Pubdate: Mon, 30 Sep 2019
Source: Wall Street Journal (US)
Copyright: 2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Author: Rob Copeland


Pauline Nordin is a trainer, model and licensed nutritionist. Earlier 
this year, she replaced the frozen peas in her freezer with 2,000 cookies.

The shortbread treats are laden with cannabis-the equivalent of about 
1,500 joints. Ms. Nordin, 37 years old, says she can't recover from her 
punishing workouts without them. She eats two each night before turning in.

"My lifestyle is a Ferrari and my body is a well-tuned machine," she 
says. "I would never do something destructive."

As marijuana moves into the mainstream, more athletes and fitness
junkies are making weed a part of their workout routines. The burning 
question: Are they onto something-or just on something?

Many workout fiends insist that a few drags add an extra hit to their 
workouts. They say it helps them ignore pain, stem off boredom and 
concentrate on small muscle groups that require repetitive movements.

Eleven states have legalized marijuana for adults, while twice as many 
allow it to treat certain medical conditions. Canada last year legalized 
it countrywide.

In May, a nonprofit representing more than 100 former professional
athletes, including boxer Mike Tyson and cyclist Floyd Landis,
petitioned the world antidoping authority to remove marijuana from its 
list of banned substances. Some ultramarathoners say it helps them 
through long races. The aroma of weed is common these days at San 
Francisco boot-camp fitness classes, Denver climbing walls and jiu jitsu 

"I'll have a toke before the gym," says Peter Kloczko, 29, of London, 
Ontario, "and it's like, damn, I'm on point today."

Los Angeleno Artemus Dolgin, 35, at times smokes as many as 14 joints a 
day, many on the stoop of his gym or at home while bench pressing. Mr. 
Dolgin, who describes his profession as "hustler," says it pumps up his 
biceps, and his self-confidence.

"You definitely feel the blood flow through each specific muscle," he 
says. "The epitome of muscle building is the mind-muscle connection, 
which doesn't come right away. Weed really enhances that."

Keith Humphreys, a professor of behavioral sciences at Stanford
University who specializes in addiction, says: "There's no evidence of 
that whatsoever. Sort of by definition, we are not good at observing our 
behavior when we are under the influence of a drug."

Harvard University researchers have found that smoking marijuana
raises the resting heart rate and carries other health risks.

The World Anti-Doping Agency, based in Montreal, includes marijuana on 
its list of banned substances for athletes competing in the Olympics and 
other international competitions. "Cannabis can cause muscle relaxation 
and reduce pain during post-workout recovery. It can also decrease 
anxiety and tension, resulting in better sport performance under 
pressure," the agency says on its website.

The other reason WADA is harsh on weed: It might contribute to injury. 
The drug, it says, "can increase focus and risk-taking behaviors, 
allowing athletes to forget bad falls or previous trauma in sport, and 
push themselves past those fears in competition."

Sam Moses of Daytona Beach, Fla., can relate. He says he was regularly 
using dietary supplements and even steroids when his deceased sister 
appeared to him in a dream. "She said, 'Don't worry about it, it's just 
weed. It's natural. You know your limits,' " says Mr. Moses, 26.

Mr. Moses, an emergency-medicine student and dedicated powerlifter, took 
that as a green light to switch to grass. One problem: He began getting 
confused about balancing weight evenly across a barbell. He recently was 
squatting 315 pounds of weight when he heard a crack and felt a whoosh 
of pain at his waist. "And that's about when I went: F-- it, I'm getting 
more stoned," he says.

Former athletes looking to reverse the ban argue that many stoners
have it wrong: Weed doesn't provide a sporting edge. While marijuana and 
other cannibanoids support wellness "by aiding in pain relief and rest," 
the athletes wrote in a petition, "there is no evidence that they 
enhance sport performance."

A series of Brazilian jiu jitsu tournaments, dubbed "High Rollerz
BJJ," aren't waiting around for a reversal. The organization requires 
opponents to smoke a joint together before the start of each match. The 
tournament prize is a brick of pot. The audience is encouraged to light 
up, too.

Electrician Paul Roney discovered yet another risk to mixing weed and 
weights. A few weeks ago, the 45-year-old consumed a bit more than usual 
and then ran into a buddy at the gym. He wound up forgetting to exercise 

"You have to go straightaway if you smoke a fattie," he advises. "Wait 
an hour and you're just going to be asleep on the floor."

One thing he likes, though, is that it gives him the munchies when
it's time to load up on healthy fare such as egg whites, boiled
chicken and oat bran. "You can eat all of your diet food," he says.

Ms. Nordin, the nutritionist who emptied her freezer for the habit, 
estimates that 5% of her daily calorie intake is cannabis cookies, sold 
under the brand Dr. Norm's.

The siblings who run the company say they named it after their late 
father, a dermatologist. They say they have no idea what he thought 
about the benefits of marijuana. He did believe, however, that laughter 
was the best medicine.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt