Cash Only’s 420 Recs: Daniel Rodriguez, the ‘Biggest Stoner in the UFC’

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Daniel Rodriguez says he’s the biggest stoner in the UFC: “I probably display that I smoke weed more than any other fucking UFC fighter out there,” he told me during a phone call while in the middle of rolling up a joint. 

The mixed martial artist is a loud and proud pothead, and luckily that gels with the UFC. Last year, the organization enacted a policy change and will no longer consider a positive drug test for weed a violation of its anti-doping policy. 

This couldn’t be better news for D-Rod, who utilizes the plant to help him stay focused (and entertained) while training nonstop. And the man gets results: After a 7-0 record as a Welterweight in the amateur leagues, an 8-1 record in Dana White’s Contender Series, he stepped up to the big leagues in 2020 with a UFC win, earning him the Performance of the Night award. 

“All these fools in the UFC are getting beat up by a straight-up stoner,” says Rodriguez. 

D-Rod says he wants to “shine a light on the idea that athletes can be successful and smoke weed,” and he’s pushing that message by partnering with California’s Tradecraft Farms as a brand ambassador. (FYI: Tradecraft Farms, which was founded by Brent Walker and Barry Walker, is a multi-state operator with full vertical ops in California and Oklahoma, as well as an upcoming site in Maine where UFC and MMA have huge followings.)

“The partnership with D-Rod has been organic since we met,” wrote Shadow Becker from Tradecraft. “We quickly realized he was elevating his craft beyond the norm which is what we like to do with our cultivation and brands. The pairing was perfect and together we will continue to push the collaboration between cannabis and Mixed Martial Arts. Stay tuned, the best is yet to come!” 

But first, get to know D-Rod a little. In a very mellow interview, the fighter brings us through his weed-laced training routine and talks about being stoned during his most recent UFC match. “It’s like the movie How High; if I train high, then I should fight high.” He also offers some choice West Coast hip-hop recs and explains why he wants to “smoke a joint with the whole world.” 

Photo by Petro Papahadjopoulos, courtesy of Tradecraft Farms

What’s your current favorite strain and how do you like to consume it?

Daniel Rodriguez: First off, I gotta say I probably display that I smoke weed more than any other fucking UFC fighter out there. Most people are discrete, but I put myself out there with my weed use. Shit, I’m going to roll a joint as we’re talking. I’m going to get into the zone, bro.

For my favorite strain, I’d say Gelato, I like that. I like pretty much anything that doesn’t get me slumped. That said, most weed doesn’t get me slumped. A lot of people tell me that weed knocks them out, or they’ll ask, “How do you smoke weed and still work out?” And I’m like, “I don’t know how you smoke weed and not work out.” It’s a mental thing for me. I am so focused on trying to be my best that it consumes my mind, whether I’m high or not. I think smoking weed enhances my desire to work. It takes my mind off the pain and gets me in my zone. It’s all mental.

I’m just constantly thinking about trying to grow and get better as a fighter, so smoking weed just enhances that shit. It actually makes me more creative and willing to try other shit. Plus, I train so much that I have to be able to stay entertained doing it — and weed helps with that. 

Does weed help you train, regardless of what type of weed it is?

I feel like weed is gonna help me, regardless of the strain. Whether sativa, indica, or hybrid, I don’t really feel a difference. For me, I’ll smoke a fucking joint, which is my preferred smoking method, and then I’ll pop on some headphones, get some good music going, and I can do this training shit all day.

Actually, my schedule is: I wake up, smoke a joint, go work out, eat some healthy shit, smoke a joint on my way to another gym, go work out, and so on. Weed just helps me get through the fucking day. 

Everybody knows when I show up to the gym — I smell like straight up weed, bro. I’ll stink it up. They smell me before I even walk in. Weed is my cologne. I’m that dude bumping music and hotboxing my car five minutes before practice. 

Photo by Petro Papahadjopoulos, courtesy of Tradecraft Farms

Do you ever consume cannabis before a professional fight?

Maybe I shouldn’t say this, but I fought stoned during my last fight. It was against Kevin Lee, and I smoked a joint before we left the hotel to go to the venue. It was like two or three hours before the fight. I look at it like this, bro: It’s like the movie How High; if I train high, then I should fight high. And I’ll get high scores. 

Didn’t Lee get flagged for taking adderall before that fight?

Ya man. That’s wild bro. And he still lost. It shows that weed beats adderall. I’ve said this before, but all these dudes in the UFC are getting beat up by a straight-up stoner. And that’s me. 

