Opening the door to creativity through weed, running and nature
By Jeffrey Silverstein
What happens when a gifted musician gets high before heading out for a run? The ultimate runner’s high, interwoven with musical inspiration, spiritual musings and meditative wanderings. Lace up, light up and press play to enter the euphoric world of Jeffrey Silverstein.
Heads Lifestyle: How do you consume cannabis when running?
Jeffrey Silverstein: It depends on the run; I’d say 80% edibles, 20% flower.
HL: How do you pair your cannabis to running?
JS: If I am running high, I look for something that increases energy level and focus. Even without cannabis, running is a wonderful means for managing anxiety. There are days where exerting myself physically is the only way to cool out.
I’m a huge fan of Mr. Moxey’s mints. I’ve tried just about their entire line. The Energize Peppermint (pack of 10 mints, 5mg THC each) is my favourite edible for running. Doesn’t hurt that the tin itself makes for a great case for picks/miscellaneous audio adaptors, etc. I’ll take it about 30 to 45 minutes before a run. Recently I’ve also enjoyed Wyld’s hybrid 2:1 CBD:THC peach gummies. Both are very mellow and taste great.
HL: Do you have a favourite cannabis strain or do you experiment with different products?
JS: I gravitate towards hybrids but enjoy experimenting. We’re spoiled here in the Pacific Northwest. I live walking distance to at least three dispensaries. It’s still wild for a kid who grew up buying schwag from the strangest creatures. I’ve been on a big Ravengrass kick. I’ll pick up a bunch if I’m playing up in Olympia or Seattle. I appreciate that they use glass jars for their flower and pre-rolls; they are both beautiful and reusable. My recent favourites are their Lavender Kush and Astral Works from Electric Lettuce, which is a high-CBD strain.
Photo: Alex Kocher
HL: How high do you get before a run?
JS: Team microdose for the win!
HL: When do you usually run? How long does your high last?
JS: Depends on the season and whether I’m training for a race. In the summer when I’m off from teaching, I love getting out for evening runs. The golden hour light in Forest Park is unreal. I’m also in the park every Saturday morning with Stump Runners and the waterfront Tuesday evenings with Deadstock Coffee. My edibles high can last 30 to 45 minutes depending on the strain and brand. That’s the length of an average run for me, which works out nicely. If I smoke before a run, it’s usually because I just want a little boost before heading out somewhere in the neighbourhood. That might last closer to the 15-to-20-minute range.
HL: Some runners have stated that being high while running helps them tune into their bodies by being more alert and aware. Does cannabis allow you to enter a flow state, achieve greater mindfulness?
JS: Cannabis has the capacity to amplify the benefits you mentioned, but I don’t rely on it in that way. I tend to use it more when I’m already in a calm, focused, and energized state to see if it can hold me there or enhance those feelings, not create them. It’s part of the mindfulness equation for me but I put its importance or impact as inferior to running, time in nature, sitting meditation, etc.
HL: Do you listen to music while running?
JS: I toggle back and forth, but as time goes on I’ve found myself listening to less and less music while running. Part of that is tied to my growing interest in field recording and ambient music. I try to focus on the sound of my feet, breath, birds, cars, etc. It’s absolutely a mindfulness practice. I’ve been trying to hit record on my phone when I’m running solo or in a group. Eventually I’d like to create a longform track specifically designed for a run incorporating some of those sounds.
As a music obsessive, I’ve also come to value my time not listening to it. That being said, if I’m feeling unmotivated to run, having the right album or playlist to turn to helps a lot. I also love hearing a record for the first time while running—feel like I can do some deep listening and get to know it in a more intentional way.
Photo: Alex Kocher
HL: What kind of music do you listen to?
JS: If I have music on it’s generally mid- to uptempo. I like to revisit a lot of the punk and hardcore from my youth or try out newer bands in that world that I haven’t had time for. Also plenty of soul, funk, and psych.
HL: Do you listen to podcasts while running?
JS: I hadn’t thought of podcasts for running until a friend recommended it. I have a feeling it might not be for me but I'm willing to give it a go. Usually I reserve my podcast listening for long drives. I have been spending a lot of time with the Beyond Running Podcast—phenomenal conversations about all facets of running put on by Aire Libre.
HL: What is your experience in terms of creativity when you run high?
JS: In general, I’ve always felt that I’m able to loosen up and get into a flow state with writing music after I’ve run or moved my body in some way for an extended period of time. Apparently Bob Marley would smoke an enormous joint, play soccer and THEN start working on music. Makes a lot of sense to me. If I’m listening to instrumental music, I also find myself coming up with new melodies or phrases/lyrics on top of what I’m hearing that can often be the basis for a new song of mine.
Photo: Alex Kocher
HL: How much does running high contribute to your musical process?
JS: I don’t think running high has a huge impact on how I write with regards to process or the order of events. The biggest question is whether or not I pick up a guitar on any given day. However, it is absolutely a tool I use to get me closer to that flow state. I think it just kind of opens a door. Whether or not I step through it is on me.
HL: Would you say that your music is a product of running high?
JS: No. I’d say it’s more a product of experience, time, developing a sense of self and others, and community. I have learned a lot about myself through running, high or otherwise.
Listen on Spotify
The right music can make all the difference when getting motivated to run. This hour-long playlist is designed to mimic a warm up (stretching, light jog, finding your stride), picking up your tempo and/or tackling a hill climb, entering that flow state, and then cooling down as you near the end of your run. I hope you discover something you dig. Now get running!
Jeffrey Silverstein is a musician, writer, and teacher based in Portland, Oregon. Silverstein is the host of Felt Time, a bi-weekly show (7-9 pm PST) on Dune Buggy Radio and publishes a monthly newsletter, Door At The Top Of Your Head: Musings on music, writing, education and mindfulness. His songwriting has been described as cosmic country with a gentle sweetness that conjures vistas both inward and out, with coruscating textures and carefully layered soundscapes. He also enjoys consuming cannabis and running high. Photo: Shade Standard