By The Canadian Press
As an avid runner with some two dozen marathons under his belt, Adrian Landini is thoroughly familiar with the runner's high. He's also quite experienced running while high.
Yes, the longtime pot smoker says he routinely lights up during a run, and sometimes before — a recent habit that he says has become inextricably linked to his endurance training.
"I just kind of zen out, I pay attention to my movements and what's around me and whatnot and just bring it in with good form," the 43-year-old Toronto resident says of why he smokes.
"It helps with the sense of awareness, and of course that could be bad if you're not able to deal with any type of pain. Your toes usually hurt or your feet or whatever and (that's bad) if you can't lock that out but I never have a problem with that. I don't really quit my runs."
The notion of using marijuana while exercising — especially smoking it — would seem to fly in the face of what a workout is all about, Landini acknowledges.
Conventional thinking is that pot slows down reflexes and motor skills, and is far more likely to inspire couch-bound munchies than a drive to compete.
You'd also be hard-pressed to find an expert who doesn't caution against combining recreational drugs and exercise.
But Landini says he only uses enough to help him relax and focus on the task at hand.
He typically smokes mid-run while training and will reserve his stash for the 30-kilometre mark on race day. Still, he admits to tackling a handful of full marathons high, including the Hamilton marathon last year.
"I got there really early and checked my bags (and) there was no one around so I just light up, puff up and just try and relax," recalls Landini, now preparing for the next Hamilton run Nov. 4, as well as the Toronto marathon two weeks earlier Oct. 21.
"Because that's a big part of it, too — you've just got to be a relaxed runner. If you're expending unnecessary energy you'll fail or you just won't have a good run. A system like that works for me."
Impending legalization Wednesday is lifting the veil around the unexpected ways weed has long been integrated into some users' lives.
Among those are the fitness buffs who are keen to dispel the stereotype of the lazy stoner, with amateur athletes, health-and-wellness gurus, and marketing experts touting the potential of cannabis-fuelled workouts that go well beyond ganja yoga.
Vancouver-based advocate Bethany Rae says she will use cannabis before a long bike trip to help her focus, and applies topicals after a tough course to ease any resulting aches and pains.
The founder and CEO of the female-focused lifestyle brand Flower & Freedom describes cannabis in therapeutic terms, and says she prefers it to more traditional painkillers for menstrual cramps or muscle pain.
Rae steers clear of products high in tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which is the property that causes most of marijuana's psychoactive effects.
"Occasionally I might lightly use a vape pen and take one or two draws on that," she says, noting that's more likely to occur while running and practising yoga where "the mind/body connection can be enhanced with some cannabis."
But mostly, she applies lotions high in cannabidiol, or CBD, on joints before and after a workout to stave off soreness, pointing to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Rae says cannabis-fuelled workouts and recovery are more common than most would think, and can unfold in a wide variety of ways.