RUNNERS USING CANNABIS TO ENJOY 50 MILE RUNS
Runners high? How ultra-marathon runners are using cannabis for endurance, pain and recovery.
“Running while stoned is therapeutic. It helps me concentrate on the small movements of my body."
Athletes and cannabis. How cannabis is increasingly used more as a nutritional supplement and balancing formulation than a performance enhancing drug. World class athletes discovered weed a long time ago. It wasn't until the last decade that the medical benefits to athletes were widely known. Today, it is known that cannabis' main ingredients, psychoactive THC, non-psychoactive CBD, and other cannabinoids are made to order for an athlete or warrior. Cannabis, particularly strains with both the combination of THC and CBD have powerful anti-inflammatory, pain killing, sedating, and healing properties.
Cannabinoids have been shown to assist in the healing of rodent fractures, where the bones healed at twice the rate of controls. In addition, the fracture bone density was greater Cannabis has been shown to aid in the formation of adequate but not excessive amounts of scar tissue. Certainly after a very hard workout, the athlete needs to recover, and cannabis is effective in dialing down the metabolism so that the body can utilize its energy in healing and repair, as opposed to being turned on excessively, where burnout is a real possibility or probability.
As a painkiller, athletes now know, after it surfaced that hundreds of professional athletes, performers, entertainers have become addicted to opiate pain killers, not to mention the general public. Today there are about 2,000 opiate overdose deaths per year in the average state in America. In Fact this total is very low, because opiate prescription abuse is a causative factor of many times more in the elderly, who have been hooked for decades, and are ultimately ruled to have died of "natural" causes or some condition which opiates were prescribed originally. This is the white plague of America and the west.
ENTER RUNNERS AND CANNABIS
Now that cannabis is known as a powerful healing agents, people who took a puff now and then are taking a second look. Why not use the substance to enhance not only recovery, but also to optimize on the experience. When you run a marathon, there is pain, and the pain lasts about half an our, maybe an hour. This is doable, but in the daily grind, ongoing fatigue and pain take its toll, week after week, month after month. While pushing yourself to the limit, overcoming the pain is a necessary "skill" to acquire, once you're brave enough, once you can deliver at crunch time, excessive punishment does nothing but shorten your career, and quite possibly your life span.
In 2013, Carolyn Ford* began using marijuana to complement her distance training regime.. Ford, an executive from NY began training for her first 100-miler, something perhaps only a few thousand of Americans have ever done, ever. Training for such an event involves being out on the roads or trails for four or five hours at a time. Carolyn thought, why not smoke a little weed and make the training sessions a bit more palatable, like putting some spice on a less than appetizing meal.
“I would put on all of my running clothes, and at the door I would take 3 or 4 gravity bong hits and then immediately start the run.”
Carolyn is obviously a driven individual, complete with the anxious competitor syndrome, which allows a person to pull out energy for the job or competition, but not necessarily in a healthy or optimal way. Enter weed. The THC and other cannabinoids have the property of lowering anxiety and stress, not in everyone, but many, and this was the case for Carolyn.
Ford also says she had trouble processing food while running, which leads obviously to a suboptimal result and deep exhaustion. You can gut it out only so much before the gas, and reserve tank is completely gone. In a 100 mile run, you burn about ten thousand calories depending on your body weight.
In addition to calming energy draining anxiety, Ford was also able to eat, and keep the food down. So you see, running with anxiety and little to no nutrition amounts to cruel and unusual punishment, as opposed to just running freely and getting some nourishment. While some people would say, hey, she's using a performance enhancing drug, others would take exception to the concept that eating normally, while it is performing enhancing to be sure, it is also a normal thing for healthy humans to do.... as opposed, to say, taking male hormones like testosterone or derivatives thereof, 100 times in excess of her female competitors to gain muscle and strength ... something which is clearly not normal in any shape or form.
And this is the way cannabis works in most bodily systems. Cannabinoids can shore up the body's own endocannabinoids that regulate, modulate and normalize the immune system, pain, cerebral function, hunger. When the body's own endocannabinoids are in short supply, this is when symptoms occur, the inability to eat, sleep, anxiety, errant immune responses (arthritis, gastrointestinal disease.
“Running while stoned is therapeutic. It helps me concentrate on the small movements of my body and adapt accordingly to improve my form.”
A 2016 study found that marijuana was the second most used drug among athletes with alcohol coming in as number one. Because of the healthy way that cannabis works, its use among athletes is on the rise. People that never smoked pot are considering adding it as a supplement in their training regime. Not everyone can handle high amounts of THC, as seen in many of today's popular strains. Strains with the non-psychoactive CBD tend to be more palatable to people who can't handle high THC weed, and have opened up cannabis based nutrition to almost every type of individual.
