Mid November 2021, marked the return of the Lift & Co, Canada’s premier cannabis convention spotlighting companies, industry professionals and athletes pushing the plant forward.
2021 brought fresh faces to the landscape as well as shared opportunities for consumers to take part in meaningful and educational panel discussions. With a chance to normalize the sports cannabis conversation, three athletes took stage, sharing their journeys, breaking the stigma and answering questions for consumers, patients and the cannabis community.
Shifting the cannabis conversation, the Lift & Co. in partnership with Dutchie Canada hosted a panel discussion with CFL Legend Justin Renfrow, Canadian Pentathlon Athlete Claire Samulak, Muay Thai Fighting Icon and Founder of Blessed Edibles, Angelina Blessed.
Canadian Pentathlon Athlete Claire Samulak moderated the panel discussion exploring timely questions as well as pushing current topics to the forefront. Claire joined Sports Cannabis to share her thoughts on attending the Lift & Co. as well as what it meant to be recognized as a top Canadian athlete shaping the conversation;
“To be considered a top Canadian athlete is always something I take great pride in. I love to represent high-level Canadian sports and shine a spotlight on all the transferable skills that athletes learn and can apply in their future careers. It’s a great opportunity for us to destigmatize cannabis and have up-front conversations to unravel the answers to all the questions that athletes have about how and when they can safely consume cannabis.“-Claire Samulak, Canadian Pentathlon Athlete
With an opportunity to change the dialogue Claire discussed where the focus should be and ways to collectively move sports and cannabis forward;
“It’s obviously sensitive because athletes are also highly visible coaches, mentors, community leaders and volunteers for youth in sport. Many of the athletes that I know abide by the World Anti-Doping Agency rules, barring cannabis-positive tests in competition. Medical allowances can be attained, though unlikely in most circumstances for a number of reasons. Cannabis is an amazing plant with many medical and recreational benefits, but the misinformation and stigma attached to it are confusing. We need to have more open conversations about what it means to be a healthy competitive athlete and have a healthy relationship with cannabis. Athletes need to be more educated about the potential benefits and risks of consuming cannabis and they shouldn’t have to sneak around or wade through outdated rule books to “try” and understand when, how and why they can or can not consume the plant. I know athletes of all makes and models consume cannabis but few are willing to talk about it.”-Claire Samulak, Canadian Pentathlon Athlete
Muay Thai Fighter, cannabis advocate, Athletes For Care ambassador and entrepreneur, Angelina Blessed is leading the charge for cannabis athletes around the world. She’s the founder of Blessed Edibles and today is focused on creating clean, healthy, natural products geared towards any athlete with an emphasis on “Train, Treat, Repeat”. Taking stage at the 2021 Lift & Co. Angelina discussed all things cannabis and offered timely advice for patients and athletes and the cannabis community;
“It’s just kind of dependent on how you want to treat yourself. I feel that CBD is a really great benefit to everybody…but it’s just kind of what you’re dealing with. Is it anxiety? Is it depression? Is it massive pain? Is it cancer? It’s different for everybody…where I feel that for myself, for relaxation at night, I need a bigger dose… I’ve dealt with a lot of concussions, body pain and it’s good for me to really get the rest…For myself, I know that massive amounts of CBD is really important for everyone, especially for athletes…”-Angelina Blessed, Blessed Edible Founder & Muay Thai Fighter
Sharing her journey, Angelina is empowering athletes around the world to use their voice and break the stigma;
“I was very quiet about it at the beginning and I wasn’t sure. It wasn’t until the last three years that I started talking about my performance. It’s really about showing the positives to it, really trying to break the stigma, showing them the science behind it. It’s those little bits of information that really help. I think if you really truly show them the science behind it, there’s a chance to change…“-Angelina Blessed, Blessed Edibles Founder & Muay Thai Fighter
Justin Renfrow is a cannabis advocate, entrepreneur, Athletes For Care ambassador and CFL Legend. Wrapping up a season with the Edmonton Elk’s Justin’s back, making waves and sharing his journey with cannabis as well as the impacts it’s had for recovery and relief. Ahead of the panel discussion, Sports Cannabis had an opportunity to connect with Justin Renfrow to look back and reflect on a few moments that stuck out to him from 2021;
“A highlight from the last year for me was definitely the KIND Magazine, being a part of that, and being able to for the first time publicly tell everyone “I get through a football season because I use marijuana and basically you should be able to”. I’ve enjoyed being able to bring my passion of cooking to the public realm and meeting different chefs throughout the year that cook with cannabis. In Philly I was able to connect with the Cannabis Chef, MJ Weed Man, even going to his place….Being around the culture, meeting him and playing this season in the CFL. You know, we had talked throughout the year, I was not playing at all and then started training for a month, came up here and had a decent season.
That was a big cannabis moment for me, I was doing that month of two a days and I depended solely on CBD and THC to recover during that period. It worked, I worked out every day twice a day. My boy Vinny, @smackedbyNino follow him on IG, he’s got the sauces and the salad dressing. Every day I was using CBD after the first workout and THC in the dinner meal and it worked, I was able to recover and that’s been a huge tool for me.“-Justin Renfrow, Entrepreneur & Professional CFL Athlete
Moving the needle off the field, Justin’s launched his own cooking series and clothing line. He’s out to inspire and educate others about the benefits of eating health, cooking with CBD and looking good while doing it.