Athletes and Cannabis: A Mini Blog Series
Danielle: Reaching New Heights
In a place buffered by mountains, ocean, and redwood forests, Humboldt County caters to athletes of all kinds. As part of this mini blog series, we decided that we wanted to talk to strong women in our area who mesh cannabis and athleticism. The first strong woman who we had the pleasure of chatting with was Danielle.
Danielle is a climber, dancer, performer, and all-around-badass chick. When we sat down together at Far North Climbing Gym in Arcata, California, Danielle was eager to tell us about her latest activities, experiences as an athlete, and wisdom for living.
She shared: “I like to do a lot of things. I kind of consider myself a little bit like an octopus where I have, you know, all my tentacles going all at once. Sometimes I take breaks from one tentacle and focus on another one, but I always make my way back.”
Danielle grew up on a dance company, dancing 40 hours a week and then traveling on the weekends to compete. Looking back on that time, she realized that she was on a full-blown athletic training program without even realizing it. These days she rock climbs, teaches pole dancing, focuses on music production and performance, and teaches at a preschool. She mixes dance, martial arts training, and her climbing in all that she does. She also uses cannabis.
We asked Danielle about the forms of cannabis that she uses, to which she replied: “Everything. I love that plant so much. It’s awesome.”
For many people the integration of cannabis with athletic performance might seem counterintuitive, but Danielle shared tremendous insight on the topic.
“Take rock climbing for example,” she offered. “When I would go to the climbing gym without using cannabis, before I discovered it as a useful tool in that way, I feel like I just worked myself really hard and just got really frustrated with myself a lot. I was just being kind of mean to myself in the way that I was learning. After I discovered how to use it before going in [to the gym], I’m now a lot more patient with myself and remember that I’m doing this for fun, and to make my body feel good… and not hurt it and demean it. So, that’s how it really helped me.”
Many times physical athleticism is the primary focus of a training regiment, but Danielle spoke at length about the mental benefits she receives from cannabis and how taking care of your mental space is as important as training physically. In fact, through her experiences, mental exploration has allowed further insight into her physical condition. Utilizing meditation and cannabis has allowed Danielle to acutely tune in to her body’s needs.
“I feel like I can really zoom into my body a lot more clearly than I used to. And I think a lot of that has to do with how I do a lot of vipassana meditation or I apply that into my meditation. And, that’s all about body scans. When I give myself cannabis, then I can just zoom in and as I’m doing those body scans it’s easier for me to find out where there’s tension or misalignments and be able to figure out how to fix it.”
Stereotypes of cannabis paint it as a substance that impairs brain functions, but Danielle described using it as a means to heighten her awareness. She countered, “Cannabis is an amazing tool when it comes to meditation. And sure, we can definitely get into that close state of mind without cannabis, but sometimes it also helps you skip a few steps. It’s like, alright, I know how to do that and fight off all of those thoughts, or I can just take a little hit and then see where it takes me.”
Danielle’s experience with cannabis has helped her as an athlete and performer. Despite her personal success, many people remain wary of cannabis as a tool. No matter what way you experiment with cannabis, Danielle recommends “starting out with some really good guidance. Make sure when you’re going to experiment with it that you’re around people that make you feel safe, so you can explore safely.”
When we asked her if anything has surprised her about her journey with cannabis, Danielle replied:
“It surprised me how good of a person I’m capable of being. I honestly don’t know if I would have been able to tap into that without cannabis–in all honesty. It helped me chill out, because I used to be really hard on myself about everything. That plant gave me the opportunity to chill and listen to myself. And, to see that, hey, I am a good person.”
As a piece of parting wisdom she stated, “Remind yourself that everything is good, everything is chill. Remind yourself of that whether you’re stoned or not stoned.”
Photo Credit: Jonathan Clark and Even More