Sadly, today's doctors, your average GP are out of the loop when it comes to even the most basic aspects of sports medicine and nutrition, beyond the advice your mother would give you, get your sleep, eat right, get some exercise. .They're pretty much trained exclusively in using a synthetic pharmaceutical drug to treat whatever condition you might have. You have to go to an elite specialist, and pay tens of thousands of dollars to get usable advise.
This is why many of the sports medical gurus used by the top professional teams have nothing to do with your local doctor, his methods and ways. The top professional doctors are pretty much had to be self taught to supplement their medical education, and education of crude enforcement of the pharmaceutical industry's cookie cutter formula of surgery and or prescription drugs for most and symptom or condition.
As such, few doctors in the so called (but dying) mainstream recommend cannabis. However, times are changing, where in California and other cannabis legal states, cannabis based medicines are increasingly recognized as a superior form of treatment, with less side effects as compared to what are often addictive and side effect ridden pharmaceuticals.
Thought there were a dozen or so negative studies that cannabis does not help with exercise, does not increase strength nor enhance aerobic performance. As such, cannabis and THC are generally not on the list of performance enhancing drugs in many sports leagues and federations. However, there is ample evidence that cannabis dilates the bronchioles and can enhance focus in some individuals. As such, the people that respond in kind, benefit from a better workout. Cannabis too has been shown to be good for inflammation and this includes the lungs, so asthmatics and people with lung conditions may benefit from Vaping before and after exercise.
Rather than cite the findings of a researcher, who was perhaps never an athlete, or never smoked weed, or perhaps is working on his first cannabis or sports related topic, we look to the world class athletes themselves who say things like, say 6 time Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates, cannabis oil is the most valuable supplement I take, more valuable than all the other things I take combined. Dorian's doctor advised him to go it alone when it came to sports medical advice, at one point he said. "Dorian, you know much more than I do about these things..:".
Violent sports like MMA and football now have adapted cannabis as the go to herbal drug for relief. The sports culture now knows that opiate pain killers are a death trap. The Brass of sports organizations still wimp out and play ball with the Feds, to suppress and demonize weed use largely, meanwhile they don't go to hard on cannabis users in their sport, that is, unless the athlete is honest and challenges the hypocrisy of their league or commission, in which case they are usually punished to the max, not for using cannabis, but for failing to stay in line with the powers that be.
“We have seen increases in respiratory capacity, but the results are far from conclusive and tend to be small,Too little seems to be little help, and too much can actually makes the pain worse. I'm apprehensive about the idea of an analgesic during sporting events simply because injured athletes could end up hurting themselves worse instead of stopping when they should. the impact on pain is well established, it’s very dependent on dose.” - Mitch Earleywine, a professor of psychology at the State University of New York
The above statement is pretty much useless. Cannabis is a bronchial dilator, known, cannabis is a pain killer, known for thousands of years, effects are dose dependent, any statement to the contrary would be absurd.
“All of these findings involve the administration of THC-containing cigarettes, but no papers, to my knowledge, have evaluated the efficacy of other cannabis constituents—such as cannabidiol (CBD). There’s an urgent need for more research in this field.”
This statement is true, there is a need for more research, better clinical trials. But understand that today, clinical trials are generally run under budgets from the major pharmaceutical companies that lobby and coerce the system to approve their patentable synthetic drugs, while suppressing everything that is not within their realm, which is vitamins, minerals, herbals, any natural remedy. Again, this is why sports medicine practices are not mainstream, because they are effective, because they are intelligent and scientific. As such, while sports medicine practitioners that are M.D.s are seldom taken to task, however, their work is never popularized and is effectively pushed to the side and out of the reach of the general public. So, ultramarathoners are gobbling down a nice edible, with the right dose along the way, or taking a hit of a Vape pen.
“The immediate difference I noticed was that I didn’t mind what speed I was going, I was more fulfilled and happy with every run, and found that I just enjoyed every run much more. I honestly can't tell you the last time I met an ultrarunner who wasn't also a cannabis user," Colorado-based ultrarunner Avery Collins
Avery, while being a big proponent, urges anyone inclined to try cannabis to keep the dosage small at first, stressing that it’s easy to overdo it. In fact, the science says that a lot of people don't benefit in the first two or three goes, and that they generally over do it and don't come back.
“I’ve taken too much, and I sat on the couch for hours, that’s torture for me.”
