Cannabis. Its all over the news these days. Its hard to ignore, yet for years I was the person who tried to ignore it, and quite frankly was fearful of it. So, I stayed away from it. Some way, somehow, all the way through my teenage years, through my 20s, and even into my early 30s. I was judgmental if Im being totally honest. Regretfully, I was one of those who would think, I know how to deal with my problems and dont have to smoke pot to escape my problems.
The Turning Point
Then I had a conversation. A conversation that would change my opinion on marijuana for good. It was a couple in their 80s in Sacramento, CA at an event where I was consulting. They told me in that conversation how he had nearly died several times from cancer, and how after multiple failed attempts with traditional treatment and feeling like they had nowhere else to go, they sought out holistic medicine. Part of that regime included cannabis. They were skeptical, traditional, but at that point they were willing to do anything. Was this well-educated man in his 80s on to something?
My mind was like a door that was just cracking open slightly. This gentleman told me about study after study, case after case, and his own personal experiences with using cannabis. That was the beginning for me.
A year later, I met another friend from Washington state who had been treating his chronic back pain with cannabis. This guy wasnt the type of friend that I would have labeled in the past as a pothead. He was a medical doctor. After graduating medical school hed decided to go the route of a real estate investor instead, because he didnt believe in the way that traditional medicine was being done in the U.S. However, hed had some severe accidents that had left his back in shambles, and cannabis was helping his pain. Its this for me right now or terrible prescription drugs, he would say as he took a soft pull on his battery powered cannabis oil vapor pen. I had questions. He educated me further.
He taught me about the different strands, and how there were now multiple ways of taking cannabis besides the traditional way of smoking it. He had a young daughter at home and felt more comfortable with a vapor pen instead of permeating his house with the smell of burning weed. He taught me about how with cannabis oils there were now different THC levels (the stuff that makes you feel high) and that you didnt have to walk around feeling high all the time, but that rather you could customize it for the pain relief needed.
Four Years Later
Four years from the time I had that initial conversation in Sacramento, I tried cannabis for the first time. My first experience was smoking it traditionally and the smoke for me as an endurance athlete just didnt seem to work well. I coughed way too much and didnt like the aftertaste. So, I tried gummies for the next experience. Though the absence of the smoke was nice, it knocked me out to the point of me feeling so insanely stoned, slow, and slothful that I couldnt get off of my couch for nearly 4 hours. I didnt have time for that! What next I thought? Maybe this just isnt for me.
Then finally I was able to try a cannabis oil vapor pen similar to the one my friend in Washington had used. The THC content was lower, 57%. The day I tried it I had completed a long run and my knees were severely inflamed. Just a small dose of it mitigated the inflammation in my knees, helped me relax and allowed me to wake up the next day ready to train. In the past I had relied on ibuprofen similar to many runners. Cannabis seemed to make more sense in terms of lessening the side effects.
Cannabis as an Endurance Athlete
Since that time, Ive been running big, challenging alpine peaks multiple days a week in preparation for my first 50-mile trail running race. The beating on my knees coming straight down the mountains often descending more than 4,000 feet is severe. The cannabis has been a miracle in lessening the pain and helping me to recover faster. I function at a high level all day often getting up at 4:30 in the morning to run mountains, work, be a dad, and cater to all my other responsibilities.
So where do I stand now? Im a fan. Im not afraid of it anymore and Im not sure why I ever was. Marijuana is becoming extremely mainstream now, and Im probably just one example of hundreds of thousands who are starting to understand its benefits when used responsibly.