Do you have any favorite weed products right now? 

So I have a partnership with Tradecraft Farms, and they have some fire-ass weed. They’re good people and the weed is fucking amazing. It’s a growing company and I’m happy to be a part of it and help bring the light to what they’re doing. They just opened a shop in El Monte, California, which is right next to my hometown, and we’re hosting an event on June 4th — a grand opening with a mural, a lowrider show, a band, food, vendors, etc. 

As far as weed products, I’m a flower connoisseur — you can call me that. I’m not really a fan of edibles. That shit just hits different, bro. I’ll do the occasional dab at the end of the day after I’ve smoked so many joints. But I typically keep like four or five different strains on me. So throughout the day, I’ll smoke joints with different flower strains in them. If I smoke the same strain all day, the effect plateaus. It won’t hit me as much as when I mix up the strains in my rotation.

Funny enough, I don’t like to mix strains together in the same joint. I tried it recently, and that hit me differently; I was lazy as fuck. That’s the only time weed really gets me slumped.

Photo by Petro Papahadjopoulos, courtesy of Tradecraft Farms

What activity do you like to do after you’ve gotten really stoned?

Honestly bro, everything I do revolves around fighting. If I have a moment where I can just kick it and be faded and not work out, I’m usually in recovery mode. I’ll chill in the sauna or hang out in the hot tub or an ice bath. Recovery mode is essential to me. Other than that, my life is totally consumed by training. I don’t play video games, or shit like that, you know? I’ll drink beers on my off time, though [laughs]. 

Can you recommend something to watch while really high?

If I have time to watch something, I’ll check out some stand-up comedy or NBA playoffs. I like comics like Dave Chappelle, Sebastian Maniscalco, Bill Burr, Jo Koy, Jeff Ross. I even like old school shit like George Carlin. 

Can you recommend something to listen to while smoking?

I listen to not-so-popular shit. I dig through a lot of music. Lately, I’ve been focusing on up-and-coming rappers from the West Coast. Of course, I still listen to YG and Nipsey, but lately I’ve been focusing on Dom Kennedy, Premo Rice, D Smoke, Polyester The Saint, this R&B artist called Blxst. Stuff like that, real mellow stuff that has positive energy and goes well with a side of bud. I like hood shit too, like RJ Mr. LA, B-Real, and Berner.

Photo by Petro Papahadjopoulos, courtesy of Tradecraft Farms

Can you recommend something to read once stoned?

The Mamba Mentality, which is Kobe Bryant’s book. It’s his personal notes, quotes, sayings, and stories. I love the complete Mamba mentality — situational stuff, like when he injured his achilles and how he dealt with that. I’m a heavy, heavy, heavy LA enthusiast. I’m huge on the vibe and culture. And since I’m from Cali, I really took stuff in from Kobe Bryant. I want to read something on Nipsey Hussle next. I’m into books on positive mindsets and LA legends. 

Who’s in your dream blunt rotation?

Anybody alive? I already smoked with B-Real. So definitely Snoop, Berner, Eddie Bravo (my jiu jitsu coach), and Mike Tyson. 

I haven’t tried Mike Tyson’s weed yet, but I’d definitely like to get my hands on some. I could see myself running into Tyson at some point with my line of work and career trajectory. Whether I go on his podcast, or he comes on mine, I feel like we’re gonna chop it up sometime soon.

Also, I want to smoke a joint with the whole world! We’ll solve world peace, you know what I mean?

Any upcoming projects you want to plug? 

I want to give rapping a try, but right now I’m really focused on training my dick off. Smoking good weed, training hard, and fighting these fools. I’ve been on the sidelines for six or seven months now. I finally gave my body the rest it needed, and now I’m ready to get back in there. People keep asking, “When’s the comeback? When’s the next fight?” So I feel the urgency to get back in there. Everything will come with time. I’m just developing my skills in areas that need work, instead of dropping bombs on these fools all the time. 

For more on Daniel Rodriguez, follow him on Instagram.

The post Cash Only’s 420 Recs: Daniel Rodriguez, the ‘Biggest Stoner in the UFC’ appeared first on High Times.

Cannabis Knockout

Steve Cantwell spent the first two and a half decades of his life defying the odds, so it’s not entirely surprising seeing him do the same thing as a licensed cannabis cultivator. The 35-year-old former Ultimate Fighting Champion (UFC) fighter is living his best life as one of Nevada’s most innovative and pioneering growers in the Silver State’s legal cannabis industry. As co-owner and co-founder of Green Life Productions (GLP), along with his wife Kouanin, Cantwell and his dozen team members have built the privately-owned, boutique indoor farm near Las Vegas into one of the region’s most popular cultivators.

