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A TRUE RUNNER'S HIGH: CANNABIS HAS FOUND ITS PLACE IN THE RUNNING COMMUNITY

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ALLY SPIROFF

JUL 14, 2020

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IMAGE VIA NATIVE ROOTS DISPENSARY TOWER | FACEBOOK

We’ve long dreamed of experiencing that perfect runner’s high, or maybe we’ve achieved it and know the euphoric feeling firsthand but are longing for it to happen again. Even if we have felt it every so often, have we actually had a TRUE runner’s high?

One running club in Denver is making a true high happen for us, quite literally.

HIGH TIMES, FAST TIMES

Yes, we’re talking about actually being high while you’re on a run. The druggie, deadhead, dreadlocked and tie-dyed stigma around people who consume marijuana is being completely rethought. Even just a few years ago, athletes wouldn’t even dream of using cannabis to enhance performance. But last month, a group of runners curious about training with cannabis started meeting up for runs in Denver’s West Highland neighborhood, calling themselves the Runner’s High Run Club. The run squad will meet every Thursday at the Native Roots Highlands dispensary to run and to get high—safely—at the same time.

Run a 4.2-mile sativa route or a hybrid 2.1-mile route sponsored by the dispensary and Stratos, an infused-products company. Complete the route, and score discounts on Native Roots and Stratos products, as well as a stamp in a club running log towards points for prizes. The more miles run, the more discounts received.

Because the run is in public, the club does not endorse cannabis consumption on the actual route, and private, more discreet consumption prior or following the run is strongly encouraged. All runners must be 21 or older to participate.

THE WORLD OF CANNABIS RUNNING

In addition to a few other groups in Denver who run while high, there’s a group in Texas called Team Hope through Cannabis, which hopes people see them running and changes their thoughts on the typical pot smoker, all the while raising awareness about marijuana reform and legalization.

You might also want to listen to the voices of the cannabis + running community. Marijuana Marathon Man is an exceptionally prominent figure in the cannabis running community, has over 2,500 Twitter followers. By wearing a shirt with the marijuana logo on it during all of his marathons, he too hopes to inspire questions and conversations around weed.

Former professional runner Chris Barnicle used edibles during his collegiate and professional career to control his Crohn’s disease flare-ups. The marijuana-infused food helped his gastrointestinal stress, intense abdominal pain, and his loss of sleep, as well as his overall stress. He was drug tested several times during his career but never tested positive for marijuana.

Barnicle and three of his former University of Arkansas teammates are starting an edibles company in Los Angeles called Zip Organics, which creates weed-laced energy bars designed to be eaten before runs. Each bar includes 25 milligrams of THC per serving, as well as caffeine. The bars aren’t sold commercially yet, but Barnicle is hoping to get them behind the counter of LA dispensaries soon.

The discussion around running while high has even been popping up in the media in the past few years — including in the Wall Street Journal, Esquire, Runner’s World, and more. A larger number of people are paying attention than ever before, and people are more willing to give the idea a chance — or even try it out themselves.

It’s important to keep in mind that although 23 states have legalized medical marijuana and four states and Washington DC permit pot for recreational use, it’s still a mostly illegal drug. Especially in terms of performance, the NCAA and the International Athletic Association and Federation (IAAF) prohibit the use of marijuana — test positive and you’re out of luck.

If you’re in a legal state, though—granted you’re not a collegiate athlete or gunning for a win at the Boston Marathon—and partaking under the safest and most controlled possible conditions (a small dosage from a trusted source like a dispensary), a pre-run weed sesh might just be the answer to discovering (or rediscovering) that runner’s high we’ve been looking for.

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