Stashing the slacker stoner stigma
There are few scenes in the history of cinema as pleasing to the soul as the one in Pumping Iron where Arnold Schwarzenegger casually smokes a fatty at Lou Ferrigno’s birthday party. He lays his gargantuan head back and exhales with a big relaxed smile as the room starts singing “Happy Birthday” to a gleeful ’70s-era Incredible Hulk.
Cannabis is a poorly kept secret among circles of endurance athletes and ultramarathon runners. Now, everyday folks looking to stay fit are incorporating it into their workout routines.
“I think it’s funny for a lot of people because we know the stereotype exists about lazy stoners sitting on the couch and eating junk food,” says Ali Becker, who owns and operates Trip Longer with her partner Mathieu LeBlanc.
Trip Longer specializes in creating handmade leather goods—like stash tubes and rolling trays—for the active cannabis enthusiast.
LeBlanc and Becker met in 2013 at a mutual friend’s house and the two hit it off. The next day, LeBlanc shattered his pelvis snowboarding and Becker jokes that it gave her a chance to catch up to him on the fitness level. In September, they bought a purple van from a guy named “Bob,” which they gutted and winterized. The van is also named “Bob.”
Every morning, the pair wake up, make coffee, meditate, pile out of the van, take a hit and run anywhere from five to 15 kilometres. Then it’s off to the gym.
“You can get high and eat ice cream or you can get high and have carrots and hummus,” says LeBlanc. “It’s not the cannabis that’s making that choice, but for me it helps highlight what the obvious right thing is to do.”
There are specific benefits to a cannabis infused workout. Its effects on muscle inflammation and pain management are what usually comes up first, but the duo at Trip Longer thinks the first step is concentration.
“I certainly see the benefits, especially on more a long-distance sort of endurance run with my focus and my brain,” says Becker. “Just being able to stay present, stay in the moment, and maybe take my mind off when my knees are feeling a bit of discomfort or my feet are feeling a little bit fatigued. Just kind of being able to stay the course.”
Then, of course, there’s the runner’s high—that point in an exhausting run where your brain floods your system with endorphins.
“Both highs really complement each other. They almost merge into their own concoction,” LeBlanc explains. “Depending on how I ingest the cannabis it’s a bit different, and of course depending on the dosage you get different results. Edibles tend to have the most profound effect to physically enhancing my stamina and my ability to fall into a comfortable trance [both] physically and mentally.”
With legalization potentially around the corner, Leblanc is hoping that some of the stigma around marijuana use will dissipate and people will be able to more freely integrate the plant into their lifestyles.
“It doesn’t only enhance the actual workout, it enhances the rest of my life around it too, making the workout that much better,” he says.