[Transcript] – Runner’s High: Marijuana’s Surprising Effects On Athletic Performance (& Whether Weed Really Can Make You Better At Sports).

Affiliate Disclosure


Podcast from:  https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/podcast/fitness-podcasts/runners-high-marijuanas-surprising-effects-on-athletic-performance-whether-weed-really-can-make-you-better-at-sports/

[00:00] Introduction/Quip Toothbrush

[02:07] Blue Apron

[04:39] Tim Moxey

[11:18] How Tim Ended Up Where He Is Now

[20:06] How Tim Got Into the Cannabis Industry

[28:21] Cannabis Use and Athletes

[32:53] Why Marijuana Use Is Encouraged In Some Sports

[37:57] Marijuana's Effects on Muscle Building And Recovery

[44:54] Quick Commercial Break/Earth Runners

[46:06] Organifi

[47:13] How Tim Makes The Edibles

[49:51] The Struggles Tim Faced In The Business

[57:36] How Tim Stays Ahead Of The Curve

[1:02:34] The Perfect Cannabis Product For Athletes

[1:05:41] Mixing In Things for Deliverability In Edibles

[1:15:03] End of Podcast

Ben: Okay, okay.  I know it's kind of controversial, but in today's show we are actually going to talk about drugs, specifically marijuana, and its surprising effects on athletic performance, and whether weed can really make you better at sports, and some very interesting things when it comes to the marriage of marijuana and athletic performance and exercise.  So this will be an intriguing show if you are interested in weed, or THC, or CBD, or anything like that.

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In this episode of The Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:

“So we came at with it as food first, an enjoyable experience first, and then making sure the cannabis was put in a standardized sort of way.  But we've really gone out our way to make products that they think are awesome in flavor and brilliant in efficacy.”  “To walk into what is a retail environment and the byproduct of the shelf that are really good.  You can't imagine how fast it’s moved in this state and others.”  “So introducing CBD, THC at the right ratio, and then continually sort of drip feeding that into the body for the duration of the activity.  That to me would be the Nirvana state.”

Ben:  Hey, folks.  It's Ben Greenfield, and it has been quite some time since I wrote the rather controversial article on my website called “The Effect Of Weed On Exercise: Is Marijuana A Performance Enhancing Drug“.  Now, I'm certainly going to link to that article for you to read because I spent a couple of months digging into the research at the time, the article is about a year old, on the effect of weed on everything from inflammation, to hormones, to sports performance, to body composition and fat loss or fat gain, to appetite loss or appetite gain, and a whole lot more.  But the fact is that combining cannabis and sports is this seemingly growing underground trend in the sporting industry, not only in the distance running in and endurance culture where it seems to have caught on relatively early, but all over the world now when it comes to bodybuilders using cannabis to prevent soreness and to sleep better, and action sports athletes like mountain bikers, and skiers, and snowboarding lighting up on the lift to get into their alpha brainwave zone, or to loosen up, or to release their inhibition, and you'll see a lot of evidence now and I'll put certainly some articles for you in the show notes for this episode which you're going to find over at the bengreenfieldfitness.com/weedpodcast.  That's bengreenfieldfitness.com/weedpodcast.

You've got athletes in skeleton and bobsledding, and ice hockey all over the world admitting to using cannabis to either enhance their sport, or to sleep better, or to do any other number of variables that we're going to talk about on today's show because I was able to hunt down a guy who I know from way back in the Ironman triathlon days, not way back, I make myself sound too old.  But basically a guy who got his start in the sports nutrition industry and in the sporting industry and then went on from there to delve into this growing world of cannabis.  His name is Tim Moxey.  And if you ever swam in a BlueSeventy wetsuit, that is the wet suit company that Tim helped to build, if you've ever consumed a Nuun electrolyte tablet, Tim also helped to pioneer that hydration and effervescent electrolyte tablet company.

And I remember actually way back when I was racing Ironman Hawaii, sitting with Tim by the pool, I don't know if you remember this, Tim, and you brought up this idea behind cannabis and the fact that a lot of athletes were looking into it, it was growing in terms of illegality in the US, and you're quite interested in it.  And at the time, I kind of thought you had a screw loose.  And I turn around now, what is it, like six, seven years later, and now you're running this company, botanicaSEATTLE, across the state from me.  You've got the leading edibles company in the state of Washington.  In a realm that's incredibly competitive, you've got this huge portfolio of brands in the cannabis industry now like SPOT chocolates, and Moxey's Mints, and BOND sexual lube, and Journeyman Cookies, and Proper Chocolates, and now these new smokable cannabis brands called Vashon Velvet, you're expanding in into Oregon, and California, and I believe Canada, and you're now deep, deep into the cannabis industry.  So you've obviously come a long way since our discussion in Kona, and now we get to have some fun and talk about cannabis and in the sporting industry on the show.  So welcome to the podcast, dude.

Tim:  Hey, Ben.  Nice to talk to you.

Ben:  I actually have a quick question for you though.  And by the way, if you guys didn't already get clued in from Tim's brief hello there, he is from the UK.  Is it true that, speaking of the UK, you did the world renowned Tough Guy obstacle course back in the day?

Tim:  I did.  Back in the day.  Before all these crazy events were sort of in the popular level of awareness.  This was back when Tough Guy was for certified lunatics and…

Ben:  Yeah.  And Tough Guy, I had the guy who did the documentary “Rise of The Sufferfest” on the show.  Tough Guy is the crazy obstacle course in the UK.  It's like the grandfather Spartan racing, and Tough Mudder, and everything else where most of the field, or a good portion of the field doesn't even finish the freaking race.  It's so hard and so cold, but it's just like this backwoods crazy obstacle race put on by, what's his name, Mr. Mouse?

Tim:  Mr. Mouse, yeah.

Ben:  Mr. Mouse.  And you actually did this race?

Tim:  Yeah.  It was back in ‘99, I think.  A friend suggested that I do this thing with him.  This was back in the day when the internet was just about kind of coming out, so you couldn't see a lot of what it was about, but you just have the rumour mill that was out there.  And we got our registration, wrote away for it, sent a check as you did back in the day for a race event, and went up to it.  And it was kind of an unknown quantity.  I just knew it was going to be crazy and hard.  I didn't realize it was going to be that crazy, that hard, or that cold.  It was absolutely freezing.

Ben:  Was that before or after you got into Ironman triathlon?

Tim:  I got into Ironman I think the year before, but that was a sudden, it was my first season of doing triathlons and I did an Ironman my first season, so I had already started to do things off of the deep end.  But it was the following year.

Ben:  So it was back in the ‘90s that you were getting into the triathlon industry, and you started up the wetsuit company BlueSeventy and the electrolyte company Nuun, and I ran into you when you were running those companies.  But tell me the story of, in your words, how you went from the triathlon industry into, of all things, cannabis, especially six or seven years ago, people wouldn't have even associated really that much with crazy things like obstacle course races, and triathlon, and kind of this clean, spandex wearing multi-sport industry.

Tim:  As I look back on my career, you can see the junction points as how you got to where you got to be.  But at the time to see the way forward, there's no way you could have kind of connected the dots.  I was leaving the UK to go to the US to do my MBA at Dartmouth and I wanted to try and do some fun stuff with friends and get a bit fit.  So I started to get into triathlon the year prior to leaving for the US.  And it just began as a sort of a let's-do-some-races.  And having been, I was young, low sort of 20's, and I used to sort of do triathlons when I was a teenager.  This was way back in the day.  And kind of enjoyed them.  So went to work for a bit, got out of shape, and then thought I'd get back into it.  So I joined a triathlon club, and it was in this club and entered my first Olympic distance for the [0:12:18] ______ in June.  And back in April I joined a triathlon club 'cause I decided I needed to try and get some training in.

