A British biker, who cycled around the world to bust the ‘lazy stoner’ stereotype, has highlighted the benefits of combining cannabis and exercise.
In 2018 Mike Traynor, who until now has been known under his pseudonym, Roger Boyd, hit the headlines after cycling around the world while vaping cannabis.
The former IT worker launched his blog, Healthy Stoner in 2013, to highlight the benefits of using cannabis alongside exercise.
It came about when Mike, now 41, quit smoking and invested in a dry herb vaporiser, saying he was “blown away” by the impact it had on his health.
Over two years Mike cycled an estimated 19,000 miles, visiting countries such as Spain, Croatia, Greece, New Zealand, Australia, Nepal and India.
He documented his adventures, along with the fellow advocates he met along the way, on his blog, leading to international media coverage.
“Cycling around the world has been a dream of mine since I was a kid, before I even knew what cannabis was,” says Mike.
“I’ve always loved riding my bike and getting high, but there wasn’t much on the internet about exercise and cannabis at that time, so I set up the blog to showcase the benefits.”
He continues: “It started as me and some mates making videos, but I’ve always wanted to travel the world, so why not make it a cannabis themed trip?”
Mike would cycle 20 miles before he had his first vape, before going on to cover up to 100 miles a day until he reached his next destination.
His aim was to bust the common “lazy stoner” stereotype often pinned on cannabis consumers.
Far from it, Mike says cannabis is actually what motivates him to get out on his bike.
“I find it really motivating,” he says.
“When I get stoned I want to be outside, doing something fun and active. I don’t really want to be sitting around.”
He adds: “From a safety point of view, I don’t find it at all impinges on my ability to ride a bike. I’m pretty tuned in and focused on the task I’m doing.”
Cannabis also helps him mentally and physically, both during the ride and when recovering afterwards.
He was even featured in the 2021 book, Runner’s High, which explored the “secret world of stoned athletes” and the role of cannabis in ultra endurance training in the United States.
While most still, rightly, exercise caution when it comes to THC, in recent years increasing numbers of professional athletes have spoken about the benefits of CBD products in aiding muscle recovery or helping with injury and pain management.
“It helps in a multitude of ways as we all know cannabis does, both mentally and physically,” says Mike.
“It elevates me above any kind of discomfort or physical pain during the exercise – it takes any kind of pain out of the legs or from sitting on the saddle for six hours a day.
“It helps with recovering too, and sometimes when you’ve done a lot of exercise, you’re really not hungry, it increases your appetite so you can refuel.”
An outdated stereotype?
Mike is not alone, during his travels he met people who consume cannabis before taking part in extreme sports such as skiing, scuba diving and speed riding.
“I met a lot of people who enjoy cannabis in their own way,” he adds.
“The lazy stoner stereotype is lazy in itself, it is outdated and it doesn’t reflect reality.”
Known as “cannabis amotivational syndrome” this theory suggests that regular cannabis use leaves consumers less likely to engage in goal-directed behaviour.
The term was coined around 50 years ago, to describe the “introversion, passivity, and lack of achievement-orientation” observed in regular cannabis consumers. Other studies have also reported that cannabis users were more likely to experience apathy and passivity, which could lead to “loss in productivity” and “aversion of goal-oriented behaviours”.
But a recent study has found evidence to dispute this hypothesis.
The study examined the relation between cannabis use and effort-related decision making in a sample of college students, of which 68 per cent met the criteria for Cannabis Use Disorder.
The findings suggest that those who use cannabis are actually more likely to expend effort to obtain reward, according to the study authors.
A career in cannabis
Since returning from his trip in 2017, Mike has found himself at the beginning of a potentially flourishing career in the cannabis industry.
After two years back in his former job in IT communications, he trained as a flight attendant before being approached by major US vaping website Planet of the Vapes.
He applied for a position with them just as he was placed on furlough during Covid, and now has what he describes as his “dream job” working in the Planet of the Vapes customer service team.
The change of career has meant Mike is able to talk more openly about his hobby.
“I’m proud of what I do, it always opens up conversations, but the only reason I had to keep it secret was because of work,” he admits.
“The whole thing is about challenging the stigma and it’s difficult to do that when you can’t be honest about your own life because you’re worried about losing your job.”
The UK landscape has changed significantly since Healthy Stoner first launched, with the rise in popularity of CBD and legalisation of medical cannabis in 2018.
“I think attitudes are definitely changing, but we’ve got a long way to go,” he says.
“We’re still lagging behind most other countries and I can’t see it being legalised here until the US has federal legalisation. I think that will be the tipping point.”
In the meantime, he would love to take on an American highway trip and help people realise that it is possible and – indeed likely – to be a “healthy, professional and successful stoner”.
“There’s a whole spectrum of humanity out there,” adds Mike.
“Cannabis is whatever you want it to be, just like life itself.”