Euphoric. Magical. An out-of-body experience where everything, for a wavering moment, becomes clearer. You might think that describes the last cannabis chocolate you enjoyed over the weekend, but it’s also how athletes often describe the “runner’s high.”
People can experience a runner’s high after a long aerobic workout; it’s a euphoric feeling that studies say decreases stress and increases pain tolerance. Sound familiar? The similarities between the runner’s high and the high you get from cannabis may be more than coincidental.
According to a 2015 study published by the National Academy of Sciences, the ability to experience a runner’s high may depend not on endorphins, as previously thought, but on your brain’s cannabinoid receptors. The same receptors that make the cannabis high possible.
While more studies are being conducted on how exactly cannabis affects exercise and athletes, this multi-faceted flower is already a part of many people’s morning jog. San Diego-based cannabis lifestyle blogger for the Hurt Guru, Roni Stetter, said she discovered early on that cannabis could help her lead a healthy, active lifestyle.
Stetter has always been an active person, and growing up she enjoyed swimming and other sports. That changed one day in high school when she dove into a pool the wrong way and dislocated part of her spine. She spent months in physical therapy and dealt daily with chronic pain. Doctor’s orders were to stay away from sports, and she reluctantly stopped her regular visits to the pool for swimming practice. She said she had to stop exercising so often, and that significantly impacted her health.
The medications Stetter was prescribed did little for the pain, but she discovered accidentally one day that when she smoked cannabis, she found relief. “I was a recreational consumer turned medicinal patient,” she said.
“When I went to college and I was free to smoke every day, then I really started noticing the benefits,” Stetter said. “I realized, ‘Wow! It really does help!’ On a long-term basis, I was able to get back into the gym. Before I had built up that THC tolerance, I just had so much pain I couldn’t even get myself to go.”
Getting back to the gym was an accomplishment, but she wasn’t done yet. Stetter said she started running and training, against the advice of her doctors. “I ended up running two half marathons pretty much after being told ‘Your knees are shot. You have the knees of a 60-year-old. You shouldn’t be running.’” she said. “With the pain management I gained from cannabis, I was able to.”
Stetter continues to use cannabis to lead a healthy, active lifestyle in new ways. She sat down to share more with us.
Q&A with Roni Stetter on Cannabis and Exercise
Emerald Magazine: Do you consider yourself to be an active person?
RONI STETTER: Definitely. I consider myself a lifelong athlete even though there’s no way in hell I am going to compete! I can’t run anymore actually because of some other injuries that I have. It keeps compounding. Once you have imbalances in your body, [you] kind of just keep getting hurt.. Your body is never really straight, and then your muscles are tensing up after a workout or whatever, and something might be a little out of place and then it’s just out of place. It’s definitely a constant thing.
I’ve been getting into cupping and different kinds of massage, like cannabis massage, that was one of the best things. Especially when I was running, I had this lady [who] would get out my calves and all my ankles and even up to my jaw, because I have jaw pain as well. So you can literally get any of that massaged by a skilled person with some cannabis oil and that’s something I think is going to be huge in the next couple years as people learn how amazing it is.
I know a couple massage people in San Diego who really don’t know what their future here is legally, or how they’re going to have to pay for their supply of the oil. It’s definitely difficult no matter what you do in the industry.
EMERALD: What kind of sports or exercises do you gravitate toward?
RS: I’m back to swimming. I’m not like a formal student of yoga or anything, but I’ve learned yoga is great for pain management. It’s a great complement to any other sport..
Emerald: What kind of cannabis consumption has helped you the most when it comes to running and exercising?
RS: I usually dab oils. That’s really uplifting. It really doesn’t matter if it’s an Indica or Sativa strain for me. I end up having a dab before I go out. You walk into the gym listening to music, feeling that feeling — it helps you get in the zone. For me, it always helps me open my lungs, and I know for everybody it doesn’t have that same effect. I actually had asthma when I was a kid, and since I’ve been using cannabis, I really haven’t had problems like that. But I’ve also been controlling my allergies and taking care of my health, and also not swimming as hard as I used to […]. So I feel like it does help. Gets the blood flowing a little bit.
EMERALD: It sounds like you stick with THC oils.
RS: Yes, but I have had some CBD energy bars that were actually really, really good. I don’t know if it’s the ingredients they used or the CBD they used, but that was a pretty good experience as well. There’s all kinds — edibles don’t have to be disgusting or really bad for you. They can be healthy for you like energy bars or snacks that go with your workout so you can get that affect. Of course, you have to eat them a little beforehand so they have time to do their thing.
EMERALD: Have you bought any recreational cannabis since stores opened on January 1st in California?
RS: I finally went (laughs). I didn’t go for the first month and a half. It was a cool experience. The tax wasn’t that bad. I got three pre-rolls for Valentine’s Day.
Find Roni Stetter at thehurtguru.com or on Twitter @rawnstet.