Running High

Hands up if you think this is about the euphoric feeling you get after you finish a good run?

Well, you’re not entirely wrong.

I’ve recently started experimenting on myself with different cannabis products and running performance and I wanted to make you aware of my findings.

Since this is an n=1 sample size, there is clearly NO statistical significance to my research however, like all good research, it will definitely lead to some questions and new hypotheses and theories. Let me indulge you in what I’ve discovered so far.

This is not an excuse to get “stoned”

Here’s the backstory. I started using different cannabis products to help with pain management for my back and knee. I’ve never been a smoker and am a total lightweight when it comes to cannabis consumption. I wasn’t one of the cool kids smoking weed at lunch in high school or smoking anything for that matter.

My impression of “weed” wasn’t very good either. I saw it as a drug that led to laziness and laughing at dumb shit. That impression was created in high school when the guys I knew that smoked all had the typical, “stoner” lifestyle of baggy clothes, laissez-faire attitude and nine out of ten times, no athletic prowess.

I wrote it off as, ‘not for me’ – I’ll stick to good ‘ol beers and gin as my drug of choice.

Well, times have changed and so have attitudes. In under ten years, we’ve gone from getting severely reprimanded in the Army for having THC in your system to one of the most open/progressive marijuana policies for its consumption, on the planet.

I’m a curious monkey so I decided to give it a try, seriously, after I got back from Afghanistan.

Holy Shit – I got high AF. But, man did my back feel good.

Fast forward a few years and good ‘ol JT (our Prime Minister) comes through and legalizes marijuana in Canada and the floodgates open up. Now, my scientific curiosity is piqued and I want to try EVERYTHING.

I’ve smoked, vaped, eaten a wide variety of new products. For the purpose of this study that I’m conducting, I’m only using one product – MedReleaf’s Avidekel softgel.

Intro to Organic Chemistry

A quick chemistry lesson before we start…

THC is the acronym for tetrahydrocannabinol. This is the psychoactive molecule that is produced when you break down the precursor molecule tetrahydrocannibinolic acid (THCA).

CBD is the acronym for cannabidiol one of many active cannabinoid molecules found in marijuana. This molecule does not have the psychoactive properties of THC but still attaches to our cannabinoid receptors that can help with pain management.

Next, once you have THC in your blood, it is then processed by the liver into the 11-hydroxy THC metabolite. The more you have of this metabolite the “higher” you will feel. In the case of smoking or vaping cannabis, you will have less of this metabolite due to many factors such as oxidation, passage of THC past the blood brain barrier and premature breakdown of the THC molecule before it can reach the liver for metabolism.

However, when you eat cannabis products, THC is absorbed in much higher quantities and the liver must metabolize it into 11-hydroxy THC which is a much slower process and results in a much longer “high”. Additionally, this process takes longer to initiate as well, so you need a few hours for the effects to take hold.

My Experimental Process

Here are my experimental parameters:

  1. Only use Avidekel softgels for study;
  2. Consume softgel 2-3hrs before run;
  3. Measure run times against previous metrics;
  4. Gather qualitative data on (mood, feelings, perceptions);
  5. Gather data over a 30 day window.

My first assay was recorded and I’ve made a video of it that you can watch here. Some key takeaways:

  • If you’ve never had any experience with THC or CBD try some BEFORE you go for a run and get used to how your body feels
  • Keep your dose consistent, in my case my softgel has 1.95mg of THC and 19.35mg of CBD.
  • Have a benchmark to compare to and try your best to control your variables as best as possible ie (time of day, rest, distance)

I’d love to hear your comments, questions and queries. This is brand new stuff and not much exists in the literature about THC/CBD use in athletics.

Questions to ponder:

  • Is THC/CBD a performance enhancing drug?
  • Which athletic activities could benefit/harm performance?

Post your comments here or on the HRD2KILL Facebook group.

As always,

Train Hard, Fight Easy


Dave is a retired infantry officer and Afghanistan war veteran. He’s the creator of the HRD2KILL training program that was built on the principles that got him from not being able to get out of bed to competing in the Crossfit Open, Spartan Races and the Montreal Gaelic Athletics Association. You can find more mobility based exercises in his new book, "The Nimble Warrior", now available on Apple Books and Amazon or tune into his new HRD2KILL Podcast

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