Cannabis • Fitness
Accessing Cannabis: A Runners Dilemma
This past year one of my good friends achieved her very first, first place marathon finish in her age group at 46 years old. We recently discussed her training plan and out of curiosity, I ask her about whether she had ever considered cannabis as a part of her training routine.
As you can imagine the stress marathon athlete’s put on their body can be extreme, and while professional athletes have teams of people who advise them on everything from nutrition to pain management and recovery, the rest of us athletic plebs are stuck with the monumental task of researching this for ourselves, often through trial and error.
“When it comes to cannabis, we’ve been shown how to abuse it time and time again, and as a result we have never had the opportunity to embrace this plant for the good it can do.”
While there is research suggesting cannabis consumption may be beneficial to the body, there remains a stigma in the lingering prohibition, holding many people back from even considering it as a therapeutic tool, while those who are exploring cannabis can be reluctant to openly speak about it. It is for this reason that I want to tell the story of my friend, whom I will refer to as Jane.
Jane ran her first marathon in 2002 in Victoria at the age of 32. She has been running ever since with a brief intermission in 2005 due to her pregnancy. An elite Gymnast growing up, she has always been an athlete who lives for the thrill of shaving 10 seconds off her personal best time.
“She has had multiple injuries, stress fractures of the pelvis, peroneal tendonitis, IT band syndrome and a fused spine of the L4, L5″
Her diet has been restricted as far as I can remember. She doesn’t tolerate gluten, quinoa, corn, rice, or red meat and she lives on veggies, fruit, cheese, hummus and salsa. While I would drop dead from starvation on her diet she manages to run 30k every week.
As far as her training regime goes, she includes a mix of yoga, cross-fit and regular gym visits. She got back into running after her pregnancy with a great deal of complication with her peroneal nerve and wore a splint for the whole year. She has had multiple injuries, stress fractures of the pelvis, peroneal tendonitis, IT band syndrome and a fused spine of the L4, L5, S continues to cause issues. She has mostly dealt with pain through chiropractic, massage, heat, Advil and rest. Rest is everything for her but often she doesn’t sleep well because of these issues. She transitions back from injury through physio, massage and lots of gym work, as well as stationary bike, stability exercises, core work, and plyometrics when the injured area is strong enough, but I know that she often feels the physical effects of her training.
What Difficulties Can Arise for a Runner Who Wants to Explore Cannabis for Fitness?
I have found many articles on the topic of why runners consume cannabis and there seems to be a myriad of reasons from focus, to pain relief, but I wondered if it might help her with sleep specifically?
She responded by explaining that she had considered cannabis, however it seemed like a dead end in every direction. She was unable to approach her doctor about the subject because she felt her doctor would not write her the prescription for CBD oil. She entered a number of dispensaries and left empty handed under the understanding that she would not be able to obtain CBD oil without a prescription. And she felt she she may be judged if she turned elsewhere for guidance.
This experience has made me realize how difficult it can be to open up a dialogue about cannabis and the importance of knowing how to access something with the potential to make our lives more comfortable. In that same vein having the ability to access information on how to consume safely and avoid the potential negative effects of over consumption is equally as important.
When it comes to cannabis, we’ve been shown how to abuse it time and time again, and as a result we have never had the opportunity to embrace this plant for the good it can do. I asked her why some runners might shy away from consuming forms of cannabis such as CBD, while others swear by it. She told me that she suspected they might be afraid of being accused of artificially enhancing their performance.
It seemed to me that this was a fair statement, albeit made by someone who has had the facts of cannabis withheld from her for most of her life. Ultimately I think its a shame that there are people who could really benefit from this plant that feel that they are unable to access it or are worried about the cannabis image.
If you would like to see how others are using cannabis for fitness, you can join the conversation in our closed Flower & Freedom Experiences group on Facebook, where we regularly discuss products, methods of consumption and more.
Disclosure: The information shared in this post is a personal experience and not to be considered medical or legal advice. Please consult with a health practitioner and seek legal counsel on the cannabis laws in your area.