty of yoga is that anyone can practice it regardless of religious or cultural background, as it is a highly personal and individual journey. Yoga is predominantly geared toward pursuing a sense of enlightenment through a wide range of practices like deep meditation, chanting mantras and controlling or manipulating bodily movement to the yogi’s desire. This allows one to work on unifying mind, body and spirit to reach a sense of complete self-enlightenment and self-actualization.


The yogi community is highly diverse and therefore has differing opinions on using cannabis while practicing. It’s important to look at the reasons why some yogis steer clear of cannabis while they practice while, at the same time, understanding why some yogis gravitate toward it. On one side of the spectrum, developing the skills to focus and hone your practice with a pure or clear mind and without the effects of cannabis (or any other substance) is an argument against using cannabis while on the mat. On the other side, cannabis is believed to act as a tool that enables those who are either struggling to quiet their minds, face physical obstacles that hinder their body movements due to aches and pains, or who simply want a deeper meditation experience.


Wherever you may fall on this yogi spectrum, it is important to gain a full and well rounded understanding of all perspectives before integrating cannabis in your practice. With that said, we have some tips that can help unite your cannabis and yoga journey.


Finding Your Balance

Whether it’s physical, mental or spiritual, yoga is all about reaching a place of balance. Physical balance can be impaired when consuming cannabis, so it’s important to know how much it takes before that happens. You don’t want to be falling over or struggling to hold a pose during a yoga class because you consumed a little too much cannabis. The best way to determine if you actually can consume cannabis while practicing yoga is by trying it out at home. A test run in the privacy of your own home will help you determine how much cannabis you can consume before a yoga session, the physical intensity level you can withstand and it may save you some embarrassment if you realize you cannot carry out the physical aspects of yoga (losing balance or easily falling over during a class).


Breathing Easy

Yoga requires proper breathing techniques that allow you to focus and carry out specific poses or meditative practices. If you decide to consume cannabis by inhalation - like smoking or vaping flower and concentrate - it could work against you by having an impact on your regular breathing. If you find the inhalation method to leave you short of breath or have any other effects not conducive to practicing yoga there are ways around this. You could give yourself more time between toking up and joining a yoga session or you could switch up how you consume cannabis. Another good idea is to drink lots of water to avoid a dry mouth and throat if you do decide to smoke or vape.

Eating Edibles Responsibly


The golden rule of eating edibles apply when choosing this method of consumption and are arguably more important when practicing yoga. If you need a reminder, the golden rule is: go low, go slow. Edibles are tricky when adding yoga into the mix because there are factors such as timing, dosing and increased intensity of effects. Before even contemplating edibles on the mat, it’s very important to know exactly how they affect you and timing how long specific cannabis products take to hit; so a test run is essential before taking it to any yoga session. By sticking to the same type of edible specifically for yoga, you can ensure that there are no surprises during the sessions.

Some yogis claim that edibles are rewarding in all aspects of their practice. They say it gives a dreamlike, out-of-body experience that allows them to reach a higher and more meaningful level of their sense of self. Everyone’s experience differs depending on the amount taken, intensity of the session and where they are in their yoga journey...so don’t be surprised if you can’t have an out-of-body experience for your first time with edibles and yoga!


Staying Focused

Focus during a yoga session is essential when following the instructors movements and cues. If you consume too much cannabis and become too high, there is a very good chance you will lose focus easily and therefore miss out on some benefits from the practice. The goal is to be high enough to clear your mind of distractions and be in the moment, but sober enough to follow instructions. If you find you are losing focus, pay special attention to your breathing and let it ground you, bringing you back to the mat. Once you have centered yourself you should be able to follow along with the session once again.


Selecting Strains

Choosing a strain to accompany your yoga session is pretty straightforward as the practice is slower paced with intentional movements, controlled breathing and requires a relaxed mind. Identifying a strain that lends itself to body highs and anxiety reduction is a great place to start when determining what your yoga-strain is. Indicas or indica-dominant hybrids with a higher CBD percentage will help manage your high and decrease the chance of getting too high to practice. Strains like Harlequin and AC/DC are good places to start.

However you decide to practice yoga, with or without cannabis, it is always a wise idea to understand both sides of the spectrum. If you decide to unite those two journeys make sure you do so safely and with the right intentions. Cannabis is widely used by yogis as a tool to aid in reaching milestones in mindfulness and, hopefully with these tips, you could be one step closer to reaching enlightenment as well!

workout equipment on a dock


Munching Responsibly


June 3rd , 2021

We’ve all been there-being high and then bingeing everything in sight like our bellies are bottomless pits. Our bellies aren’t bottomless but why we feel this is simple: the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in cannabis is the main cause for why our appetites increase. Emerging research has given us two reasons as to why this is.


Reason One: Receptors

For a substance to work or function within the body it needs to find the right receptors. THC interacts with the receptors located in our nervous system (the brain). Specifically, the parts of the brain that activate appetite according to Dr. Rachna Patel, who counsels cannabis consumers for medicinal purposes. Essentially, the higher the THC content is in your bud, the more severe your munchies may be.


Reason Two: Hormones

You may also feel hungry due to a hormone secreted from the stomach known as ghrelin which sends signals to your brain to let it know you are hungry. According to Dr. Gary Wenk, a neuroscience professor and researcher for a cannabis advisory board, there is a relationship between cannabis consumption and the secretion of this hormone. When this happens the receptors in your brain activate and make you want to eat.


