Could Marijuana Enhance Your Stamina?

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There is no other state in the union where hiking 14,000-foot mountains is an unexceptional hobby, or where most of the population understands the phrase “baggin’ ’teeners.” On top of being a state filled with trim bodies, we are also a state full of trim marijuana. But how does recreational marijuana, a substance typically associated with lazy, pot-bellied stoners eating potato chips on bean bag couches, fit into our self-image of a state filled with sexy hiker bodies with abs as solid as the rocks we climb?

Local marijuana expert and former pharmacist Dean Frankmore was very excited to try to answer that question, continually describing the substance’s interaction with the body as a relationship. He said, “Cannabis isn’t just gonna hand you everything, there’s gonna be some give and take there. If you use it for depression, I recommend you do therapy as well. One toke or one session, you can’t judge just from that whether or not it’s gonna be helpful for you.”

If you are going to start using marijuana as an athletic performance enhancer, then you have to ask yourself what exactly you’re trying to get from it. What does he get from it? Frankmore said, “For me it feels like my mind turns on a little bit more. I feel more receptive and absorb what’s around me more.”

Contrary to popular stereotypes, Frankmore believes consuming marijuana can be a motivator. Getting high can get us off the couch and to the gym when we’re feeling lazy, he says, but we have to be open to it. Asked which strains he finds motivating, he recommends sativas, as they are generally more of an upper, more of a head high. Though Frankmore himself prefers indica/sativa hybrids, when it really comes down to it, he pays less attention to strains and more to intent. He said, “If I want to go hike a mountain, any strain will really help.”

Anecdotally, Frankmore’s take rings true. He is hardly the only marijuana activist extolling the benefits of the long-stigmatized plant. However, where’s the concrete evidence? There hasn’t been much scientific research to clarify the effect of cannabis on athletic performance. In fact, there is not much research on human consumption of cannabis at all; it’s still being a federally illegal substance.

That’s where Jennifer Mullen, interim director of the Cannabis Research Institute of Colorado (CRIC) steps in to talk about what direction the science of cannabis is heading. Located at Colorado State University at Pueblo, CRIC was founded in June 2016. It is funded primarily by the state of Colorado and Pueblo County, with 10 multidisciplinary studies on various aspects of cannabis now underway. “We think the [Institute] is uniquely positioned to do pressing research into cannabis applications,” Mullen said.

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