Once I had sort of gone through a couple of these training sessions, the guys in the group were all bragging and saying things like, “Yeah, this is cool.  Olympic's cool, but the real men, they do half-Ironmans.”  I'm like, “Oh, yeah?  So maybe I should do one of those then.”  So we entered a half an Ironman, which was for July.  So I've now had my calendar for, April would be the start date, June was going to be the Olympic, July was going to be this half Ironman.  And I'm like, “Okay, I can probably get through this,” having never done a half-Ironman or ridden that far in my life.  And a couple of weeks later, these clowns in the triathlon group were saying, “Real men do Ironman.”  And I fell for it a second time.  So I entered this Ironman.  So now it was early May, and I had signed up for an Olympic, and then a month later a half Ironman, and then a month later an Ironman.  And it really dawned on me that I had screwed up and I was doing something that was so beyond what I was capable of.  And I managed to get through all three of these.  The half Ironman I think was the hardest thing that I had done, which was terrifying because in four week's time, I had to do twice that.  And four weeks, if you know what, post-race and taper looked like…

Ben:  Yeah.  You've got like a good seven to 10 days where you're recovering from the half Ironman, and then a week to train, and then you're tapering for the Ironman.  At the time, were you actually already delving into, 'cause I know your MBA from Dartmouth and you were educated in business, and I know you worked in Australia for a while for a strategic management consulting firm, and you…

Tim:  This predated all of that.

Ben:  You studied over in the UK.  But at the time that you were getting into triathlon, were you already developing wetsuits and working in the wetsuit industry?

Tim:  No.  I worked for a bank, this bank in the UK, and this was just, I thought I'd try and do some triathlons.  So this predated all of that other stuff.  So nothing to do with BlueSeventy or nothing to do with Nuun, I was just a guy who worked in a bank and thought I'd do some triathlons.  But what I found was I got through it all and I became, I mean I had to become a believer that kind of anything is possible because I had signed up for this stuff and my name was on the line.  So I got through these events and I'm still to this day a firm believer if your mind to something, you can do it.  And it may be hard to put your mind to it, but there's so much that you can achieve if you decide that's the way you kind of want to go.  So I did that race, the Ironman, and then the following year it was that sort of group that were doing crazy things.  ‘Cause back in, this was late ‘90s, only crazy people did Ironman sort of back then too.  So they were also doing [0:15:13] ______ and Tough Guy, so I ended up doing that one.

If you roll forward a couple of years, I had gotten my MBA from Dartmouth, and I was down in Australia working for the management consulting firm Bain, which you mentioned just now.  And they had a slower period, and when the consulting firms were doing this, they told the, say to the workers, “Hey, you can go over and do something else for six months or 12 months.”  So I decided to leave Bain for a period of time to come back to it later.  But in that period went to New Zealand, which was a really pretty part of the world, somewhere I had not been to and so far from England.  I couldn't pass up the opportunity to do that.  And it was there that I got involved with what was called Ironman wetsuits at the time.  And it was a very small company, and they made these great wetsuits and I was deep into loving triathlons and Ironman at the time.  So I had a chance to work with them and got involved in what was a small company.  And it was there that I discovered I really liked the small company stuff.  Bain is a tremendously brilliant company.  I thought leadership is outstanding, but my ideas, I have a lot of ideas, but I discovered that the better place for me to be would be in a smaller company where I could kind of put my ideas to work, and I have a lot of ideas, that I come up with a lot of things that I want to do, and I think arguably kind of too many sometimes, Ben.  But I got to do something with a small company and what I loved about it was I could come up with a way of doing something, a way to look at something, and then I could kind of make it happen.  In a bigger company, obviously it's a lot harder to do that.

So went I back to Bain after a period, said, “I don't want to do this anymore,” and then set on my way to building up what was Ironman wetsuits at the time and moved to the US.  So I moved to Seattle.  And when I was in Seattle, I started to build the company up quickly.  And it was then that I started to do this other idea that I had, which was Nuun, which was this electrolyte tablet.  Now Nuun was my entrepreneurship class when I was at Dartmouth.  And we'd had this project to work on something, to try and to come up with an idea, and my concept was to have a disconnect between the sports drink that you bought at the shop, that was a big tub, get big scoop of powder and make up your bottles before you go.  I wanted something that would go on the road with me.  I used to go to training in the White Mountains in Vermont and ride through New Hampshire.  It was incredibly hot and it was incredibly humid, and I had ran out of my drink.  I had my Gatorade and I'd run out of it.  And when you're schlepping along the hot roads, and the tarmac's reflecting the heat up, and you're desperate for a drink, and now all you're doing is looking for a convenience store, which, they don't exist in the middle of a Vermont.  They're not very common.

So I was trying to get a way that I could have my drink wherever I was that would give me what I needed.  And the short there was I wanted flavor, 'cause flavor helps you drink more, and I wanted electrolytes 'cause I was sweating so much, and I wanted to be able to carry it with me.  That was of the way that the Nuun bit started.  And it was a way for me and I guy that I cycled with, this finance professor called Ken French, as a way for us to go along and to get our drink wherever we were, and Nuun sort of came up as this brilliant concept.  But I didn't get a chance to do it until it was 2004, when I was running this wetsuit company, and then I was deeply in the triathlon, and I could sort of network with the triathlon people.  And this product, this idea for “how do I get hydration that goes where I go”?  And also had less, I guess, plastic waste than all the bottles that we'd get from Gatorade.  How can I get this thing up and out because it still hadn't occurred.   Like I was surprised that no one had come out with a Gatorade Light, or Gatorade To-Go or something.  So given that I was in the triathlon industry, I thought, “Right, I'm going to take a swing at this thing.”  So that's when Nuun started, and we started on the path forward.

Ben:  Which is incredibly popular now.  I mean there's a ton of spinoffs now in a lot of companies in the effervescent electrolyte tablet space, but Nuun was one of the first ones I was aware of in the triathlon industry.  So you obviously had your head wrapped around branding at that point because BlueSeventy was a wetsuit company that I know a lot of our listeners are probably familiar with and that I personally raced for and was sponsored by.

Tim:  Yeah.  You're one of our athletes, Ben.

Ben: Yeah.  I was one of the athletes back in the day, wearing the tight helix wetsuit, which still has a hollowed spot in my garage, and I still break out for the occasional open-water and even wore during the World's Toughest Mudder last year.  But you, from Nuun, got into the cannabis industry.  How did that happen?

Tim:  I've got a great, I think, skill in creating things.  I love looking forward and seeing where things could go.  So that was what BlueSeventy was.  How do we really come out with a, I went from Ironman wetsuits and we morphed it into this company, BlueSeventy.  But I really wanted to make open water swimming better for people.  We take away some of the concerns that they had.  We made products like these gloves that helped you a swim as if you sort of had a paddle, but gave you flexibility.  ‘Cause you're in open water.  You didn't want to freak out.  And we made these stocks, which had a huge change on the market 'cause people didn't like getting cold feet, as simple as that sounds.  Nuun, I guess, reinvigorated the sports drink market, or hydration market.  But as things sort of grew and went forward, it's nice for me to hand over to someone else and get other people to do it now.  And they can take it to places that truly, Ben, I can't do.  But at the time, I was sort of coming out of Nuun, and they had a management team that was building it up, and I could see this cannabis thing starting.  And I was living in Seattle at the end of the 2000's, and I wasn't a cannabis guy, but you could see it around you.  I've actually moved to the UK for a couple years between I think 11 and 13, I'd moved to England.  But I was still working with BlueSeventy and a bit with Nuun.  So I'd fly back to Seattle.  And on each trip, 'cause when you're not around something on a daily basis, you get to see it kind of changing.  Because you come in after a month or two, and you notice the differences.  But when you're in a city or around something, it's hard to notice the incremental growth.  Like seeing a tree.  You'll see it start to grow if you step away and come back again.

