While most of us are familiar with the concept of 'runner's high', ultramarathoners are now claiming another sort of high can provide benefits. For years the benefits and drawbacks of cannabis on performance and recovery have been debated, with some claiming the drug decreases stress, cramp and nausea when running and acts as a relaxant afterward.
22-year-old ultrarunner Avery Collins, seems to think marijuana is the answer: “If you can find the right level, [marijuana] takes the stress out of running. And it’s a post-race, post-run remedy.”
Dr Donald Tashkin of the University of California studies how marijuana affects the lungs and says that his research shows the drug 'didn't have an effect on impairing lung function'.
However, he added that marijuana 'does have an effect of symptoms of chronic bronchitis' and that 'there are other potential risks that have not been confirmed'.
Another academic, Dr Stefan Kertesz, associate professor at the University of Alabama , states that the arguments marijuana can help manage pain or increase athletic performance are 'plausible, scientifically'. Though he stressed: “That doesn’t mean it’s proven. And that situation leaves us at perpetual risk of underestimating the downsides of marijuana.”
Veteran runner, Jenn Shelton, added: “The person who is going to win an ultra is someone who can manage their pain, not puke and stay calm. Pot does all three of those things.”