Selling to more than half of the Las Vegas Valley’s 85 open dispensaries, GLP is known for its superior quality created by a one-of-a-kind growing method. Since opening his grow house in 2015, Cantwell has pioneered and mastered the art of cultivating in no-till living organic soil that has been described as the purest, most natural way to grow cannabis.

“We’re the closest thing to nature for an indoor cultivation,” Cantwell says. “We don’t use any chemicals whatsoever, just the soil’s food web.”

Chasing Unicorns strain.

That food web, Cantwell says, creates a soil ecosystem in which organisms break down other organisms to create a healthy and resilient home for marijuana flower to grow. In abiding by the 12 principles of permaculture, he adds natural organisms to the soil—including compost tea, with natural fish and seaweed emulsions—to keep the ecosystem thriving.

Also key to Cantwell’s success: finding the right LED lights. GLP’s setup for its first few years in business produced above-average yields, but Cantwell knew he could do better. After connecting with Las Vegas-based Fohse in 2018, he found the answer to his prayers. With Fohse’s F1V model LED lights, which use 1,000 or 600 watts of electricity depending on the configuration, Cantwell says his yields increased by almost 25 percent compared to his old LED setup. Months later, he tried Fohse’s A3i model, which uses 1,500 watts at maximum power and is more suited for GLP’s high-bay single-level grows. The A3i outperformed even the F1V, all while using less energy than any other setup Cantwell had ever experimented with. Needless to say, he was a believer.

“Fohse changed the game for us,” Cantwell says. “The A3i is the best light source besides the sun for organic growing and nutrient cycling.”

Unlike most other LED lights designed for cannabis growing, Fohse’s FIV and A3i lights allow for a number of incredibly specific adjustments in timing and power. Those capabilities allow Cantwell to cultivate his plants and care for the soil based on his exact needs at any given time. For example, GLP starts a growth cycle using lower-power lighting during the first few weeks of a plant’s life. But by the end of the cycle as the trees near harvest, Cantwell and company intensify the lighting based on their desired yield volume and how they want to care for the soil. The first few cycles with Fohse yielded so much extra flower that GLP had to expand its facility to fit it all.

“It’s that good,” he says. “We have to pay attention now so that we don’t overgrow
the flower.”

Chasing Unicorns.

By paying close attention, Cantwell has been able to use the same soil for an incredible 27 cycles and counting. And the clean, sustainable grow does more than just help the environment. “The cannabis we produce is second-to-none because it’s completely organic,” he says. “Consumers can taste the difference, and that’s why we’ve been successful.”

Shopping for Green Life Productions products can feel almost like buying limited edition sneakers. You can find them just about everywhere in stores, but Cantwell posts about new and exclusive launches via a “drops” page on his company’s website. There, he lists dates for product debuts at up to 20 different dispensaries at a time. Want to be the first to cop Green Life’s MXBX or Miss Vegas strains? The drops page has exactly where and when buyers can find the new flower.

“The dispensaries love it, too, because they get people lining up outside the store on our launch days,” Cantwell says. “It’s been cool to see just how many people share our passion and excitement for new strains and products.”

Mac 1

Cantwell declined to share GLP’s revenue and profit tallies, but assured the numbers were big enough for the company to consider expansion. He admitted the pandemic has stalled several new projects and ideas for expanding the company, but hopes the coming year offers more opportunities as supply chain issues shore up and inflation slows down.

The sky’s the limit for GLP, but regardless of how big the business becomes, Cantwell knows making it this far has been a miracle. Afterall, his life didn’t start off all that promising.

Cantwell was born in Long Beach, CA, but moved with his family to Nevada when he was ten years old. He says his chances of making anything of his life looked slim back in his teenage years. A self-described “troubled kid,” Cantwell got booted from the city’s lone high school for fighting, leading him to confront the real world without a job or an education.

Luckily, he landed a job at a kickboxing gym in nearby Las Vegas, where he worked and trained from the age of 16. Within a couple of years, Cantwell was fighting professionally.

A decorated seven-year mixed martial arts career would go on to include almost four years fighting professionally in the UFC.

The road from high school dropout to pro fighter was a brief, albeit surprising one. Injuries forced Cantwell to retire at just 25 years old, leaving him to question what he’d do for the rest of his life. The money he’d earned and the notoriety he’d built offered a platform, but the lingering aches and injuries from his time in the Octagon threatened to limit his potential. Like so many others suffering from chronic pain, Cantwell ditched the addictive opioid meds and switched to cannabis. That decision helped him find his calling.