So on each trip, I'd come back and you could see it changing.  And that was coupled with this, I used to read The Economist as a good MBA should, and I would read that on the plane coming from sort of England to America.  And I recall reading this article that The Economist had written that said something along the lines of “The Great Cannabis Experiments That Washington And Colorado Are About To Undertake With Legalization Should Be Given The Space To Succeed Or Fail”.  And the premise was we've tried prohibition for so long at this point, it's all, I think, most of us have ever known, and we just accepted it.  But it doesn't work.  You look at the criminal population that's in jail, and the US has the highest level incarceration in the world, and the cost to maintain it is immense, lives get destroyed, and it doesn't even work.  It's not like you have a good policy that eradicates drugs.  They're kind of everywhere.  And The Economist said, “Let's give it a go,” because regulation and taxation is a viable alternative and potentially a better one than prohibition.  My thought, “Well, that is interesting.”  Because I'm kind of from Washington State, even though I was living in the UK at the time, I'd lived in Seattle for over 10 years.  I understood it. And while it wasn't an area that was something that I would gravitate toward, The Economists said this was interesting and gave me kind of a defense point to my peers.  I thought a lot, “I'll look at this.”  ‘Cause I like brands, right?  And I kind of agreed with the statement, prohibition hasn't worked.  It's costly to the populace.  What can you do…

Ben:  Did you just say 'cause you like brownies?

Tim:  No, no, no.  Because I like brands.

Ben:  Oh, 'cause you like brands.  I was like…

Tim:  A good brownie, Ben, is a work of art too.

Ben:  Right.  Exactly.  Yeah.  And that was what I was familiar with regarding you, back in the triathlon industry days, was you actually were very good at creating brands and at looking at trends in the industry and creating brands around.  So you like creating brands, and you saw this growing trend in the cannabis industry, and you read this article in The Economist?

Tim:  That's it.

Ben:  And from there, what exactly happened?  How does one actually get into the cannabis industry at that point?

Tim:  It began as a thought exercise. I started to imagine, 'cause I tend to train a bit, but I started to think through, “Well, how is this world going to look?”  We're so familiar with the world that we inhabit, and now you're about to start something that is bizarre.  One, you've got a huge market that exists today.  But on the other hand, it's going to be a different supply chain.  The market demand is there, but we're going to create the infrastructure to supply it.  And I started to imagine, “Well, how's this going to look?”  And if you think about it, what are the stores going to look like, and what to going to be in the stores?  So I began just breaking it down piece by piece, imagining this world forward.  But the linchpin here, the important bit to know is that The Economist was talking about Washington and Colorado and the new efforts that they had to legalize cannabis.  I'm a pretty safe, MBA type person.  And while I, you know, start and entrepreneur…

Ben:  Yeah.  You're not a stoner.  You're an English MBA in a suit.

Tim:  Yeah.  I got to thinking, “Well I'm not going to tiptoe into that world.  But if you've legalized it,” and it was legal at the state level and not the federal level, which is just bizarre for a British person to understand.  But there is a level of acceptance that was coming around it and regulation that was going to be there, and I thought, “Well, I'll enter into that and throw my hand into the ring with it.”  So it began an exercise in tearing apart the rules.  I ended moving back to Washington State and into Seattle, partnered up with a business school friend of mine Chris Abbott, we were in the class together and I thought, “Well I need someone to go along with me on this thing and to help me forward.”  It's going to be a bit of a crazy right given that we didn't know much about what it was going to look like, and we just tore the rules apart and we started to figure out, “Well, what could it look like?  What could we do?  And how would we begin to build the company?”  And the interesting thing was on one hand you could have this in, again, this huge market that was ahead of you, and the confidence that if you did something the market would be there.  But on the other hand, you had no idea how it was going to look.  It hadn't been done before.  There had been no market that had suddenly just legalized in illicit markets.  So it was, and is, incredibly exciting and kind of daunting at the same time.  And from that point on, we just started to create things and go forward.  And that's how it sort of stayed ever since.  Every day is just creating new things, seeing what sticks, seeing what works.  And if it doesn't, iterate it and to go around and improve it.

Ben:  Now when you talk to, 'cause I want to really explore this idea behind marijuana's effect on athletic performance and whether weed really can make you better at sports or how it affects people from like a hormonal, or an inflammatory, or a recovery standpoint.  And I'm curious, first of all, when you talk to athletes and exercise enthusiast, being in the industry, what's the current perception of cannabis? Just as an aside, I know for example the USA Today recently reported on like the world's first marijuana gym where there is this San Francisco gym called Power Plant Fitness where people can bring edibles, or even like order edibles right there at the gym and actually either inhale marijuana or use an edible as a way to decrease pain, or enhance focus, or enhance meditation.  I've got another friend who runs these big kundalini yoga classes in LA where they'll do like 90 minute kundalini sessions.  And people in there, they aren't just dabbling edibles, they're getting high out of their minds and doing kundalini yoga.  But when you're talking to athletes and exercise enthusiasts, what's the current perception of cannabis that you feel that they have or what's kind of like the usage in the industry right now that you seem to notice?

Tim: Well first off, I think it mirrors the perception in the populace, which are that there's a good chunk of people out there who can see the benefits of it, or use it, or have used it, but most people don't.  And it's the same with athletes, but I think more tilted to a level of skepticism that comes around that.  Cannabis for a lot of people is recreational.  But most people, again, don't use cannabis.  So overcoming the stereotypes that are out there is I think the biggest hurdle that the industry at large has, not just on the athletic side, but the industry at large.

The people that have used cannabis for sports tend to be quite into it.  Again, it's sort of a person who has chosen to educate themselves on the benefits of it.  And I think that's in part because you try and find a way to put your level of knowledge above that of the person that you're talking to.  If you go out and say, “I'm going to have cannabis and go for a long run,” people are going to view you with a level of kind of skepticism.  So you build up your knowledge as to why this is a good idea and become something of an expert in this space.  Again, the people that use it really seem to like it.  Most people at this point have yet to sort of come on, Ben, and I think that's in part because it's easy to get it wrong.  I mean if you do too much, it's not going to work.  Except perhaps your yoga class.  It's not going to work the way kind of want it to.  And I sort of joke around as sort of somewhat unofficial head of R&D in the company.  I've only got so many hours in the week, so you need to be somewhat mindful of the level of investment you put into creating a new product and seeing if it works.  And something of a side track, when I was developing some of the brands for SPOT, there was a period of time where I had to ask…

Ben:  SPOT being like the dark chocolate edible that you guys…

Tim:  Yeah.  That's right.  So it's an edibles brand based in Washington State and is focused on primarily on the recreational side.  But there was a period of time where I had to ask myself a hard question, which was, “Am I doing more research,” because it's research as to how strong this should be, or the type of the cannabis that we're using within it, “or am I just doing it because I kind of like it?”  And I had to really sort of pull myself away from it because cannabis is quite enjoyable, right?  Especially at the lower sort of level.  I think finding that right level is the bit that will encourage people into the sport, or into the, I guess, the activity.  So one of the things we're trying to do is to find that level which may be somewhat benign for some people, but for most people it will really say, “Oh, you know what?  That was really interesting.  I liked that,” and get the level right.  But most people do view it with sort of a level of skepticism, as they did with the recreational products.  But once you get someone a product that goes against their perception on how it's going to be, if they come back to you and say, “Actually, that was really nice.  I enjoyed that.  Can I get some more?  Where do I buy them,” then you're in a good space.  And if you think about it, the goal of the company is to create products that are actually really nice and enjoyable to most people.  That's our goal is to say, “How can you have cannabis in some way, shape, or form to come into your life and say ‘that is a net positive for the life that I'm having'.”  And I think that goes for recreational use and it goes into sports use.