What We Crave & Why

Experts say cannabis plays into the rewarding feeling you get when eating food. Our brains crave foods with high amounts of calories typically found in sugary, salty and fatty snacks. When our brain gets these snacks it releases high amounts of dopamine - which is responsible for why we feel pleasure - and feeds the reward system. Essentially, when we eat these types of snacks it makes us feel pleasure and encourages us to eat more in order to keep pleasure (or dopamine levels) high. This is a reason we tend to want to order a pizza or eat an entire party size bag of chips when the munchies come knocking.


Tips on Munching Responsibly

Since our bodies crave salty, fatty, sugary foods, eating a salad will probably not satiate the ravenous hunger we feel after seshing. A way to stay satisfied while keeping relatively healthy is to find alternative sources of sugar, fat and salt. The most full-proof way to ensure you stay healthy while munching is planning ahead. Make sure you have access to these healthier alternatives by shopping at your favourite local grocer beforehand, prepare your snack before seshing and/or have ready-to-eat as well as easy-to-prepare snacks on hand.


Munchie Alternatives

Fatty Snacks

Guacamole & Baked Tortilla Chips

Cheese Board

Peanut Butter & Banana

Cream Cheese Spread & Bell Pepper with Everything But The Bagel Seasoning

Sugary Snacks

Frozen Grapes

Fruit Smoothie

Fruit Platter

Trail Mix with Nuts & Dried Fruit or Dark Chocolate

Salty Snacks

Salted Dry-Roasted Nuts

Baked Chips

Popcorn

Salted Edamame

--

There are so many healthy munchie alternatives than what is listed above, these are just suggestions. Working within your resources it is possible to come up with creative and delish snacks that are both satisfying and easy. It is so important to understand that moderation is key to avoid consuming enormous amounts of calories when trying to be health conscious. Although these are good healthy alternatives, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. If you have dietary restrictions and are unsure of specific food alternatives always consult your healthcare provider. Be mindful of how much and how fast you consume and munch responsibly!  



workout equipment on a dock


The Sesh Before the sesh: Working out & consuming cannabis

What does it do for us?

May 20, 2021

Cannabis consumers who sesh before working out may be onto something when it comes to optimizing their physical activity. Working out provides the body with increased levels of endorphins which make us feel euphoric or high, commonly referred to as experiencing a “runner’s high.” However, endorphins are only a small part of why we feel so good after a workout. Research now shows that the high feeling comes from the activation of our endocannabinoid system. Cannabis reacts with this system the same way exercise does.


Health Nugs, we understand why you enjoy cannabis before and/or after your workout. We will break down some reasons why it is so enjoyable based on the effects consumers claim it has that help them get through a workout.


Get’s your head in the game

A workout challenges the strength and endurance of your body in order to reap the benefits of physical activity. In other words the, “no pain, no gain” mentality surrounding working out is unavoidable and inevitable. Cannabis is slowly changing that mentality among individuals, from fitness beginners to advanced enthusiasts, who are associating working out with positive attitudes rather than a negative one. When you are not bogged down with emotional fatigue concerning the “pain” part of working out it greatly helps you get in the mood or zone before a workout. Cannabis boosts the moods of many people who use it. According to a study published in Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, when people use cannabis in conjunction with working out, it strengthens the association between an increased mood and reinforces the positive attitude towards exercise. It is important to remember that this statement is broad-based and ultimately, cannabis affects everyone differently. Some people may be able to sesh and then workout, others may not have that capacity for a number of different reasons. Just because you workout and consume cannabis together does not mean you will automatically have a better level of fitness or health.


A closer look at how cannabis and exercise work together

As we established, the high from exercise and cannabis are one in the same in terms of how it affects our bodies. They both activate the endocannabinoid system to feel the high rather than, the previously thought, increase of endorphins. We know what the most popular cannabinoids are in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD); but did you know that these cannabinoids are stored in fat and can come from either cannabis or can be naturally occurring via the endocannabinoid system? As we exercise and burn fat, we are releasing small amounts of THC back into the bloodstream to give that euphoric feeling after a workout. The endocannabinoid system is responsible for pain management, appetite control and affects our memory and mood.


How cannabis is believed to affect your metabolism

In order to talk about metabolism we have to talk about insulin. Essentially, insulin is a hormone that lets the cells in your body know when to use sugar as an energy source. Fasting insulin is the amount of insulin in your bloodstream before eating and insulin resistance is when cells are not able to use the sugar already in your bloodstream for energy. People who are insulin resistant run into an issue where their body has to produce more insulin to make up for it which results in having conditions like high blood sugar levels, obesity and high blood pressure.


So, why is this important to know for you Health Nugs? With emerging research surrounding cannabis and health, it reinforces the benefits consumers claim about the plant. An article published in American Journal of Medicine conducted a study analyzing the relationship between cannabis consumption and the body’s metabolic process. They found that consistent cannabis consumers have lower fasting insulin rates compared to those who do not by 16 per cent. The study also found that cannabis consumers had lower insulin resistance levels by 17 per cent as well as a smaller average waist measurement. The results of this study point to the conclusion that cannabinoids from the cannabis plant help increase metabolic processes.


Tips for toking up before working out

 

1. Know your limits: If you have never exercised high before, start low  and go slow (the basis of every cannabis ‘rule’). Try not to get too high and not to workout too hard. Figuring out your comfort zone with physical activity and cannabis will help you pinpoint that sweet spot for the pre-workout sesh.


2. Consult your health practitioner: Cannabis causes an increased heart rate so with underlying heart diseases like heart arrhythmias, it would be a wise decision to talk to your healthcare practitioner about cannabis use and exercise.


3. Workout buddies: If possible, have a buddy join you for a few workout sessions to ensure you are doing it correctly. Poor form during a high workout is a possibility if you have little experience with it...you don’t want to hurt yourself!

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