“I knew right away I wanted to help other people experience the same relief and healing that I was experiencing,” he said. “Thankfully, I had the right team to do it with. We’ve helped so many people and learned so much over the past few years, but we know our mission is still just beginning.”

This story was originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now.

The post Cannabis Knockout appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Medical Cannabis Advocate, MMA Fighter Elias Theodorou Passes Away

Elias Theodorou, known for his successful mixed martial artist (MMA) career and medical cannabis advocacy, passed away at age 34 on September 11 after a long battle with liver cancer.

Born in Mississauga, Canada, located in the province of Ontario, Theodorou’s career began after his first year in college. High Times had the pleasure of interviewing him in January 2021, where he explained that a video posted on YouTube of him losing a fight went viral.

“Demoralized, I confided in my father, and he said, ‘You love that [Ultimate Fighting Championship] UFC stuff so much, why don’t you go to a gym and make sure this never happens again?’” he told High Times. “And I did. At first my intentions were to win back my pride against the person that embarrassed me, instead, I won a sense of purpose—enlightening both body and mind now in ‘higher’ education.”

Theodorou’s career took him to great heights, leading him to become a UFC fighter, and become winner of “The Ultimate Fighter Nations: Canada vs. Australia” in the middleweight bracket in 2014. He was released from his UFC contract in 2019, but continued to fight and win in the Prospect Fighting Championships in December 2019, Rise FC in March 2021, and Colorado Combat Club 10 in December 2021.

His coach and longtime friend, Lachlan Cheng, was a medical cannabis patient for more than 10 years. Seeing his coach using medical cannabis exposed him to the benefits of cannabis, the negative effects of prescription medications in comparison.

Personally, he began using medical cannabis to treat his bilateral neuropathy (nerve damage) in his upper extremities. “Fighting is a grind, so my options to medicate were opioids and painkillers or cannabis,” he said. “One is highly addictive and has caused death from abuse—not to mention the side effects like constipation, upset stomach, bloating and many other debilitating repercussions as both patient and athlete. The alternative is cannabis, a medicine that helps me compete and live on an even playing field while treating my condition.”

In 2020, Theodorou became the first athlete to receive a Therapeutic Use Exemption in North America for his cannabis use. “I was the first pro athlete and UFC fighter to apply for a therapeutic-use exemption in the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) testing pool, which is part of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA),” Theodorou said. “My [therapeutic-use exemption] for the UFC was not accepted, even with USADA agreeing with my condition and potential need for cannabis because it is funded by the U.S. government, which still has cannabis as a Schedule I substance. Meaning they don’t believe it has any medical properties… They only recommended painkillers, opioids and anti-depressant drugs.”

His advocacy for medical cannabis continued up until his passing. On August 29, he shared the support of a cannabis brand called Game Day. “Game on!  #PlantsOverPills @gameday.98 has officially launched! Couldn’t be more excited to be apart of a company and team ready to change the game in both cannabis AND sports! Ready to fight the stigma because “I choose cannabis instead”. #Dope #Sports” he wrote.

In the wake of his passing, many remember Theodorou’s career and his light-hearted personality during the course of his career. “I have the biggest smile and constantly laugh with my team throughout training camp and fight week,” he told High Times. “It might sound the opposite of what a fighter does, but I love what I do, so it’s easy to enjoy the process.”

He also served as a “ring boy” for Invicta FC, an all-pro women’s MMA championship, to promote equality. “The addition of ring boys is just another way to even the playing field in another area of the sport. I think we’re on the right side of history,” he told BBC in March 2018. “The response so far has been, I’d say, 70-80% positive. Some people don’t get it, but that’s okay. Anyway, those who know me will know that I put out a pretty positive conversation in general. When people troll me for other things, I show them kindness.”

Many noteworthy advocates have passed away recently, including Olivia Newton-John and Zahra Abbas in August.

The post Medical Cannabis Advocate, MMA Fighter Elias Theodorou Passes Away appeared first on High Times.

5 Professional Sports That Permit Cannabis Use

Since 1968, professional athletes have been tested for the use of performance enhancing drugs and banned substances. Up until recently, cannabis was deemed a banned substance. Cannabis’s reputation as a banned substance is rapidly changing. Today, we will discuss five professional sports that permit the use of cannabis. Football (NFL) In the NFL’s current collective […]

The post 5 Professional Sports That Permit Cannabis Use appeared first on Latest Cannabis News Today – Headlines, Videos & Stocks.