Ben:  Got it.  So when it comes to the actual effects of edibles, it's obviously banned by organizations like USADA and the World Anti-Doping Association.  Marijuana is something that is banned.  I think that the argument on CBD goes back and forth whether they're actually testing for that actual molecule, but for THC for sure.  It is something that is banned, and the question is why?  If it, for example, just makes you hungry or decreases your reaction time, why would they ban it?  Aside from you know sports where you would be operating heavy machinery like a motorcycle, or motocross, or something like that.  So when it comes to the actual sports performance or the ergogenic aids of marijuana, what are some of the main reasons that you think an athlete or someone who's exercising would even use something like this, or why would there even be like a gym that's encouraging the use of edibles?

Tim:  That's kind of interesting.  Well first off, I don't, it's on my paygrade to say whether it should or shouldn't be banned.  I think USADA and so forth have done right now is to key off what would be the federal-and-slash-global policy around the cannabis, which is that it's a banned substance.  So they sort of sat in behind that one.  If it's illegal at the federal level, it's also illegal here.  I think they've sidestepped the, I guess, the discussion that needs to happen and if it wasn't banned as it won't be in Canada going forward, it's going to be illegal within Canada, should it then be banned for sports.  And I think that the order sequence needs to go that way because there's plenty of things that are allowed in real life, but not in sport.  But if it's not allowed at a national level, how can it possibly be allowed in sport because you're tacitly sort of breaking the law, and that's one of those [0:33:46] ______ .  I do think that people who use cannabis use it for a level of, I think, finding a level of internal calm.  You talked about using at the yoga practice, and I think people can just use it to screen some of the noise out that's there.  But depending on the person, it can increase the level of noise that's in there.

I think the way cannabis is used by a lot of people is it's used to find a place that works for them or doesn't work for them.  It's a very sort of personal thing.  The one thing that we you know about cannabis is that there are many, many effects sort of on the body and on the mind.  And the way cannabis works, and the way any drug works, is you have receptors in the body and the drug will mimic something that fits into the receptors, so therefore it triggers it.  So when you have a certain type of drug, it tells the body to react in a certain way.  Or tells the mind to react in a certain way. Well there are a lot more cannabinoid receptors in the body than any other type of receptor, which is kind of interesting because we didn't learn about this at school.  It's only just sort of coming out.  The reason cannabis affects your body in so many ways is basically there's bits all over the body and in the brain that can hear some attribute of cannabis in some way, shape, or form.

So cannabis certainly does have a very positive effect it in a very anti-inflammatory and it can create, I think, net positive benefits.  There's a lot research coming through on sort of the cancer positive side of things.  So it can increase appetite, or it can decrease appetite depending on the strain that's out there.  Or it can increase anxiety or it can decrease it depending on the strain.  So you've got all these varying types.  So to say cannabis is not, it is to describe what it is, but it's also not to describe what it is because depending on the strain, you can have a very different outcome.  I do think that certain strains for certain people can have a great benefit.

Ben:  Now when it comes to athletic performance, obviously it is generally accepted that smoking or ingesting it would decrease your reaction time, or would disrupt your hand-eye coordination, or your perception, or divide your attention.  And that is something that I think is one of the main reasons that it kind of gets thrown under the bus when it comes to sports.  I mean obviously for the evening, you'll see a lot of UFC fighters and you'll see a lot of athletes who need to settle down at the end of the day using an edible, or vaping, or smoking to allow them to be able to sleep because those same effects that caused the decrease reaction time, or disrupt the hand-eye coordination, or perception, or decrease attention also help you to get a really good night of sleep when you're at the end of a tough day of training.  Now unfortunately you're still you know outside the bounds of legality if you're an athlete using it for those effects.

In lower doses I know that one of the reasons that a lot of endurance athletes use marijuana, like trail runners for example are a perfect example, is in lower amounts you get more of a pain numbing effect, and there's actually a little bit of what's called a bronchodilatory effect or like an anti-asthmatic effect of marijuana in low doses that could help you get through a tough training session, or if you were like a UFC fighter, a rolling session for pain killing, or for creativity, or for focus.  So part of it I know depends upon the actual dosage, but then you get into things that go outside the scope of, say, the proven anti-inflammatory effect, or the proven relaxation or pain killing effect, like muscle building.  There's a lot of interesting research on muscle building and growth hormone, and I actually wanted to ask you, I mean I've looked into this little bit, but have you looked into this much when it comes to like the world of bodybuilding, or muscle building, or recovery when it comes to actual repair of the body?

Tim:  We haven't.  We focused at this point mainly on the, I guess, the mental side of it and the uplift on it.  I think one of the things to say there's so little research out there because it's a schedule on drug, so research is banned.  So it's very hard to sort of look at things and say whether there's really a benefit coming through.  But yeah, it's really interesting.

Ben:  Well I know for muscle synthesis, the main things that I've seen is that it actually seems to interrupt what's called the mTOR signaling pathway, which means you get a lot of people who are pursuing like trying to live a long time.  They'll do cold thermogenesis, or they'll, which we had a great session when I visited you in Seattle, we actually went to the spa and did some hot-cold therapy, which is great for longevity and inhibits that mTOR pathway.  And then there's another thing that people do, which is intermittent fasting, or calorie restriction, to inhibit that pathway.  And I know that even though this may fly in the face of getting swole or building a lot of muscle, there is some evidence that THC can actually interrupt that same mTOR signaling pathway.  So it can actually have this mild longevity enhancing effect.  And most of the studies on this have been done in rodents who have actually been taking in a lot of weed, like what in humans would be the equivalent of taking like 100 to 200 milligrams of THC for a couple of weeks, which is a lot of THC.  But it's been shown to actually have a little bit of an inhibition of that mTOR signaling pathway, which I think is really interesting if you're trying to live a long time and shut down that pathway, it seems that mild use of marijuana could actually have a benefit on that.  If you're trying to build as much muscle as possible, when it comes to growth hormone, when it comes to testosterone, when it comes inhibiting that pathway, in my opinion, regular use of marijuana may not be the best strategy when it comes to that.  But again, dose is in the poison when we're talking about muscle building because it's copious amounts of marijuana that they were giving to those rodents, for example.

Tim:  Yeah.  There's a guy called Dr. Ethan Russo who lives on an island, Vashon Island near Seattle, one of the preeminent minds in cannabis research.  And he's…

Ben:  Ethan Russo?

Tim:  Ethan Russo.  R-U-S-S-O.  And Ethan Russo came up with this concept, this entourage effect which was, rather than taking a reductionist approach to cannabis and to say it's about the THC or it's about the CBD, it's all the myriad of, I guess, compounds that are in cannabis, the terpene structure and everything that fits into it that goes to give the effect that comes out of a certain strain.  So it's not just THC, it's about all the other stuff that's going on.  And of course, again, they're not super sure on how it all works.  But it's interesting, I went to a speech that he gave a number of months back, and his view was this: to have a really long, healthy life, there are so many benefits that come out of cannabis, but particularly CBD and THC had a role to play 'cause the two work synergistically.  And he said that you should take 20 to 30 milligrams of CBD every day and as much THC…

Ben:  That's a pretty decent amount.

