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High Desert Runner Combines Love for Cannabis and Running

By Hunter Dublin | March 1, 2023

Stephen Snazuk / Courtesy Strava
Stephen Snazuk / Courtesy Strava

Running is not just a physical activity for Stephen Snazuk, it’s a way of life. Snazuk, a high desert runner, has been a regular participant in different races for years. However, his passion for running is not the only thing that defines him. He’s also a marijuana enthusiast who firmly believes that consuming cannabis before a run has enhanced his overall performance.

For Snazuk, cannabis helps him achieve mental focus, which is critical during long runs. He estimates that endurance is only about 10% of the equation, while the remaining 90% is mental focus. Cannabis, he says, allows him to get into the right mindset on the trail.

“I think it helps with my performance overall,” Snazuk said. “Whether it’s recovery, running, getting a workout down, or consuming food on the trail — nutrition. I think it has to do with everything.”

Snazuk admits that he prefers to smoke his marijuana, which is not the most healthy way to consume the plant. Smoking cannabis can have a negative impact on the lungs, but Snazuk believes that the positive effects of cannabis consumption outweigh the negatives.

“Sure, it might impact my lung capacity,” Snazuk said. “I’m not saying that smoke doesn’t have a negative effect on the insides, but the positive effects definitely outweigh the negatives for me.”

Snazuk is not just a runner and cannabis enthusiast, he’s also a goal-setter. This year, he’s determined to break the stigma surrounding weed in athletics.

Snazuk notes that Bend, where he lives, is a mecca for drinking. The city promotes the Bend Beer Chase "left and right", and while Snazuk doesn’t necessarily have a problem with that, he finds it ironic they are promoting “basically, public intoxication". He is looking to change the perception and break the stigma while showing that cannabis can be part of an active lifestyle.

To that end, Snazuk is considering starting a cannabis runners’ club. “It might be fun,” he said. “Once a week, meet at a donut shop maybe.”

Snazuk is not alone in his belief that cannabis can enhance athletic performance. Many athletes, including several professional football players, have come out in support of cannabis use. While some studies suggest that cannabis can indeed enhance endurance and mental focus, there is still much research to be done on the subject.

Snazuk’s story is just one example of how cannabis is being integrated into active lifestyles. As laws around cannabis continue to change and evolve, it’s likely that we’ll see more and more athletes turn to cannabis as a way to enhance their performance. And who knows? Maybe one day we’ll see a cannabis-themed running event that’s just as popular as the Bend Beer Chase.


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