Saturday, November 1, 2014

Rethinking the Leaf...


Rethinking The Leaf...

I write a personal experience health and fitness blog. I'm not a licensed health professional, personal trainer, or doctor of any sort, mostly I just do simple race reports documenting my experiences, but I have been known to branch out and write about other areas of interest within the endurance sports and personal wellness spheres when the mood hits me...well the mood has hit me. Virginia is considering a cannabis decriminalization bill, SB 686 this month and the Republican leadership in our senate and general assembly has encouraged us to look towards Colorado and take a "wait and see" approach.

Like many people, when the elections of 2012 saw Colorado and Washington legalize recreational cannabis I did a double take. I never saw it coming in my lifetime. Then 2014 added two more states to the list with Oregon and Alaska legalizing the herb and Washington D.C. thrown in for good measure.(As of this writing DC is still in a legal limbo of sorts.)

Within the scope of health and fitness, I've taken the advice of our elected officials and used a "wait and see" approach. So while we "wait", here in Virginia, what exactly are we "seeing"?
{To be clear: I am NOT advocating for, nor do I engage in, any form of controlled foreign substance dependency in any way. I am only writing this to envision how a decriminalization bill MIGHT eventually impact some people in the endurance sports community IF the trend continues. Other issues, such as impact on gang related crime, incarceration statistics, morality, workplace safety and spirituality are best left for other posts on other blogs!}

Performance

One thing I'm seeing is THIS article from the Men's Journal on their Health and Fitness page. This triathlete has had remarkable success using cannabis infused energy bars while training. Many of us endurance sports enthusiasts are familiar with the term "runners high" and some of us have read the science linking runners high with the bodies own natural endocannabinoid system. (If not, please begin your research HERE). As far as natural supplements go it is hard to see a more appropriate choice than a cannabis infused edible.

I, however, am not a big fan of supplements. I like the satisfaction that comes from NOT following strict dietary regimes. I do consume some extra whey protein 3 or 4 times a week though and I have nothing against experimenting from time to time just to see how something might affect my training.

General Health

Inflammation is a concern for almost everybody if you are an endurance sports enthusiast or not. The relationship between inflammation and cancer is well documented and if that is news to you then here is a good read to start learning about it. We endurance athletes are particularly prone to having inflammation issues and consume more than our fair share of NSAID's. Nonsteroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs, like Ibuprofin, Aspirin and Naproxen to name a few seem to be generally safe in small quantities for short durations, but long term usage paints a highly controversial picture.

Multiple sources in THIS well documented article tell of the dangers associated with using NSAIDs in any manner. Such quotes as "Please kill my kidneys" from RICE University and the FDA warning about the increased risk of heart attack and stroke are enough for me to avoid almost all usage. 16500 deaths per year attributed to NSAIDs is nothing to make light of either.

Cannabis is well documented to have anti inflammatory properties. THIS article from National Geographic explains how THC and another cannabinoid, beta-caryophyllene, both have anti inflammatory properties. With zero deaths ever in recorded history from overdosing on cannabis I'd have to say a cannabis infused edible or maybe a small vaporized bud would be the much safer option for long term use and general health.

Community

There is no shortage of endurance sports events in the Roanoke area. Almost any given weekend I can find a race within 20 miles, and if not then I wouldn't have to drive much further if it really meant that much to me. That said, the active lifestyle community always needs to grow. Not everyone can be or should be competitive, but just waking up and going the distance with like minded people across various terrains such as trails and urban courses is a great way to get out and meet people.

California based 420 games is a great way to reach out to a new demographic and encourage active living. The silly Cheech and Chong, couch-locked teenager stereotypes are about as accurate as the old black faced vaudeville performances. Sure, some people find such stereotypes to be funny and I'm not passing judgement, its just not anything I would want my kids seeing.

The 420 games are branching out into other states where cannabis is legal and I'd like to live to see some Virginia events reach popularity. Half marathons routinely have post race music and bands, so why not expand on that? Some also have finish line alcohol such as the VA Beach Shamrock Marathon, and Half...lets expand on that and offer something besides liver damaging intoxicants.

Run a hard 13.1 mile race, grab a beer and/or a natural anti inflammatory like a cannbis infused edible or a vape pen and then walk over to the stage and appreciate the arts with a heightened sense of appreciation for the sounds which cannabis is known to stimulate...

In conclusion...I want to present this article for public consideration and discussion. If I am missing some vital consideration, then I'm sure somebody would point it out..If my research and ideas seem reasonable, then please consider a membership or a donation to any of these fine organizations that promote the political changes necessary to make positive changes happen...

NORML
VA NORML
MPP (Marijuana Policy Project) 
LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition)

And finally...there is no need to wait for the repeal of prohibition in order to begin an active living lifestyle. Please comment below if you would be willing to participate in a 5k, 10k, or half marathon organized by VA NORML to support the reform of cannabis laws. 
“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that people using NSAIDs may have a higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke.” - See more at: http://painkillerawareness.org/?p=19#sthash.GKWZC4u1.dpuf
” You may as well wear a sign, ‘Please kill my kidneys’” - See more at: http://painkillerawareness.org/?p=19#sthash.GKWZC4u1.dpuf
” You may as well wear a sign, ‘Please kill my kidneys’” (4 Rice University). - See more at: http://painkillerawareness.org/?p=19#sthash.GKWZC4u1.dpuf

NOTE: Cannabis is illegal in all instances in the state of Virginia. It is a controlled substance and considerable risks are associated with getting caught with it. As previously stated, this article is to promote the public discussion only! Please do not violate laws.

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