The Winter Olympics are over and spring is knocking on the door. Are you the type to lace up your running sneakers while rolling up a J? Check out The Dopebook boys in-depth look at the possible benefits or detriments of smoking weed and exercising.
Words by Francis Bakin and Dabby Bongaduce Art by Tony Washington
Arnold Schwarzenegger. Kareem Abdul Jamar. Michael Phelps. Super athletes? Noted weed heads? Both. We’ve peered into smoke filled locker rooms to ask one simple question – Does smoking weed before exercising make you a super athlete? We handpicked a diverse selection of the Colorado population and asked them how weed and working out fits into their lives. We interviewed several active cannabis/exercise enthusiasts, hashed it out with an exercise specialist, and even took a stoned run around our hood, all to get that good for you..
First things first – marijuana does not make you faster, it does not make you stronger, and it won’t give you superpowers – so that first paragraph is kind of shot. But it can have salutary effects, just not the kind that will help you save a crashing 747, or allow you to laser-eyeball sanitize a poisoned water supply. “Weed is not going to help you reach optimal fitness… No matter the ingestion mode, weed would not be good for cardiovascular work” says our expert parade-rainer, personal trainer and exercise physiologist, who wishes to remain nameless and as high as we are while we’re talking to her. “Safety is an issue – balance, proprioception, judgment.” Basically, weed is not a good choice for a performance enhancing drug. Physiological complications include increased heart rate, lack of oxygen to the lungs… all sounds like common sense – but Phelps, we ask? How can that happen?
She takes a meditative pull on the blunt and continues. “It’s possibly okay for off-field self-myofascial release, focus, passive stretching,” she mulls the smoke and finishes the sentence through an expanding cloud, “maybe if maintaining focus is an issue, or you’re deconditioned to a point that any work is good work, weed might help or wouldn’t actively hinder you.” So then, it gives you crazy awesome focus abilities? “It’s not hard to feel like Kevin Spacey rolling a J full of G13 wax on my weight bench” says Moose, a reclusive cannabis/exercise enthusiast, living in the foothills somewhere, fittingly nicknamed because of his gargantuan stature and habitat. “Basically, the more time I spend on the bench, the more I workout, and weed helps me spend more time on the bench. I might fuck up and do another set and not even know.” A common theme among those we talked to, over-focusing and losing track of reps, a possible (but not awesome) superpower.
So what role can cannabis play in a weedhead/super-athlete’s routine? We found that those using marijuana do so to alleviate anxiety, enhance focus, and relax. This was especially true with runners we spoke to. When weed releases dopamine into your brain, that euphoric feeling is similar to what people call “runners high.” “If you smoke a lot of weed, sometimes you hit a wall and you don’t want to do anything but exercise. I need to get my endorphins going. Sometimes I’m so high I think all I can do is exercise right now,” says runner and weed advocate Dylan. “We used to smoke weed before soccer in high school” says a 30-year-old social worker from Denver. “We felt like it helped us run faster.” (And that was shwag. We know, because we were smoking the same with her.)
An awesome French study of hundreds of college athletes who smoke and play sports, the concluded that if you smoked weed off the field, chances are you’ll smoke weed on the field. Furthermore, the study says the same athletes polled, thought weed enhanced their performance, even though there was no evidence to support such claims. So how does weed make you a super athlete? By fooling you into thinking that weed is turning you into a super athlete.
We ingested all this info and decided to put it on us – Francis Bakin and Dabby Bongaduce, Colorado’s premiere weed journalists, will be the final voice in a clammering sea of conflicting informations – we would get as high as K2 and go on a run, to see if this green turns us Hulk or not. Quick Answer – it was SO HARD running around the block that we gave up halfway and transitioned into a softer jog/walk, and even that fell into a comfortable stroll, maybe even a saunter. For us, exercise is wack, so on weed, it was stoned and whack.
Conclusion – if you smoke (or eat) marijuana, you already know it makes things you normally enjoy, even better. So by transitive properties, it makes exercise better, if you like that shit. Maybe you relaxercize like we do (maxing your chilling muscles) maybe you lift weights like in “American Beauty.” Maybe you win gold medals and rip bongs and think you’re magical, even when French science says that might not be the case. It really just depends on you and your mindset. We can recall plenty of situations we’ve thought to ourselves “thank goodness we’re high right now” (meetings, concerts, all of high school). So why not have one of those things be working out? The worst that can happen is that you’ll think you have super powers and maybe that’s what it’s all about anyway. Maybe one of the healthiest (and highest) states in the US is onto something.