One runner in Oregon is speaking out about how cannabis helps improve his running routine. Long distance and cross-country runners often say cannabis can put them into a meditative state and enable them to power through a grueling course and focus on the run.

Central Oregon Daily News highlighted Stephen Snazuk, a runner in the High Desert region in Deschutes County, Oregon, about the perks of running on cannabis.

“Cannabis for me gives me a lot of mental focus,” Snazuk told Central Oregon Daily News. “Long ultra runs [require] a lot of mental focus. Maybe 10% endurance, 90% focus. Cannabis on the trail allows me to get into that mindset.”

Snazuk hails from Prineville and his running times can be followed on Strava. Snazuk told the news outlet that he grows cannabis, so it was only a matter of time before he put two and two together. 

“I think it helps with my performance overall,” Snazuk said. Whether it’s recovery; whether it’s running; whether it’s getting a workout down; whether it’s consuming food on the trail—nutrition. I think it has to do with everything.”

When confronted about the possible impact to his lung capacity, the runner said the positive effects definitely outweigh the negative effects. 

In 2021, when the pandemic brought a planned community fun run to a screeching halt, Snazuk used 220 handmade medals and converted them into positive messages to spread positivity throughout his community in Oregon. 

Snazuk also mentioned how cannabis is just better than alcohol when it comes to athletics. That, he says, is why a race with cannabis as a theme would make much more sense than alcohol-themed races that are common.

“Bend is a mecca for drinking. They promote the Bend Beer Chase left and right. I’m not saying I don’t promote it. I run it every year and I love it. But it is ironic they promote beer and drinking and running around town—basically public intoxication. But there’s no Runner’s High 5K or anything like that,” Snazuk said.

High Times interviewed several types of athletes who say cannabis improves their athletic performance, including runners. Most say that cannabis allows them to be more active, unlike alcohol.

Stephen Snazuk / Courtesy Strava

Cannabis Compared to the Runner’s High

The runner’s high is a phenomenon that was once explained as a result of endorphins, but now science points to an increase in endocannabinoids like anandamide.

High Times highlighted Josiah Hesse’s major-deal book on cannabis and running, Runner’s High: How a Movement of Cannabis-Fueled Athletes Is Changing the Science of Sports.

Hesse explained how the runner’s high is linked to the high from cannabis. “The two—neurologically speaking—are nearly identical,” Hesse told High Times. “What goes on in the brain, when we have the natural runner’s high, as mentioned, is an endogenous cannabinoid. Most researchers point to anandamide, which comes from the Sanskrit word for bliss.”

The body’s production of endogenous cannabinoids like anandamide reduce pain and increase joy and the appreciation of nature. We also get the same effects from phytocannabinoids in cannabis. As explained in Hesse’s book, neurologists have data to suggest that THC increases the production of anandamide, so it is believed to get you to the runner’s high more quickly and efficiently. 

Ultramarathoner Avery Collins told the New York Times how cannabis improves his running routine and the runner’s high. In the cannabis world, Collins is very active and has scored deals in the past with cannabis brands like Incredibles, Mary’s Medicinals, Roll-uh-Bowl, The Farm Co., EvoLab, PurePower Botanicals, and VaprWear.

Runners like Snazuk are continuing to spread the message that cannabis and running go together.

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