Tim:  Of CBD, right?  Of CBD.  And as much THC as you can without unwanted side effects, and he said the FDA would call unwanted side effects euphoria.  But what he was saying was take this amount of CBD 'cause there are benefits all over the body.  CBD is not psychoactive.  Your brain can't hear it, so it's a weird feeling.  Your body feels kind of nice, but your brain's not hearing it.  And enough THC so that you can do everything you need to do and it won't inhibit, I guess, your daily life.  But THC has a small role to play, and I think that's a really interesting area for us to start playing around in.  And that's certainly an area to start looking at for endurance.  Because if you…

Ben:  And what was the milligram dosage you said that he recommended for CBD?

Tim:  He said 20 to 30.

Ben:  Okay.  That is interesting.  For a second there, I thought you were talking about weed in general.  But I mean I personally have these little 10 milligrams CBD capsules that I use, and I take about two to four of those prior to bed.  So I'm usually, I guess I'm about 20 to 40.  And then he's saying that you would combine that with just enough THC so that you weren't getting like a paranoia or a psychoactivity effect, but you're still stimulating the endocannabinoid system?

Tim:  Yeah.  And depending on who you are, that level conflicts.   ‘Cause THC is the psychoactive bit.  So for some person, their level may be much higher.  Maybe their job allows them to take a higher amount, and maybe they want to do that.  And for someone else, they just can't.  But it was interesting, he wasn't just talking about CBD.  THC has a role to play, and how the two sort of interact.  And some level of THC is beneficial.  And when I’m looking at some products with more of an athletic sort of side, and now I am one of the test guinea pigs, so I get to not just say this is how I think it should work, I get to then try and follow that up and say, “Well, does it work?”  For SPOT, we'd be making a product which is 10 milligrams of CBD and three milligrams of THC.  And for me, as a single dose goes, that's a really nice place to be.  You're just made aware of it.  It's certainly pleasurable, but you do settle in when I've used it for long runs.  You do settle in to a kind of a groove.

Ben:  And this is something that you guys make with SPOT edibles.  Is it something you're selling right now, or is it something you're developing?

Tim:  That's been on the shelf for about a year.  And it was originally…

Ben:  That's the one with three times as much CBD as THC?

Tim:  Yeah, that's right.  Yeah.  And that one started more as a recreational, more of a recreational product just at the end of a long day, but you didn't want to get stoned, let's say.  But I've been using that on runs, and it's been interesting to try and just have a chocolate and then go for a run.  And again, run through the am-I-just-doing-this-'cause-I-kind-of-like-it.  What's interesting is when I start running, I'm not as aware of the THC part of it.  It's almost like it's not there.  What I find is I'm able just to get into more of a groove and just run.  And that's a kind of a nice place to be.  If you're going to go for a 10 mile run, it's nice to get into sort of random.  I think that sort of level of continuity, or focus, or flow is the bit that will come out of cannabis.  Because there are other benefits coming through.  There's no doubt that I ache less after CBD.

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Ben: Now in an edible like that, is it a specific strain that you guys use when, I know you have your big facility there in Seattle, and you get your herbs in, and you put them into the chocolates, and I've actually done a tour of your facility.  It's fascinating and intriguing how these things are actually made.  But are you using like an indica strain in something like that, is it a sativa strain, is it a hybrid, or what have you guys found on your end to be beneficial when it comes to, say, athletes who are going to go out on a run or something like that?

Tim:  Okay.  So there's lots of learning that's happening with cannabis right now.  Because the dominant part of this chocolate in this case, and in fact we make some mints as well with a high CBD, amount we try and buy a strain which naturally reflects the levels of CBD to THC is the outcome that we want.  So we're buying, we've gone away from the indica, sativa, I guess, strain lineage at this point and we're buying high CBD strains.  And we're buying those with ideally a three, sort of to one ratio.  So then we can put that in as a whole plant sort of extract into the chocolate to get the ratio that we want.  And the reason I say this is a lot of products and companies will take a cannabis strain and then put it through this reductionist exercise to take away everything else that was there to end up with either the CBD or the THC that they want.  In our perspective, it's much better to try to retain as much of the plant as you can.  So we start with a strain that is a 3:1 mix, and then we get an extract from that, and that's the one that we use.

Ben:  Okay.  Got it.  Now when it comes to the actual creation of these type of edibles, when I toured your facility like I mentioned, it seems like you guys had to jump through a ton of different hoops to you even stay in business.  Like as far as having the right number of milligrams in each product and satisfying all of the different, I guess, regulations that state or federal government requires one to follow when you're in the cannabis industry.  Can you walk me through some of the frustrations that you've outlined to me being in the business?  Because I was shocked at just the amount of preciseness that you actually have to pay attention to when you're in this industry, and I think this would be very interesting to a lot of folks to kind of to hear you open a kimono when it comes to like the cannabis industry and how it goes actually making an edible when it comes to what you guys have to do to actually even stay in business.

Tim:  It's been incredible.  On one hand, I get frustrated by regulations because it can tie your hands up and can get really hard to kind of to comply with.  On the other hand, they've legalized cannabis in Washington State, and now in Oregon, California, and a number of other states, and that's incredible.  Like you live in Washington State, and to be able to walk into a store, and to walk into what is a retail environment, and to buy products off the shelf that are really good, you can't imagine how fast it's moved in this state and others.  And when you go to other states where cannabis is not allowed, and I was in New York City last week, you forget 'cause that much has moved on over here.  And part of the reason it's done that is because they've had really good regulations that made the products that come out really good.  So regulations are sort of the blessing and the curse, right?  But it's certainly true to say that we are at business now that is under intense scrutiny.  And that's good.  It's made it hard, but it's made it good for the consumer.  Because to make things precisely, to get it to deliver on the promise of what it says it's got on the inside is exactly how it should be.  And if you remember how medical cannabis used to be in Washington State, let’s go back four years, it was all over the place.  And you'd buy products that didn't look very good, and I would buy these products, Ben, it was pretty interesting.  But I'd try them, and it was hit and miss as to how it's going to be.  And that was part of the appeal of it.  I'm not going to lie.  It was a bit of a rollercoaster.  Like, “Well, I wonder what this one's going to be like.”  And there's no guarantee.  Just because you'd had that product before from that store meant nothing.  Like it depended on how it was made.

Ben:  Right, you'd have one product in to get you high out of your mind, and then you have another product and you'd see nothing because of a lack of standardization.

Tim:  Yeah!  And again, that was part of the appeal, I guess.  It was certainly an interesting period, right?  But on the other hand the point of a brand is to let you know that the thing that you're holding has these certain attributes and is exactly the same as it was last time, as a whole standardization of product under a brand strategy.  So when we came out with a brand, it was our job to sort of make products that sat underneath that.  And regulation has helped us do that.  But there are, I mean the interesting thing with this was when I got into this business, we got the law handed to us, and we've read it, and we've followed it.  That's how it worked.  But what I discovered was that the law can bend, and flex, and change over time, and it's our job to go down to Olympia in Washington State and to lobby, and to say, “This is how we think it should be.”  And what was a real eye-opener for me was the legislator were very keen for us to have our say 'cause they want the industry to work too.  They want a safe, they want a robust industry that takes away the black market sort of economy that taxes it, and it makes it safe and makes it good.  So we're on the same team is to say, “Hey, you know what?  These rules that you've got aren't really that good.  How do we improve on it?”

