UFC middleweight competitor, Elias “The Spartan” Theodorou, has a message for us: it’s time to have a grown-up conversation about cannabis.
The Canadian-born, Ultimate Fighter Nations’ champion spoke to CannEpoch and stated the time to understand and destigmatize cannabis in the U.S. is overdue. “The old image of stoners sitting around talking nonsense is archaic and outdated. These days professional athletes used cannabis to increase focus and reduce swelling, or as a ‘wake and bake’ to start their day off, instead of, say, a strong coffee,” explains Theodorou.
“And like coffee,” he adds, “everything should be taken in moderation. The old adage that a glass of red wine per day is good for you, doesn’t necessarily mean that the contents of the wine are particularly useful, except that a glass of wine will reduce your stress levels. The trade of say, a few calories and a small amount of alcohol in exchange for lower stress levels, and all that comes with that, is a prudent arrangement. The same can be said for cannabis. A small amount of cannabis can, depending on the strain, either relax you or heighten focus, with less taxing consequences than some pharmaceuticals or even some alcohols.”
Theodorou doesn’t find the laws pertaining to cannabis in the U.S. particularly strange; it’s more the attitude that strikes him as worth discussing. “We need to be able to talk about cannabis in an adult manner without the scare tactics and deliberate misinformation which demonizes those who use it. People want more options to get that relaxed feeling after a long day of work, and restricting them to alcohol when another option is available to them, is not in the interest of the average consumer,” Theodorou clarifies.
“The old image of stoners sitting around talking nonsense is archaic and outdated. These days professional athletes used cannabis to increase focus and reduce swelling…”
– Elias Theodorou
The wear and tear of years of competitive fighting has caused multiple injuries in the form of bilateral neuropathic pain for this accomplished and revered athlete, who uses CBD to reduce inflammation in his hands. “I don’t want to go down that heavy prescription drugs road. It’s not for me. My stomach doesn’t like them and my head gets cloudy which I can’t allow – every millisecond counts for a fighter,” he explains. “I’ve seen far too many good people become addicted to prescription drugs. There are other options, and cannabis is one of them. It’s crazy to me that it’s so difficult for society to acknowledge that, due to preconstructed notions that have been crafted for them.”
Theodorou believes in rehab and prehab. He trains twice a day 90 – 120 minutes per session, which involves kick boxing, wrestling, jujitsu and strengthening training. “I take a little CBD at night to recover from the day, and I use a vape just before training for preventative measures. UFC doesn’t frown upon cannabis and while it does implement restrictions of THC, it’s lenient compared to most sports, like the NFL where the tolerance level is zero.
“In Canada our current government ran, and won, on a platform which embraced cannabis as a product that adults can choose to use, or not use. The taboo is absent. The NBA is currently discussing tolerance levels, and there are proponents of cannabis within that sport, making its case. I hope these conversations lead to a healthier and more sensible perception of cannabis. So many people could benefit.”