The Runner's High: Why Athletes Are Turning To Weed

Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
This was originally published on July 17, 2015.

By Erin Kelly

It’s a typical Wednesday evening. After a long run, Andrew*, who works in digital media in New York City, is following his standard post-run routine. Like most runners, he’ll quickly cool down, stretch, drink water, and maybe grab a post-workout snack. Unlike most runners, he’ll also smoke pot.

The avid runner and cyclist, whose racing résumé includes the Umstead 100 Ultra, frequently lights up immediately before his athletic activities and usually within an hour or two post-sweat session.

Andrew isn’t alone in his habit of combining cannabis and sport — in fact, it's become an underground trend in distance-running culture. Ultra-runners like Avery Collins and Jenn Shelton have admitted to running under the influence of marijuana. And former professional runner Chris Barnicle, a cannabis advocate living in L.A., calls himself the “world’s fastest stoner” on Twitter. Pro-cannabis running groups, like Run on Grass in Denver, are dedicated to staying fit and educating others about cannabis, while online communities like Cannafit and NORML Athletics also promote its association with healthy living.