And given that they made the rules up, and they did make them up, it's very smart people writing them, but they took their swing at, “Here's how we think it should work.”  Well guess what?  Some bits are good, some bits are bad, some bits are just stupid.  There's just all the red tape that you've got to get 'round.  There is a lot of regulation in place, the tracking, the products that come through, we have a small army of people that actually put little stickers, bar codes on the products, and we can only do that at kind of the point of sale before it goes out to the store.  And between you and me, it is a total waste of time and money.  But it's the law, so we comply with the law, and we then lobby and say, “Hey, this bit doesn't work very well here.  We think you should change it.”  Kind of a good example of that is when we have products that can't be used, we have to dispose of it in a certain way.  Because you can't put it in the waste bin, throw it out the door 'cause people would want to get the product.

If you're growing weed and you've got a tree of sort of cannabis, the bits that you can't use, it's either moldy or bad, I guess it's stem, a bit of a stick that really can't be used for anything.  But we make baked goods, and chocolate, and so forth.  So our product would be, say, the ones that fell on the floor, the ones that weren't the right shape, or just the leftover bits on the side, well that actually is as good as any other part of the product.  It just doesn't kind of cosmetically look as good.  So we have to dispose of it, and there's quite a lot that we have to dispose of each week and it breaks my heart to see that we have to dispose of it and track every single part of this down to the gram right so the state knows that what came into that the company was then turned into product or it was disposed of safely.  We have to track all of this, and it goes through these big computer systems, and state can look at it to make sure that we're not siphoning stuff off into sort of other areas.  And the way we dispose of it…

Ben:  I was amazed at how much you guys actually had to throw away.

Tim:  Yeah.  In a normal company, you wouldn't worry about it, right?  You wouldn't worry about if you were rolling out some bread dough or something, and you needed to put some of it somewhere else or you make that loaf a little bit bigger because you're using up the extra dough.  Well we can't do that.  Everything has to be exactly the same size.  So that little bit of dough that we've got left over, now we can't throw it in the bin because we have to track it.  So we have to take it right away through the life cycle of the product, end up with these bags of free chews or something that we've just made, and now we have to bag it all up and then dispose of it, but the way we have to dispose of it, it keys off sort of where, I guess, smokable cannabis would be 'cause that's the bulk of the market in this state.  So we dispose of it as if it was, I think, smokable cannabis.  And the law basically in this state says you need to mix it with some garden waste or other sort of, I guess, tree-like product.  Which is kind of crazy 'cause we've got loads cookies and we mix it with bits of trees and stuff.  You just end up with a really weird mix.

Ben:  Yeah.  You have like these big bins of compost mixed with like cannabis.  It was crazy.  Just like tons of chocolate cannabis mixed of compost you guys had to throw out because for anything that wasn't standardized to the exact specifications of the hoops you're acquired to jump through by, I guess it's the state of Washington, right?

Tim:  Yeah.  That's right.  And like you said, they've done a wonderful job with some of the rules [0:56:28] ______ into law, so we're working with them, trying to come up with really what is the best practice.  ‘Cause again, the regulators sit above us, and now they'll hold our feet to the fire when they need to do that.  But at the same time, we're out to build a strong, robust system that does a great job.  The only way that cannabis is going to be legalized at a federal level, if you imagine rolling forward to that, and I'd love to see it get legalized 'cause I think it should be.  The only way you do that is by doing a good job today, and I think Washington State is leading the way in showing how a good regulation can work.  And education's in there, we've got freedom of choice.  People will pick things that kind of work for them.  Within the state, it's going on pretty well.  I'm really pleased with how we are moving.

Ben:  Yeah.  Now when it comes to you guys being one of the leading edible companies in the world, what is it that you're doing to actually accomplish that?  I mean do you have like unique flavors, or unique ingredients?  Obviously, you're committing to a pretty high amount of standardization in your products.  But how are you staying ahead of the curve with the cannabis industry growing as fast as it's growing, especially when it comes to edibles?

Tim:  We started as non-cannabis people.  And I'd already gone through and created Nuun, and the first thing about Nuun was to make Nuun taste great.  Having a…

Ben:  Nuun being the effervescent electrolyte tablets, your alternative to Gatorade.

Tim:  That's right.  And at the time, you'd have your Gatorade and it didn't taste great.  And it was a struggle 'cause you want a drink that tastes great if you're not going to drink as much.  The first rule in hydration is it's got to taste good when you drink it, the same with making an edible product.  If it doesn't taste very good, well you're not really going to want to eat the thing.  So we came with it as food first, an enjoyable experience first, and then making sure the cannabis was put in a standardized sort of way.  But we've really gone out of our way to make products that I think are awesome in flavor and brilliant in efficacy, but you are taking it for a reason.  As much as we make great chocolate, and we use fantastic chocolate from France, so it tastes wonderful, but the reason you're having our chocolate is because of the cannabis element in there.  So really we focused on flavor and experience, and the experience is tremendously important.  A lot of companies just take cannabis into a product.  And like with the SPOT brand, we've gone out of our way to have a sativa-like experience, an upbeat experience, and an indica experience, which is more sort of a calm one.  We do a hybrid.  It allows you to pick the experience that you want to get out of it.  And that to me is interesting bit.  You're taking it for a reason.  And you mentioned earlier, you said paranoia.  Some strains can make you a bit paranoid, and some strains can make you really chilled out, and some strains can make you bit more excited and really think, more creative.

So picking the experience that you want to get to, for me that's what cannabis is about.  Like what do I want to do here and how do I find a product that takes me to that place or allows me to find my spot.  So if I want to go for a training run, there are some products that work to me.  The 10 by 3 CBDs, for example.  If I want to go and see Mad Max, I would have the sativa 10 milligram cookie and I would put on those 3D goggles and I would see Mad Max.  But picking that the one that really works for you is really the experience 'cause I think cannabis is tremendously interesting.  It just depends which bit of it you try.  And again, how sort of strong it is.

Ben:  And then you also have these lotions or these topicals, and from what I understand, this BOND that you guys create, that's just purely for sexual performance.  That isn't like an anti-inflammatory lotion or anything like that.  You just put that on and it's like a localized THC delivery to the area the skin that you put it on?

Tim:  Yeah.  I mean that was an interesting one.  We did some research on it, or anecdotal, I guess, research on it.  And I will say at this point, because it Schedule One, it means that there is no research that's allowed within the US, really.  In other countries, the same thing applies.  So you go with what is anecdotal and then what works for you.  Same thing with Nuun.  All the scientific evidence said that you needed sugar at a certain ratio to really make the hydration product work.  What I found was Nuun worked for me, and I began to iterate and say, “Well, hang on.  This is what I believe.”  And I can really only believe me.  If it works for me, I don't know what to tell you.  It works for me.  And if it works for you too, that's awesome.  So when we tried to do a BOND-type product, we had a little bit of indication that it'd be a good idea, we made a version of it and started to try it and see.  And then we found that it worked.  Well, okay.  That's interesting.  I wonder why it worked.  I wonder what's going on here.  But what we do know is that it works.  And maybe the explanation will catch up later.  So that was a pretty interesting one to try.  And the good bit with it was it really does work.  It really, it works for women primarily.  And they came back and I said, “This is really cool.  We really like this.”  And I said, “Well that's nice.  We should make more of that.”  And that's where the product, BOND, began and grew up.

Ben:  Interesting.  So the BOND, obviously folks, you can use your imagination with that one.  It's like a sexual lube.  I know you guys have like your Journeymen cookies, which are more of like a party cookie, obviously these SPOT dark chocolate edibles, the mints with the higher CBD ratio, or the higher THC, depending what you want.  But then you're also, you mentioned how you experimented with things for athletic performance.  Fill me in on what you think would be kind of like the best things for athletes if it comes to products that don't exist yet, or products that are in development.  Like if you were going to have like the perfect type of cannabis product for an athlete with the right ratios and everything, what are some things that you would do?