Friday, October 9, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

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// Congresswoman Helps Constituents Learn How To Buy Legal Marijuana One Day Before Maine’s Sales Begin (Marijuana Moment)

// Retail marijuana sales begin in Maine (Leafly)

// Months After Coronavirus Shutdown, Mass. Pot Shops Say Business Is Steady (WBUR)

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// Justices Look Again At High-Stakes Marijuana Case (WUFT NPR)

// Military Veterans Group Asks Federal Court To Hear Marijuana Case Challenging DEA Classification (Marijuana Moment)

// Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle backs legal marijuana in South Dakota (Argus Leader)

// Top New Mexico Lawmaker Is Hopeful State Can Legalize Marijuana In 2021 Session (Marijuana Moment)

// Trevin Jones Stripped Of August UFC Win & Fined $1,945 For Positive Marijuana Test (Jiu-Jitsu Times)

// On-demand recreational marijuana delivery comes to metro Detroit (Detroit Free Press)

// Oregon 2020 Election: Vote Yes! on Measure 109 (Canna Law Blog)

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Aurora Cannabis Forms One-of-a-Kind Partnership With UFC to Develop Products for Professional Athletes

Edmonton-based Aurora Cannabis has partnered with the UFC for a clinical research project that could soon provide professional fighters with hemp-derived products specifically tailored for them and their medical needs. The two organizations announced their partnership in Edmonton on Friday ahead of Saturday’s match between Olivier Aubin-Mercier and Arman Tsarukyan at Rogers Place. The partnership is the first of its kind between a professional sports organization and a cannabis company, with Ultimate Fighting Championship president…

MMA Fighters to Act as Test Subjects for Topical CBD Treatments

Ultimate Fighting Championship athletes will be the next group of players to participate in a multiphase clinical study on CBD’s effects on pain relief in their famously high impact sport. The league has announced that it is partnering with a Canadian cannabis company to examine the effects of non-psychoactive cannabinoids on its players’ health.

The study will be used to develop a line of hemp-derived topical treatments manufactured by Aurora Cannabis. Officials from the league say that care, recovery, injury, pain, and inflammation in the mixed martial artists will be gauged by the investigation.

Currently, 30 UFC athletes have signed up for the trial, which will be headed by a University of Alberta research scientist and Aurora’s VP of global research and medical affairs. They will receive support from a group of UFC Performance Institute sports performance researchers based in Las Vegas.

“Collaborating with Aurora is the best way to educate ourselves and our fighters about the impact of CBD on MMA athletes and our sport,” said Duncan French, UFC’s vice president of performance. “We want to apply science and see where it leads us. Ideally, these studies will give us the clarity we need to determine the effectiveness of hemp-derived CBD on athlete health and injury recovery.”

“Our partnership with UFC is about committing to the science that will educate and advocate,” Aurora CEO Terry Booth said. “We are going to work together to change the way people think, to change the industry, and to launch the first hemp-derived CBD products that are backed by scientific research.”

This is not the first pro sports league that has signed on for testing the link between athletes and the benefits of CBD. Earlier this year, the NHL Alumni Association announced that it was a co-sponsor of a study of CBD’s effects on 100 former hockey players with brain trauma.

In May, the NFL — which has traditionally held a hardline position against athletes and cannabis — made public its plans to conduct studies on cannabis as a pain relief agent. That’s a big deal. As recently as 2018, the league denied free agent Mike James his request to swap opioid painkillers for cannabis after breaking his ankle while playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Professional sports have had a largely sketchy relationship with medicinal cannabis and its derivatives, even though many insiders say that marijuana use is prevalent, if not the norm in many leagues. In 2018, a group of former pro basketball players including Kenyon Martin and Cutting Mobley announced that most NBA players consume cannabis — in their estimate, 85 percent. Prominent ex-administrators like onetime NBA commissioner David Stern have come out in favor of athletes being able to treat their aches and pains with marijuana, but most leagues remain reluctant to allow players to use cannabis.

UFC officials said that they hoped the project would have ramifications felt around the rest of the world of professional sports.

“When you think about this, the amount of money that’s going to go into the testing and the research of this deal is going to affect our athletes, then it’s going to spill into the NFL, the NBA, and soccer,” said UFC president Dana White.

The post MMA Fighters to Act as Test Subjects for Topical CBD Treatments appeared first on High Times.