A recent poll by the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that 76% of clinicians believe there are medical benefits in the use of medical marijuana. However, it’s former NFL star Ricky Williams who’s taking that belief one step further.
Although the media has perpetuated the lazy and sedentary pothead stereotype, Williams wants to showcase the substance’s athletic benefits by opening up the world’s first gym where athletes are allowed use marijuana while working out.
Though the concept may seem far-fetched, Williams is only one of countless athletes who claim that marijuana can be beneficial to a workout.
Williams, a former running back who played for the New Orleans Saints, Miami Dolphins, and Baltimore Ravens, has partnered with snowboard company executive Jim McAlpine to create Power Plant Fitness, a gym where members will be allowed to partake in smoking marijuana, as well as use edibles and cannabis-infused gels if preferred.
“I think a lot of people buy into the stoner stereotype where guys just sit on the couch, smoke and don’t do anything and they’re not very motivated. That’s not my experience. I found when I was playing football, using cannabis helped me relax physically, mentally and even spiritually,” Williams said.
Professional athletes aren’t the only ones combining physical activity with marijuana, either.
The 420 Yoga Retreat is set to take place in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains this fall, and promises to be anything but a typical weekend adventure. The retreat will invite its participants to combine yoga with another well-known stress relief provider: cannabis.
The event is set to take place the weekend of September 30 to October 2 at the Aspen Canyon Ranch, which recently made headlines as America’s first cannabis resort.
Although recreational marijuana use is legal in Colorado, public consumption is not. However, thanks to the Ranch’s secluded location and limited number of rooms, public use will be allowed on the grounds.
While yoga enthusiasts are exploring the stress-relieving benefits of marijuana, Williams and his partner McAlpine will be hitting the gym.
“I make a joke that when I was eighteen the world’s first cannabis gym was in my parent’s garage and they didn’t know about it,” McAlpine said.
Among current NFL players, including the Titans’ Derrick Morgan, there is an increasing pressure for the NFL to study how medical marijuana could actually help players.
While the benefits of marijuana on exercise have not been studied thoroughly enough to reach any conclusive data, doctors who work with cannabis patients report its helpful use in relieving post-workout pain.
For the time being, members of Power Plant Fitness will need a medical marijuana prescription in order to partake in use of the substance, but that could change if California legalizes recreational use.
McAlpine adds, “I feel lucky to be alive in the time and place in the world to be able to actualize this because five or ten years ago there’s no way this could have ever happened.”
The gym partners report that they’re currently in the process of finalizing the gym’s lease, and hope to open by the end of 2016.