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What You Missed: Scientists Want You to Get Stoned and Run

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Welcome to What You Missed, our daily digest of breaking news and topical perspectives from across the outdoor world. You can also get this news delivered to your email inbox six days a week by signing up for the What You Missed newsletter. 


Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder want to study a different kind of runner’s high.

The school is recruiting men and women who exercise and regularly use cannabis to participate in a study on the drug’s psychological and physiological effects on physical activity. Researchers hope to recruit 50 participants.

Per the application, researchers will meet each athlete three times at the laboratory in Boulder. Athletes will initially complete a baseline treadmill exercise while sober, and then they will be asked to use cannabis before one of the subsequent two workouts. Researchers will perform blood work and analyze athletes’ progress during each workout.

Scientists believe this study will be the first of its kind.

The link between THC—the psychoactive chemical in cannabis—and physical activity has inspired plenty of speculation and ad hoc research over the years. A wide range of athletes, from surfers to ultramarathoners, have provided anecdotal evidence of the positive psychological effects of cannabis on physical activity. Athletes have also reported an increase in mental focus, as well as an ability to overcome pain and discomfort while using the substance.

In a 2015 Men’s Journal story, a professional triathlete named Cliff D (he declined to give his full name) said cannabis helped him visualize his cycling and swimming motions and also maintain a specific running pace.

“It slows my thought process down so I can evaluate things as they come to me, one at a time,” he said. “It gives me a beat in my head that I can follow when I run.”

Scientists have struggled to actually study cannabis in the United States, due to its Schedule 1 designation under the Controlled Substances Act. In 2020 the FDA issued guidelines to encourage cannabis-related clinical research, a seismic shift for institutions hoping to study the drug.

The move opened the floodgates for research. In April, Auburn University published a report on the impacts of cannabidiol (CBD)—a nonpsychoactive chemical found in cannabis—on cognitive functions. The University of California, Irvine published a separate report about the physiological impact of vaporized CBD on driving performance. Another report, published in Preventative Medicine, suggested that cannabis users exercise slightly more than people who do not use the drug, research that seemed to buck the old stereotype of the “lazy stoner.”

There’s already evidence in human biochemistry that connects exercise with the chemicals found in cannabis. For years researchers have believed that the post-workout feeling of euphoria—yep, the so-called runner’s high—was the product of a natural release of endorphins. Earlier this year, however, research showed that those chemicals aren’t actually behind the pleasure. Instead, the study suggests that a set of natural biochemicals resembling THC is likely responsible.

No Jail Time for Fan Who Caused Tour de France Crash

The fan who caused a massive crash at the 2021 Tour de France will avoid jail.

On Thursday, a criminal court in Brest, France, sentenced the 31-year-old woman—who authorities have decided not to name—to pay a $1,350 fine, plus a $1.25 fee to the French Union of Professional Cyclists, for causing a crash that brought down dozens of cyclists on Stage 1 of this year’s Tour. But the court decided not to impose the four-month prison sentence sought by prosecutors. Amaury Sport Organisation, the race organizer, originally asked authorities to pursue a jail sentence but eventually backed off its stance.

The decision ends a monthslong saga that began during the June 26th opening stage of the Tour de France from Brest to Landerneau. The woman had leaned into the road with a cardboard sign, oblivious to the oncoming peloton. German cyclist Tony Martin struck her and crashed, causing a chain-reaction pileup that sent cyclists tumbling to the pavement.

Two riders, Marc Soler of Spain and Jasha Sütterlin of Germany, dropped out of the race as a result of injuries.

French authorities launched a manhunt to find the fan, who went into hiding for four days but eventually surrendered to police. Prosecutors charged her with “endangering others” and “unintentional injuries,” and authorities decided to keep her identity hidden after she was subject to online abuse and death threats.

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Lead Photo: Westend61/Getty Images

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