Stunning news from the world of science – the same family of chemicals that helps marijuana smokers catch a buzz might also be responsible for “runner’s high,” the joyful feeling that some people experience when they exercise.
Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of California Irvine spent three weeks following Phish around the Midwest in a rainbow-colored bus inside which they smoked an ounce of kind bud a day and scrawled their findings on the inside of an empty case of Old Milwaukee.
Kidding! It was a twelver of Natural Light.
According to Reuters, researchers studied 24 men who biked or jogged for 45 minutes and found that they produced high levels of anandamide. Anandamide is a cannabinoid, which is a naturally occurring chemical that produces sensations similar to those of THC, the psychoactive substance in marijuana.
“No other study has ever considered this possibility, which is why the results are significant,” said a researcher, forgetting to add, “We were lying on the hood of my El Camino staring at the moon – it was about to crash on us – when we came up with the cannabinoid theory. Cannabinoid is a funny word. It has noid in it. Avoid the Noid.”
Traditional media have yet to pick up on this story – and it’s no wonder. To accept this study as true is to conclude that:
– All joggers are stoners.
– All stoners are joggers who just happen to dislike the running part of their favorite pastime.
Now some of you might be saying: “Stop right there! Joggers aren’t stoners. Joggers are healthy people.”
Are they healthy? Or are they simply addicted to Sweet Lady J-O-G?
I’ve known joggers who woke at 4:30 a.m. to run. I’ve never met a stoner who rose that early to do anything.
Most joggers indulge once a day or several times a week – often during their lunch hours. In my experience, most marijuana smokers only toke up on weekends or social occasions – and they never miss lunch.
Since 1980, the number of runners finishing marathons has increased 400 percent. Between 1979 and 2001 the percentage of high school seniors who have smoked marijuana has decreased 11.4 percent.
Let’s not forget that Presidents Clinton and Bush – two guys known to Blutarsky a keg or two out the window in their wilder days – are both avid joggers.
And most telling of all:
Thirty-four million Americans run at least once a year. Twelve million Americans smoke weed.
Need I go on?
If this study is true, jogging is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States today – not marijuana.
And why not? It has all the classic drug traits.
Like most drugs, there are countless street terms for this vice: “run,” “jog,” “train,” “cross train,” “sprint,” “steeplechase.”
Worse, many experts see jogging as a gateway sport into even more intense, cannabinoid-rich athletic endeavors, such as marathons, soccer, swimming, iron man competitions, Tour de France, extreme fishing.
One can only conclude that unless we take steps towards legalizing marijuana, the only fair thing to do at this point is to make jogging illegal.
What’s that, Mr. Jogger Man? Afraid the government might ban your favorite activity because it alters a few chemicals in your brain? Are you so addicted to the Big J that the mere thought of such a notion makes you angry? Get a grip, man. You’re starting to act paranoid.
Oh, wait, I forgot.
You’re probably just stoned out of your gourd on steeplechase.
(Originally published 1/15/04.)
Click here to read the previous column “The Case Against Marriage.”