Unpacking CBD with Olympian Joanna Zeiger PHD, As Floyds Partners with Stock Show

It’s been said that the CBD industry is a bit of the Wild West with its wide swath of product placement and beneficial claims. Rich Soares sat down with Joanna Zeiger and talked all things CBD and how it relates to athletes. This on the heels of USA Triathlon announcing a partnership with Evergreen based Pure Spectrum CBD and embracing this category of product for triathletes. For more information on that announcement go HERE

In a recent news release Floyd’s of Leadville announced their sponsorship of the 2020 National Western Stock Show. This is the first time this product category has been included in the show’s exhibitor line-up. National Western’s John Ellis remarks, “The National Western is proud to partner with Floyd’s of Leadville for the 2020 Stock Show.  Floyd’s is at the forefront of development and technology in this emerging industry and we are excited to have them help educate our guests on the benefits of CBD.”

State and Federal laws and social norms have shifted the landscape of cannabis in the last decade. And now with Major League Baseball announcing they will not test for THC, does this open the door for other sports to do the same and will it ultimately affect the CBD industry?

No doubt we have all seen the CBD market begin to take off in endurance sports. With USADA removing CBD from the banned substance list in 2018, there seems to be an acceleration of adoption.

Here is the link to entire podcast and below is the transcript. Click HERE:

Interview with Joanna Zeiger:

Let’s get the discussion rolling with Joanna, but first we are going to give you the Wikipedia on Joanna.

She attended Brown University where she held the school records in the 500-yard (460 m) freestyle, 1,000-yard (910 m) freestyle, and 1,650-yard (1,510 m) freestyle which she set in 1991. Competitive running and cycling were added to her repertoire in 1992 and 1993. Joanna was the 1998 triathlon rookie of the year, took 4th in the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and a top 5 Kona pro the same year.

Joanna received her PhD from The Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2001. She pursued her professional athletic career by going on to win the IRONMAN 70.3 world championship 2008. While defending her title in 2009 Joanna suffered a career ending bike crash.

Joanna is the author of “The Champion Mindset”, founder of “Training Away Chronic Pain”, and the architect of the Athlete PEACE Survey. We are going to talk about all of this, but let’s start by going back in time a bit.


Let’s start with growing up as a swimmer. Did you always have the champion mindset or was that something you had to learn?

Joanna Answer:

I definitely had to learn it. I talk about an anecdote in my book about an early swimming meet, I was maybe 15 or so, and I was doing the 400. It was a meet in Mission Viejo and I remember it like yesterday. I came out of the water and I was crying and I said to my coach I’m never going to do this event again and I just put my foot down and he yelled at me and he said I don’t want to hear that nonsense from you. One day that’s going to be your best event. Sure enough he was right it was my best even. I did qualify for the Olympic trials in the 400 a few years later. So I did have the mindset of a champion, but I guess it was dormant inside of me. I had coaches that were able to bring that out of me nurtured it. 


Why Brown University and what career ambitions did you have as a freshman in college? What did you declare as your major?

Joanna Answer:

I got my degree in psychology and I thought that I was going to either do a clinical social work or be a psychologist of some sort. But while I was there I decided that I really I loved research. I grew up with research around me my father even though he was a clinician he’s an allergist he always was involved in research and I used to him on the phone at night recruiting patients. I used to call it telemarketing and you have to call them up and ask him to be involved in the study and it was a lot of work but I just somehow I knew it was just something I wanted to do and so my senior year of college. I got involved with the professor in doing some research and got a publication out of it and it just really feel the fire for me and so I ended up getting a Masters in genetic counseling and I purposely picked a program that had a thesis requirement so that I could do more research and then went on to my PhD.


Fast forward to 2008 when you win the IRONMAN 70.3 world championship and then defend your title in 2009. There you suffered a career ending bike crash. Take us through that experience in 2009 and the injuries that your sustained.

Joanna Answer:

So in 2009 I went back with a lot of confidence. I had done the Austin 70.3 that was a few weeks beforehand had a great race. I felt like my training was right where it needed to be arguably within better fitness and I was in 2008. At mile 45 or so with the bike I was grabbing water bottle one of the aid stations in the person did not let go of the water bottle and so essentially he just pulled me right off my bike and I flipped over my handlebars and I broke my collarbone. I have a lovely plate in there and I did structural and nerve damage in my rib cage that is permanent and to this day I suffer from very severe neuropathic syndrome from that and also earlier this year I was diagnosed with a auto inflammatory disease which was probably initiated by the accident I been suffering symptoms of it for almost a decade after the crash 10 years ago now and doctors never could figure out what was wrong until this year. I finally just got sick enough that they were able to put it all together so the ramifications of that accident were pretty huge. 