Tim:  CBD is anti-inflammatory.  So if you just stop there, ibuprofen has a big role to play in triathlon 'cause of its anti-inflammatory properties, right?  Well CBD has anti-inflammatory properties, which are really good.  So if you just say, “I've got CBD because it helps with my knees.  It hurts less on my back, it lowers my pain,” I guess it would increase my pain threshold, then that's a good thing.  Just there.  So CBD has a huge role to play.  I think there's a lot of other stuff going on in the body which again I'm not sure what it is.  What I do know is when I have the CBD products, I just seem to work a bit better.  Just across the board.  So I think the CBD coming in is one thing.  Playing around with this THC ratio, that will be the interesting one.  Because too much and you'll need the wig out, or I guess kind of forget what you were doing.  So getting a low enough THC level that works for you, and it is an individual thing, but I think having a unitized system where you could say, “Well I'm going to have one of these, or three of these,” get to a level that sits within your, I guess, usage pattern, or I guess focus that you want to be in, that's where the interesting part is for me.  And then on top of that, we can layer in some of the alternative, I guess, cannabinoids, CBG is in there and CDN, and really come up with a product that works.

For now, our focus is on the CBD to THC ratio.  And just within that, we just isolate it to that, there's a lot to sort of experiment with.  So now for me, it's how do we get to a level of, say, five milligrams of CBD, one milligram of THC, which is what our mints are sold in, and then at what period are you consuming them again.  So if I have one, do I have another one in an hour, or two hours, or three hours?  Because the goal will be to try and get to a level of THC that doesn't act as a negative to what it is that you're doing.  So introducing CBD, THC at the right ratio and then continually sort of drip feeding that into the body for the duration of the activity, that to me would be the Nirvana state.  I feel this way now, I feel that way for the rest of the activity.  But the THC and the CBD will run out over time.  So how do you have something that constantly drip feeds into the system?

Ben:  And what about this idea behind the entourage effect that you mentioned earlier, like mixing and things like, I talked to you about like those sleep cakes that I made with kratom, and CBD, and THC.

Tim:  I did sleep, Ben.  I slept hard.

Ben: Yeah.  Slept like a rock.  But I mixed like black pepper, and turmeric, and even this thing called copiaiba oil, and if you guys don't know what I'm talking about, I've written an article on it somewhere if you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/weedpodcast, I'll put a link to my sleep cake edible recipe in there.  But I mixed in things that would allow for more bioavailability or more delivery, like black pepper, turmeric, copaiba oil, things along those lines when you're making an edible, are you guys get at the point where you think about mixing in things that would increase deliverability?

Tim:  Yes.  I mean.  I certainly think that if you find something works, you take that thing.  For the perspective of the steady state, and again I go to the steady state, the speed of absorption, putting something in that increases the bioavailability of it makes some sense.  But what you're doing there is you're leveraging the power of the ingredient you put into it to kind of get it up to a different level.  Where I'm trying to focus on right now is what are the absolute, sort of levels that, say, would work for me?  And then how do I need to increase the point at which it gets felt within the body.  That would be cool.  I'd love to do that, or to have something that acts as kind of a catalyst to say, “I've added less, but it equals more.”  And there are some products that are out there on the market, but the start point for me is what do I know given the very limited inputs that I've got to place.  ‘Cause every time you move something, something else moves.  So you play this weird game of Whack-A-Mole.  So if I take this down to the CBD and the THC part and then it works, good.

And I kind of understand myself at this point and what works on testing on other people.  I do then think that adding in these other, I guess, functional ingredients, then it becomes a lot more interesting.  And I think we're at the point now where, like you said with your sleep cakes, that your levels, so I've got the big building blocks in place here.  I'm going to try this extra black pepper, you say.  I'll pop that in to try and see if there's some discernable difference here.  Sometimes there's not.  I have turmeric in my coffee, I like where it tastes, I read that it does some benefit.  Yeah, I'm just going to hold to that.  So I add it to my coffee and still do to this day.  Whether or not it is doing something, it's very hard for me to say.  What I do know with cannabis, there's no doubt, if you had one of our mints and it's got gingko in it, it's got ginseng in it, and there are benefits to having those properties within a mint.  Here's what I do know: it's kind of hard to tell that it's really in there.  But when you add cannabis, there's no doubt that you know another herb has been added and it's really doing something.  With cannabis, you can really understand that there's a benefit to it and feel it.  It's not just there's a science book explanation to this.  You get it.  You can feel it.  That's what I think is interesting about cannabis, and CBD, and THC is yeah, I feel good.  I feel good here.  This is…

Ben:  Yeah.  Those mints are probably my favorite cannabis edible that I've ever tried my life.  You call 'em, they're named after you, The Moxey's Mint.  But if you're listening in and you just want to kind of like get a start into the cannabis edible world, that's a very, very good good point to start in my opinion, even though the SPOT edibles are also pretty tasty.  Now in the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/weedpodcast, I'll also link to kind of more of a scientific article that I wrote on what happens to your body when you consume marijuana and how marijuana affects athletic performance, how it affects muscle growth, what it does to your hormones, whether or not it affects your appetite, or your body composition, et cetera.  And so I'm going to put some resources for you guys in there as well.  But Tim, when it comes to you guys, I know that botanicaSEATTLE is your holding company that produces a lot of these different brands.  From what I understand people, still can't buy this type of thing on the internet right?  They'd have to go to like a local cannabis store and ask specifically, “Hey, do you guys have stuff made by botanica?”  Is that correct?

Tim:  That's right, yeah.  So we're available in Washington State.  And our products, in fact we just started selling Mr. Moxey's Mints down in Oregon, and we started doing that last week.  So they're just going on shelves down there.  But outside of that, nothing on the internet.  You have to go into a store.  And it's well worth the experience.  It's great to see that, again, the way that things have changed, it's a retail environment and there's a lot of choices in there.  Choice is great for consumers.

Ben:  Yeah.  And again, it's botanicaSEATTLE.  If you guys want check out their stuff, go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/weedpodcast.  I'm a huge fan of their products 'cause they're clean, Tim's got a background in the athletic industry and I'm really keeping my eyes on them as a company to follow when it comes to, eventually, being on the cutting edge of producing things for athletes.  And so I love what they're doing, I like that he's got this approach that's not kind of like, again, like a stoner approach as much as like a very educated man who's got a background in the sporting industry who puts a lot of intelligence and thought into their design of their edibles.  You still of course have to be careful, anytime I talk about these things, I have to throw that caveat that in there that THC is still banned by USADA and WADA, the higher CBD compounds seem to be a little more favorable when it comes to athletes and performance.  So I like the idea of eventually of having more CBD-rich edibles with less of the THC, but as Tim pointed out, having a little bit of the THC in with the CBD seems to give a little bit of an extra edge for painkilling and for focus that is superior even to CBD, although that unfortunately kind of goes outside the bounds of legality in many situations.  But either way, it's a very, very interesting industry, it's an interesting molecule.

As Tim mentioned, the endocannabinoid system is completely untapped for a lot of people and not even something that they play around with much, but it's something that's certainly been a game changer for me when it comes to figuring out ways to stimulate the endocannabinoid system.  And yeah, I still race in things like Spartan, I still have to be very, very careful with the forms of cannabis that I personally use.  But either way if this isn't something that you've yet looked into, I would highly recommend that you do.  And go check out some of the stuff they have over at, you can go just review some of their brands up a botanicaseattle.com and print 'em off, or write, jot down what it is that you're interested in getting and just go to your local weed shop and see what you can hunt down because their stuff is actually really good, extremely standardized based on my own experience with having toured their facility over in Seattle and seeing how much they have to freaking throw out and what goes into the production of each product.  It's pretty amazing.  So Tim, thanks for coming on the show and sharing all this stuff with us, man.

