How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Smoke Weed Before Working Out
I took Green Flower Media’s “10-Day Cannabis Health Challenge” to see if marijuana could help enhance my exercise regiment.
Published on March 28, 2017

It’s widely known that cannabis is beneficial for a range of mental and physical ailments, from reducing stress in adults to eliminating epileptic seizures in children. But one area that the plant still teeters on taboo is cannabis use combined with athletics and fitness. The NFL has an extremely strict policy against even a hint of marijuana use, and despite the fact that cannabis has been proven to help with weight loss, I’d imagine that most trainers would catch on and judge you if you showed up to afternoon spin class blasted out of your mind.   

But there are currently multiple efforts aiming to alter this perception, such as weed-friendly gyms and professional athletes like Eugene Monroe, who has now turned into a full-time advocate. Green Flower Media, the self-proclaimed “Netflix of Cannabis,” has created an expansive video platform dedicated to cannabis education and entertainment. They also believe that marijuana consumption can offer physical health benefits and advantages.

At the start of the year, Green Flower launched a 10-Day Cannabis Health Challenge, calling on their subscribers to dedicate a full week-and-a-half to using marijuana in a more mindful and healthier way. The challenge involved watching a daily video on the platform, which encouraged viewers to set up a physical fitness task, a mental relaxation technique, as well as tips for how to effectively incorporate cannabis into the practice. We recently chatted with Green Flower CEO Max Simon, who explained the idea behind this health-focused challenge, before inviting MERRY JANE to participate ourselves.    

“If you look at what makes people lead a healthier life, well, it’s not a mystery,” Simon started. “You workout, you get the body moving, you eat better food and drink water to keep yourself hydrated, and then you spend time thinking about how you improve the quality of your life. It just so happens that when cannabis is used, all three of those activities get magnified.”

While Simon echoed advice that any fitness-minded person would likely offer, such as staying hydrated and partaking in at least fifteen minutes of physical activity, his main key to success revolved around the idea of microdosing cannabis before undertaking physical activity.

“The most important point is the concept of minimum viable dose. I have a personal philosophy the most people in cannabis are consuming too much,” Simon told me over the phone. “There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just that there’s what I would call a ‘hidden power’ in this plant that most people are overlooking. That hidden power is actually using less. I think that if everyone could actually [consume] less cannabis, they could get far more benefits,” he explained.

I asked Simon about how the plant impacted his own workout regimen. It became clear that this he was deeply involved with the practice himself, and regularly used marijuana to improve both his physical and mental state. The Green Flower founder starts by taking just a couple of hits -- always from a vaporizer -- before he breaks into his daily fix of physical activity. Simon is quite fond of practicing yoga or hiking, and always follows his workout with reflection on his personal goals and desires.   

“The mind-altering qualities of cannabis, in particular, have such a perfect fit with fitness in terms of allowing you to get into that zone. I think it’s something people don’t talk about enough or realize enough, and yet those of us who are cannabis athletes realize it’s the hidden gem of our physical routines.”

Green Flower Media CEO Max Simon

Simon’s reasoning, coupled with personal testimonies from the Green Flower comment section (“life transforming”; “real eye opener”) convinced me to try out the Cannabis Health Challenge for myself.

To be honest with you, I had never personally used marijuana as a fitness enhancer before. Previously, whenever I mustered up the courage to take a jog or hit the basketball courts, cannabis was usually preserved for recovery, but never as a pre-workout tool.

The premise of the challenge was simple. Each day, Green Flower offers a three-or-so-minute video laying out a daily task focused on fitness, healthy eating, and self-reflection. After the visual instructional, all I had to do was microdose a bit of cannabis and set out to complete the day’s goal.

Before I started the 10-day experiment, I envisioned some kind of jacked, red-eyed fitness trainer verbally assaulting me with psychedelic music in the background, as if I were watch a stoned version of a P-90X workout (call it P-420x). But when I launched the introductory video, I was pleased to see Simon onscreen gently motivating me to prepare myself for a life-changing experience.

Each of the ten videos began the same way, with Simon cautiously ushering me to take the “minimal viable dose” of cannabis, subtly warning participants on the risk of consuming too much. According to the Green Flower CEO, you should take no more than two or three rips from your vaporizer, depending on the THC level of the cannabis, as well as your own tolerance. The challenge didn’t specify an exact dosage, so some initial experimentation was needed before I found my sweet spot.

Turns out he was right. After my first workout, I realized that the most strenuous part of the challenge wasn’t the actual fitness or diet elements, but rather preventing myself from overdoing it on the cannabis consumption. It became readily apparent that exercise and healthy eating were just pieces to the puzzle of achieving a mentally and physically fit mindset. I was a bit overzealous on the first couple of days, taking a few too many hits of my Firefly 2 vaporizer, but eventually found my groove by day three. To keep things fresh, I alternated between doing yoga at home, running the three-mile loop around my local park, and, my personal favorite, biking throughout the streets of Brooklyn.

The author in the midst of a cannabis-enhanced bike ride.

During my first day partaking in the Cannabis Health Challenge, I had taken one too many hits of Sour Diesel, sending me into a frenzy of stoned distraction over the course of my 20-minute yoga session. I also felt slightly frazzled during the self-reflection portion that followed, finding it difficult to focus my attention inward on my own personal aspirations.

But after adjusting my dosage accordingly over the next day or so, I discovered that just a couple of lighthearted hits was all I needed. My workout was far from intense, as I didn’t stray from the required 15-minutes of physical activity. But by day five, I had already felt a positive shift in both my energy level and attitude.

In the course of a brisk jog around Prospect Park, I came to the realization that my body now openly welcomed my newfound attempt at daily exercise. I had noted a sudden change in my overall mood, which lasted beyond the subsequent self-reflection task and even bled into my daily social life.    

At the end of the week and a half regiment, I didn’t miraculously lose 20 pounds, or even five for that matter. But I did gain plenty of insight on how cannabis can play a positive role on the way we think about physical activity and even our personal goals.   

Three key ingredients in the 10-Day Cannabis Health Challenge.

“I think that cannabis has this amazing quality of putting you in the zone,” Simon told me at one point during our conversation. “I find myself working out longer, getting into the music while I’m running, and pushing myself farther.”

By the time I had completed the 10-day challenge, I not only felt the ability to properly exert my physical energy while under the influence of cannabis, but I also realized an improvement overall mentality. After years of consumption, it suddenly became clear that cannabis can do more than just deflate my stress after the day is done. It can also help to strengthen my body and mind for the days ahead.   

After receiving rave reviews on the Cannabis Health Challenge from their community, Green Flower is now producing more content focused on fitness and yoga. They also offer videos on enhancing your sex life, creativity, and much more. Check out what else their cannabis-centric platform has to offer here.

Tyler Koslow
Tyler Koslow is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer with an intensive focus on technology, music, pop culture, and of course, cannabis and its impending legalization.
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