In addition to authoring your book “The Champion’s Mindset”, you have continued research and have become a thought leader on how to use aerobic exercised and strength training to help alleviate chronic pain. How did this lead to the Athlete PEACE Survey, and what were you and your colleagues hoping to achieve? 

Joanna Answer:

I was very interested in what are other peoples experience cannabis anecdotally. I’m hearing great things you know people were just you know touting so many wonderful things you know and it was helping with anxiety and pain and you know people getting off opioids, but when I went to the literature to look and see the research on cannabis for pain or other conditions it just wasn’t a lot out there and as an epidemiologist I felt that I was in a position to change some of that. So I formed Canna research group and my father is the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Robert Zeiger as an author on the paper. I’ve got Bill Silvers who is allergist immunologist who’s chief scientific officer and Ed Fliegler former geriatrician who is an adviser and so the four of us have come together to do cannabis research and look at the benefits and adverse effects and patterns of youth in various populations who may benefit from cannabis .


How do each CBD and THC work in our bodies? How Cannabinoids interact with The Endocannabinoid System and what combinations have the greatest efficacy?

Joanna Answer:

We should start with this whole notion is that everybody has an endo cannabinoid system in their bodies and so we actually make things in our bodies that bind to receptors an that endo cannabinoids system so you know we have endogenous things that bind to that so it isn’t just that you know we take this in this is there for cannabis so we should start with that. We all have expressed throughout our entire body and so we have receptors CB1 and CB2 and THC primarily binds to CB1 and CBD binds to CB2 but also very loosely binds to CB1. So these receptors are everywhere in our body and so that’s why when you take it for certain diseases having different ratios of CBD in THC may be helpful according to where things are expressed in the body and what it is that you’re trying to treat OK so when we talk about cannabis you know we’ve got the marijuana plant where that we all think of being high THC in lower CD and then there’s hemp and that is going to be very high in CVD and by definition has to have less than .03% THC. A lot of companies will actually take the THC out of the hemp so that you end up with just a plain old CD product and then you can have all ratios in between so you can buy things that are THC only you can buy ratios that are 1 to 1 of CBD and THC all the way up to 20 to 1 and then get CBD only.


Your study asked about the subjective benefits compared to the subjective adverse effects. What were the subjective benefits? What were the adverse affects? Are they different for CBD and THC?

Joanna Answer:

One of the things that we looked at are subjective effects and subjective effects are how do you feel basically so you know you took the you took some candidates and we gave them a list of things you know did it make you feel any of these things. So the positive things that people were endorsing were things like improved sleep decreased pain spasms so people really had to say improve sleep, so people really endorsed us some important things that we all struggle with decreased anxiety and then some of the adverse things that people were endorsing were decreased concentration increased appetite increased anxiety so it can be a little confusing because people have less anxiety and some people have more anxiety and even the same individual might experience both things that initially were at different times of the lifecycle of where they are in the metabolism of the cannabis in their system up. 

THC is a banned substance and is a threshold drug What does that mean and if an athlete is using it, what are the threshold that they need to be aware of? Is that a threshold that you can cross if you have taken 12 hours or more prior to testing?

Joanna Answer:

I think so it was 150 nanograms and I and that’s pretty high but what does that mean it’s unknown because everybody metabolizes cannabis differently and it stays in your body for a long time. There are some studies that indicate that THC could actually be released from your system from exercise so that you know let’s say you would take it 2 or 3 weeks ago and all the new exercise now then it’s released in your body and so if you were tested you could test high for levels from that even though I haven’t taken it recently so there’s just still a lot that isn’t known about. You know what that means on a global level because it’s so individual so if you’re going to be tested, really the smart thing would be not to use THC at all or stop using it a long time before you would potentially be tested. In terms of using products that have CBD only a lot of them are contaminated with THC so I tell people that you must buy your CDs were reputable source make sure that there is a certificate of analysis or that there are some 3rd party like consumer labs in other 3rd party testers that are doing independent testing they put out their recommendations. So I say purchase from those places because what happens is you can buy something that says it’s CBD only and it could have high levels of THC now all the sudden you’re taking something that you thought was going to be OK and it’s not so athlete has to be very careful with what they put into their bodies.

Our study did show us that athletes who used CBD and THC, athletes that used both had the most benefit from cannabis, so that they had the highest percentage of improved sleep the biggest reductions in pain they also had the most adverse effects but the percentages were much lower than for the positive effects athletes to use just DVD by itself had um probably the lowest levels of positive benefits and this goes along with what I was saying about the entourage effect that the whole plant is what you need to get the most benefit.

