Monday, February 09, 2015

Are Ultramarathoners Getting High? (Wall St Journal)

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) ran an article today called The Debate Over Running While High, discussing the trade offs of consuming marijuana during, or after, ultrarunning events. Holy cow, is this a thing? Will all Colorado events (where marijuana is legal for recreational use) now have "special" edibles at the aid stations? Or is it truly a performance enhancing drug and should be banned?

It's an interesting read. I love that Jenn Shelton is sourced as saying "she made a decision to never compete with the drug for ethical reasons, expressly because she believes it enhances performance." That's awesome. That, and our primary representative here is a 22-year-old professional ultrarunner who smokes pot. If he lives in his parent's basement, I know a lot of those guys. ;-)

What do you guys think? Is cannabis use in ultras pervasive? Should it be banned? I'm a long-time fan of medical marijuana (see some early research here), as many of you know, and happy to write up a primer on how it has and hasn't helped the running over the years. Just let me know if that would be interesting to you.

Thx, SD


  1. I don't think marijuana use is any more or less than it always was among people who love the outdoors. Some people just like it. I would be interested in hearing more about what you have learned. - Adam

  2. Cannabis is about as "performance enhancing" as protein bars and energy drinks.

  3. Cheating. Cannabis is a "drug." in my opinion, a huge part of ultra running is being able to overcome, work through, the obstacles by using your mind and spirit. :)

  4. I doubt cannabis is used nearly as frequently as alcohol by ultra runners, But likely in the same way - recreationally and outside of runs or races. Other than the fact it's not allowed in competition and could get someone banned, I seriously doubt it would enhance performance (similar to racing while drunk).

  5. As someone who enters ultras for the fun, and who loves to smoke weed before, during and after, I would be sad to see a crackdown. My bias comes from having cannabis as a regular part of life anyway, so I tend not to see it as a big deal.
    As for performance-enhancing properties, interesting question. It's a naturally occurring substance, and the only way I can see it really providing an edge is for pain-management and morale-boosting.
    By this logic, should they also ban certain herbal teas?

    I think cannabis is once again the victim of stigmatization here.


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