Tim:  No worries.  And let me just say one thing.  Cannabis obviously has been vilified for a very long time.  And I think it's interesting to try and step away from the concept that it was illegal, and wrong, and everything that we were sort told as we were kids sort of growing up and to revisit this and say, “Okay, well what is it?  And can it work for me?  How can I get it to work for me?”  At the end of the day, if this isn't something that works for you, don't do it.  And the same with anything.  But to play around with it and to play around with it at increasingly low levels of potency, that's the bit that I find interesting, to have people come to us and say that the mints, and these are the CBD mints, they don't get you high at all.  They say that have changed their life, they've lowered their anxiety.  They take them when they go to the dentist, for example, or get tattoos or something.  That is awesome.  But to just play around with it.  And until you have tried, you kind of don't know.  And I think that that's what Washington State, and Colorado, and other states now have allowed people to do, is just experiment and see what works for you.  It's my belief that we'll see some really really good athletic products coming out on this that will really help people enjoy the sports for a longer period of time they did before, and I think that's something to be celebrated.

Ben:  Yeah.  Cool, man.  I dig it.  And again, for those of you listening in, the show notes are at bengreenfieldfitness.com/weedpodcast where I will also put links to botanicaSEATTLE, to my previous article on the effect of weed on exercise, and whether marijuana is a performance enhancing drug.  I'll link over to the psychopharmacology research, or Ethan Russo's website that Tim talked about.  I'll even put my sleep cake recipe on there for those you who want the recipe for that I mentioned, and much more.  So check all that out.  And until next time, I'm Ben Greenfield along with Tim Moxey from botanicaSEATTLE signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com.  Have a healthy week.



The recent controversial article featured on Greatist entitled “Why More Athletes Are Turning to Weed” starts like this…

“It’s a typical Wednesday evening. After a long run, Andrew, who works in digital media in New York City, is following his standard post-run routine. Like most runners, he’ll quickly cool down, stretch, drink water, and maybe grab a post-workout snack. Unlike many runners, he’ll also smoke pot.

The avid runner and cyclist, whose racing résumé includes the Umstead 100 Ultra, typically lights up immediately before his athletic activities and usually within an hour or two post-sweat session.

Andrew isn’t alone in his habit—in fact, combining cannabis and sport has become an underground trend in distance-running culture. Ultra runners such as Avery Collins and Jen Shelton have admitted to running under the influence of marijuana. And former professional runner Chris Barnicle, a cannabis advocate living in Los Angeles, calls himself the “world’s fastest stoner” on Twitter. Pro-cannabis running groups, like Run on Grass in Denver, are dedicated to staying fit and educating others about cannabis, while online communities like Cannafit and NORML Athletics also promote cannabis’ association with healthy living.

And it’s not just runners who are experimenting with weed. Bodybuilders may hit a bong to prevent soreness and sleep better, while action sports athletes such as mountain bikers, skiers, and snowboarders may light up on the lift to get in the zone, loosen up, or release their inhibitions. Even some athletes participating in niche sports such as skeleton, bobsledding, and ice hockey toke up.”

Last year, in my own article The Effect Of Weed On Exercise: Is Marijuana A Performance-Enhancing Drug?, I delved into whether THC, CBD, or other ingredients in marijuana actually enhance athletic performance on a molecular level.

Then, just a few months ago, USA Today reported on the world’s first “marijuana gym”, describing a San Francisco gym called “Power Plant Fitness”, where clients have the option to bring their own cannabis or order edibles, the gym’s preferred form of cannabis, while they are at the gym. A delivery service brings desired edibles to the gym within 15 minutes after clients place orders, and the gym has a designated space for those inhaling marijuana. The gym, which advertises itself as the world’s first cannabis gym, touts using the drug for pain, focus and meditation.

With the growing popularity of the combination of cannabis and sport, I decided it was high time to get an industry leader on the podcast to take a deep dive into whether weed really helps with exercise performance, and the current state of marijuana in the sporting industry. So my guest on this podcast is Tim Moxey, owner of botanicaSEATTLE,


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I'm interested in…*

Fat loss Gaining muscle Having more energy Motivation and willpower Racing and competition Biohacking my mind and body Anti-Aging Injuries/Pain Just help getting started! Other/Anything else


Tim Moxey and botanicaSEATTLE maks some of the best tasting and, in my opinion, healthiest marijuana and hemp based edibles that exist. Take, for example, the label of one of my favorite products that they produce, a tiny Altoid sized product called “Moxey’s Mints“, which are infused with ginkgo leaf, Siberian ginseng, indian gooseberry, echinacea root, chamomile, California poppy, cinnamon, peppermint, ginger and more. Born in the Pacific Northwest, Moxey’s Mints are crafted in small batches to promote wellbeing in mind and body. Each pastille is formulated with herbal synergists tailored to elevate the cannabis experience. Moxey’s herbal allies can brighten your day with Siberian Ginseng and Gingko, lower stress and allow you to kick back with California poppy and chamomile and restore and maintain balance in mind and body with Indian gooseberry and echinacea.

So how did Tim come up with all these ideas that spawned an enormously successful edibles company? After studying Physics at Warwick Uni, Tim joined British investment bank Barclays de Zoete Wedd, with roles on the derivatives, risk and strategy teams before getting an MBA from Dartmouth’s Tuck School in 2001. After a stint in the Australian division of strategic management consulting firm, Bain and Company, Tim left to build specialist triathlon wetsuit company ‘blueseventy’ into the leading brand in the sport. He then went on to found ‘nuun’, a pioneering hydration company which spawned a new category in sports nutrition.

In 2012 Tim was living in the U.K. when he read an article in ‘The Economist’ about Washington State voting to legalize cannabis. It had a profound effect and he was convinced that the socioeconomic benefits from a legal framework far outweighed the prohibition model. He promptly relocated to the US to build a company that would set the standard in a regulated environment.

Tim currently runs botanicaSEATTLE with co-founder Chris Abbott. botanicaSEATTLE (www.botanicaseattle.com) is now the leading edibles company in the most developed legal market in the world and is committed to creating innovative micro-dose products that focus on quality and responsibility. It has created and built a portfolio of brands such as “SPOT”, “Mr Moxey’s Mints”, “BOND”, “Journeyman” and “Proper Chocolates” in addition to smokable cannabis brand, “Vashon Velvet”.

During our discussion, you’ll discover:

-Tim’s experience at the Tough Guy obstacle course in the UK, one of the world’s most difficult obstacle course races…[8:55]

-How Tim went from the triathlon industry running blueseventy and nuun into, of all things, cannabis…[10:50 & 17:25 ]

-The current perception of cannabis that athletes and exercise enthusiasts have…[27:20]

-Why pro athletes around the world still use weed pretty extensively, whether Tim thinks it gives any direct sports performance benefits, why Tim thinks cannabis is “banned” by organizations like USADA and WADA…[32:50]

-The ratio of CBD to THC that seems to give the best effects for athletes…[41:30]

-Which specific marijuana strains seem to be most beneficial for athletic performance…[48:10]

-The many frustrating hoops a cannabis company has to jump through to even stay in business…[50:10]

-The next big products in the industry when it comes to cannabis for athletes…[62:50]

-And much more…

Resources from this episode:

Botanica Seattle

The Effect Of Weed On Exercise: Is Marijuana A Performance-Enhancing Drug?

Psychopharmacology researcher Ethan Russo

Ben Greenfield’s CBD blend at GetNatureBlend.com

My “Sleep Cake” recipe






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