Weed before a workout

Ngaio Bealum is a Sacramento comedian, activist and marijuana expert. Email him questions at ask420@newsreview.com.

Marijuana and high blood pressure … what’s the deal?

When you take a puff of pot, your blood pressure goes up just a little bit. Some strains—especially the ones we call sativas such as TrainWreck, Durban Poison and Jack Herer—cause a temporary increase in the heart rate as well. If you’ve ever smoked a joint and then felt your heart racing, you know what I mean.

However, about 10 to 15 minutes after smoking, your blood pressure actually goes down, and the bodies of long-term cannabis users often adjust so that heart rate and blood pressure don’t increase at all. And there have been studies of the endocannabinoid system that say that chronic cannabis use may elicit a long-term decrease in heart rate and blood pressure. So the real answer is: Weed probably doesn’t affect your blood pressure too much, and we need more studies to see if weed (or some sort of chemical compound made from the stuff we find in the weed plant) can actually help you maintain a healthy heart.

Does smoking before the gym have any impact on the effectiveness of a workout?

Yes. There are studies that show that folks who smoke cannabis tend to work out more often and for longer periods of time. Also, cannabis users tend to have better insulin levels and better metabolisms than non-users. Here is another weird fact: Since THC is stored in the fat cells (which is why you can fail a drug test even when you haven’t smoked in a while), all that fat you burn while exercising will release a little THC into the bloodstream. Talk about a runner’s high.

Also: weed is a natural anti-inflammatory, so people can work out a little harder and recover a little faster. Don’t get so high that you can’t remember how to work the rowing machine, but a puff or two before you hit the gym or the basketball court won’t hurt.

If I put an edible in my butt, will I get high?

I know you are trying to be funny, but here’s the deal: a regular edible in your anus (this is science, so we use the correct terms) will not cause intoxication. However, for many people suffering from Crohn’s disease, cancer, and a few other ailments that make it difficult for them to use cannabis in the traditional manner, cannabis-infused suppositories are a lifesaver. Paula-Noël Macfie’s website (backdoormedicine.org) can give you more information.