Can cannabis help you get in shape?
Before Tyler Hurst sets out for his morning run, he slips on a pair of those shoes that fit each toe like a glove. Then he takes a few hits off a vape pen packed with Agent Orange, a particularly uplifting strain of cannabis.
“The chemicals that are released in our brains when we run are the same ones that are released when we get high,” said Hurst, 28, a freelance writer and recreational runner who lives in Phoenix.
“I just run a lot better once I have my runner’s high.”
Tyler Hurst during the 420 Games in Portland in 2016. Hurst incorporates cannabis into his running routine. (Courtesy of Tyler Hurst)
Forget the stereotype that suggests weed creates junk food-loving couch potatoes. Hurst is part of a fast-growing world of athletes – from pros to weekend fitness enthusiasts – who are incorporating cannabis into regular workouts and competitions.
Some are tapping into marijuana’s psychoactive effects to quiet the brain during intense yoga sessions and other mind-oriented sports, such as running or swimming. Others use cannabis products that don’t make them high but instead create effects that users insist help them train harder and longer, with less pain and faster recovery times.
New science is emerging to support some of those claims. Research suggests marijuana can keep muscle spasms at bay, prevent inflammation – even reduce the likelihood of brain injuries.
The governing bodies for most sports still ban cannabis, citing the drug’s complicated legal status while alternately labeling it as either too helpful or too harmful to athletic performance. That’s led to a string of athletes facing fines and suspensions over weed.
But cracks in those bans are starting to appear. Everything from the growing push for marijuana legalization, outrage over the use of prescribed opioids and fears about the long-term effects of concussions are all prompting […]