As a kid, I obviously never planned on getting into the marijuana movement. Actually, I was certain I was going to the Olympics.
Though I probably should have figured that I, a "pretty good" swimmer who spent my high school years in a knee brace and constantly at physical therapy appointments, would never make it to the global circuit - when you're an athlete, you have this unshakeable determination that you can persevere through all of that and be a champion.
After I suffered a spinal injury at 16, those dreams were over; but medical cannabis is what helped me treat my pain through those hard times and also what allowed me to evolve into a real human being. The same devotion that guided me as an athlete now carries over into educating everyone I can about the benefits of my particular lifestyle.
Just like smoking marijuana hasn’t always been “cool” or even accepted, fitness hasn’t always been on-trend. People used to snicker at the weirdos jogging in their short shorts “for fun.” Now, it seems like athletic wear has become accepted as casual wear, and being fit on your own terms is something to be proud of - just like being a responsible cannabis user.
That being said, it's important to avoid judgments and clear up some misconceptions as we define a new paradigm of health together. There are many people out there who still preach that marijuana is a detriment to good health, and not nearly enough stoners doing their part to speak out on the contrary.
- "But weed makes me too lazy - if I smoked, I couldn't ever work out."
The very biggest issue in the medical cannabis space right now, to me, is definitely dosage and strain education. Knowing what works for before or after a workout, or for symptom management, is a knowledge gap being filled by the Internet. As more states legalize, research and access to great strains will improve-—if it hasn't already where you live.
- "A healthy individual would NEVER smoke, only vape!"
I'm as big a stoner as anyone else, and if you want to join me in signing up for a half marathon or have a breath-holding contest in the pool, I'm still 100 percent game. Moderation is key in anything you do (too many blunt and joint papers will irritate the throat), but with a good diet and exercise program, you'd be surprised at what some of your "healthy" friends can get away with on the weekends.
- “Why take cannabis when my pharmaceuticals are perfectly fine?”
Everyone is entitled to make their own decisions about their health, but if you take prescription medications for pain or mood disorders, I’d advise you to take a strong look at your regimen and see if cannabis can’t do the same and more, while allowing you to be active at the same time. Medical marijuana is poised to disrupt many of the meds we are used to taking.
Even if you didn't set a resolution for the new year, I think most can get behind crushing the stereotype of the "lazy stoner." Plus, it's impossible to overdose on marijuana—meaning there’s absolutely no harm in trying new ways to work it into your daily health routine.
Maybe this is the year to show everyone how healthy cannabis really is.
Think of all the times you’ve thought twice before mentioning your relationship to the herb. Remember all the occasions where you held your tongue rather than correct someone on a common misconception.
Ready to prove everyone wrong?