Sunday December 24, 2017
By Andrew Ward
Save for a few exceptions, any job, and any industry can be replicated in the cannabis market. So, it should come as no surprise that cannabis gyms are on the verge of becoming the next viable job sector. The market is small at the moment but comes with compelling stories and interest.
Yet, these potential pioneers of the industry have to play it safe. To avoid the stoner label, businesses make it clear that their gym is about health and wellness. Cannabis is just an additional feature.
The Early Start of a Market?
Two independent locations currently make the headlines. In San Francisco, Power Plant Fitness is slated to become the Bay Area’s first cannabis gym. The company will boast a bring your own cannabis or delivery method, and encourages edibles, though other methods of consumption are accepted.
The company is co-owned by retired NFL running back Ricky Williams.
The prolific touchdown scorer once spent a portion of his career retired, then playing in Canada, mainly for cannabis related issues with the NFL.
Today, he and Jim McAlpine emphasize health over cannabis, with the flower acting as a healing and performance enhancing property. “It won’t be a place to get high and just screw around,” McAlpine explained to Men’s Journal. “We are focused on the athletic side, not the cannabis side.” The gym’s opening will be an expansion of Power Plant’s boot camps that they already host. As San Francisco’s first cannabis gym, and with know-how if its co-founders, Power Plant stands poised to navigate the early stages of this market.
Just outside of Denver in Wheat Ridge is Break the Stigma Fitness. The gym emphasizes cannabis therapy exercises like pilates, yoga and offers group workouts and education as well.
Founder and Owner Jennessa Lea aims to change the perception of users through a healthy holistic lifestyle. She credits cannabis for helping her work herself out of her wheelchair and fight Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, a collection of disorders that affect your tissues. This led her to healthy lifestyle that saw her lose 110 pounds and end a 10-year, 20-pharmaceutical cycle.
The two appear to be the only locations currently operating in the United States. However, more could soon come as the positive effects of cannabis become apparent.
As the stigma of a cannabis consumer wears away, the actual health-conscious lifestyle is beginning to step into the spotlight.
The Health Conscious Marijuana Consumer
Sure, the stoner image is true, but only sometimes. And for many, never at all. In fact, cannabis users have largely been active ever since it became big decades ago. Now, with more access to outdoor hobbies and sports, that number has only gone up. Their diets are just as healthy and balanced. Chips and ice cream can be great, but fruits and vegetables are ever-present in most diets as well. And a few studies are even crediting the marijuana diet for helping improve our bodies' metabolic functions.
Athletes and exercise fanatics are fast becoming keen to all sorts of ingestion methods.
Depending on the workout, the results could very well be beneficial. Though, findings are minimal at this point, like many areas of marijuana research.
Internist and cannabis therapeutics specialist, Dr. Jordan Tishler told Men's Fitness that certain workouts could benefit from cannabis. “If you’re running on a treadmill, cannabis can make it more enjoyable—which can actually make you more motivated to run for longer, and to run more in the future.” If true, this could solve the issue many, including Ann Perkins, have with running and jogging.
Others aren't so sure due to lack of data. Mayo Clinic Professor of Psychiatry J. Michael Bostwick told GQ that, "If someone tells me it relaxes them so they run more smoothly, who am I to say that isn't true?” Though he counters, “On the other hand, cannabis might not be best for live sports that require your reactions to be sharp.”
The jury is still out on cannabis gyms as no gym has yet to provide a lasting proof of concept. Additionally, scant information exists on cannabis and working out. This is only compounded by varying user tolerances and other factors. Dr. Tishler counters Power Plant's edibles endorsement citing its unpredictability and instead encourages vapes. Meanwhile, affects to your heart rate and blood pressure can also become a risk factor.
That being said, cannabis gyms will likely succeed. At the very least it should serve a niche market. At most, it could become a disruptor to the health and wellness industry.
Do you consume cannabis before exercising? Why or why not?