At the end of the day, you don't want to go out on a 50 mile training run and over do it by ingesting a potent edible at 30 miles and feel really weird the rest of the way. Remember when you started running, did you start off by running 20 miles??? ... and if you would have, how would you feel? Newbies, nearly always take ther wrong approach to trying cannabis and take much too much. The advice is to start really small and work up over weeks just like you do in training. And along the way, try different strains, vaping and edibles, with different concentrations of cannabinoids and terpenes (which greatly affect results), until you come up with something that fits your biochemistry.
This is the real nature of sports medicine, knowledge coupled with common sense, methodology and observation of cause and effect. This is the alchemy of sports medicine, as practiced by the elites at Manchester United to the sage black belts of MMA.
MMJDOCTORONLINE Notes: If you want to use cannabis to lower your anxiety and hold down food, or to treat other conditions, then you might qualify to be a medical cannabis patient. MMJ patients are exempt from paying much of the California State Tax, that can amount to eighty dollars per ounce. Also, medical cannabis patients have access to all the most potent and exotic strains that recreational users might not have access to.
The MMJDOCTORONLINE 420 evaluation process takes only a few minutes to process online, and patients don't pay until a licensed medical doctor has approved your file. Documents are accepted within the State of California and at some locations in Nevada for the tax exempt purchase of cannabis and concentrates at dispensaries, cannabis clubs, online delivery services and other licensed suppliers of cannabis.
FURTHER READING - ATHLETES AND CANNABIS
Athletes across several sports are now finding the courage to voice their support for similar rule changes. Athletes, like bodybuilder Damian Yates have had enough of playing it politically correct. He uses cannabis and CBD as an important part of his post-competition healing regime. Yates could care less what people think, he doesn't need the establishment's money and doesn't play the game.
"Sadly, the NFL players are really a bunch of pussy's. They take a knee for their cause, whatever that is, but don't stick up for their fellow players busted for pot, who uses it to control pain. What a bunch of rats." - Johnny Rodriguez
"CBD has greatly reduced the pain and recovery time in my elbow after many injuries. I opted for CBD after being educated on the matter, even though I never smoked weed before." - Pro footballer (paraphrase).
It had to happen in San Francisco first. The world's first cannabis gym startup. Soon, people that smoke pot can workout at the same time. Take a toke of some energising weed, like Durban Poison. The THCV will give you a bit of the good old "eye of the tiger". The hit your sets, maybe have a couple of puffs after a heavy set of squats. Then wind down with an Indica loaded with terpenes and some CBD, to nip inflammation at the bud (pun intended). Then hit the steam room and rehydrate with a smoothie with a pinch of mineral rich sea salt to top off the electrolytes. Heaven forbid having a massage on top of all. You might need to hit the sack right there and then.
"I tried exercise but found I was allergic to it - my skin flushed, my heart raced, I got sweaty, short of breath. Very very dangerous."
If the pot-gym concept takes off, it will surely dampen the urban myth that pot smoking makes everyone lazy and somewhat useless. The "inventor" of the pot gym idea is a middle aged athlete, Jim McAlpine, a super fit 46 year old. Contrary to the image of the big scruffy goofy pot smoker, Jim looks forward to smashing that stereotype, starting with his own physique, the buff surfer, skier type who kick ass and smokes a bit of weed while he's ramping up the muscles.
Therapist: Think back. Did your husband mix weed with alcohol and other drugs. When your husband was smoking weed by itself, was he ever violent or extremely troublesome? Or, when he smoked weed, did it make him lazy or a bad father?
"Believe it or not, some folks that take opiate painkillers by the handful, and talk about the dangers of taking dope. We are talking zero knowledge here."
It is true that smoking marijuana can relax and sedate a person. This is an important function of medical marijuana. About one person in twenty gets addicted to marijuana and they can get addicted to the lazy, on holiday feeling. But these people are almost never dangerous nor difficult. They lack productivity and this is a real issue when a family is struggling to make ends meet. To be clear the addiction strength of cannabis is less than the cravings for sugar, alcohol, caffeine and of course narcotics, which are the worst.
Cannabis is the perfect medicine for athletes," says retired NFL offensive lineman Eben Britton over the phone, stating matter-of-factly what's still, generally, considered taboo. (In the world of modern cannabis advocacy, you're never talking about "weed," "pot," "marijuana," or [insert slang term here]. It's cannabis.)
"This is not some back-alley street drug," he continues. "It's a medicinal herb that provides the only potential solution to both concussions/CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) and the opiate epidemic."
That hypothesis is the impetus behind Athletes For Care, a new nonprofit of which Britton—alongside 26 other athletes from the NFL, NBA, NHL and UFC—is a founding member.