How should athletes, coaches and health providers leverage the data from this study to help athlete health, performance and recovery?

Joanna Answer:

I don’t know that it should be the responsibility of a coach to let an athlete know what they should do. There are cannabis nurses and cannabis positions out there that are very knowledgeable and I would definitely recommend athletes trying to find somebody that has a background in prescribing cannabis or you know has the knowledge that’s a good place to start particularly if you’re using it for a very specific medical condition or if you’re on a lot of medications you want to make sure that you don’t have cross drug interactions. If that’s not something that somebody is willing to do just you know I just say happy to go do your homework you know read without their make sure you’re going to credible sources to read information. You know if you want to get deep into the weeds with research Google Scholar is a good place to go. Leafly has a lot of good information especially if you’re looking just for cannabis 101 but the mantra in the field of cannabis is start low go slow so you want to start with a very low dose and just dose yourself up very slowly. What’s a low dose milligrams of CBD and or THC and if you’re very very scared you could even go 2 1/2 milligrams of THC. CBD is not psychoactive you can get adverse effects from it but usually that’s going to be a much higher dose and some people do say that CBD make some tired. So if you’re very new to it you’re just starting you certainly want to do this at a time when you don’t have to drive or make decisions. You don’t want to try this like you know and then go to work right at a time like on a weekend or when you don’t have to you know do something that’s going to require a lot of concentration.

I think that really depends you know when you look at it’s different for CBD than it is for THC so let’s talk about THC it’s incredibly variable so somebody’s 2 1/2 milligrams could be somebody else is 25 milligrams and the route of administration is also going to be um is going to affect how you feel so you know somebody could take 2 1/2 milligrams from oil and not feel anything and but then they take a gummy and they’re very high or they could smoke it and they feel something totally different. So it’s going to require a little bit of experimentation to write it down because it’s very hard to remember what you’ve done and you know just kind of work your way up slowly and if something doesn’t work it just does it doesn’t mean that cannabis doesn’t work it just means that that specific thing didn’t work. With CBD again you can start with about 5 milligrams that’s not going to be a therapeutic dose for most people and when you look at studies that they do and things like seizure disorders and anxiety they could be giving up participants you know 1 to 5 milligrams per kilogram so you know that could be 60 to more than 100 and some odd milligrams that they’re giving up to a person so you can see where 5 milligrams isn’t very much so again you know you could get to 10 or 20 or 30 milligrams and still not feel anything it could be that you’re not at the therapeutic dose yet.

Joanna Zeiger On Life After Tri

From Slowtwitch

I admit it. I lurk on the Slowtwitch forum. Phew. I am glad I got that off my chest. Of course, there are threads on training, race predictions, crashes, doping, and my favorite is anything dealing with who’s hot. Ok, maybe not so much the last one.

A common theme I’ve seen over the years is about athletes struggling with injuries and how these injuries affect their ability to keep training and racing in the sport of triathlon. Most often running is the sport that suffers, but there are people like me who have left the sport due to an inability to bike and swim (more on that later). Universally, athletes who cannot race triathlons any longer are naturally despondent and look for any way possible to make their return, even if it means engaging in strange voodoo or tribal rituals.

I suppose the reason these threads capture my attention is because I left the sport of triathlon due to injuries that render me unable to bike or swim; somehow, I can still run. I won’t bore you with all of the details of the bike accident that caused my retirement from triathlon, but the short version is that I severely battered my right rib cage with injuries ranging from broken ribs that never healed, a fractured and displaced xiphoid process (the bone at the tip of the sternum), torn intercostal muscles, and intercostal nerves that were stretched beyond their limits and are therefore permanently damaged. It has been 7 years since my last triathlon. I still miss it sometimes, the yearning to compete manifested in Ironman dreams….


Mike Sandrock: Zeiger, Lindley, Wellington. 3 women, 3 champions, 3 books

From the Daily Camera

Joanna Zeiger, seen here racing in the 2010 Boulder Peak Triathlon, will speak about her just-published “The Champion Mindset” March 10 at Flatirons Running. “Surfacing,” by Siri Lindley, also a former world champion triathlete, also has just been published. (Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer)

Just about a year ago this time, I was standing near the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles with a large crowd of running fans watching the exciting finish of the women’s U.S. Olympic marathon trials.

Early leader Shalane Flanagan was faltering in the heat, and Boulder’s Kara Goucher looked to have chance at a top-three finish. (She ended up an oh-so-close fourth).

We were not the only ones watching.

Joanna Zeiger, Boulder’s seven-time Olympic trials participant over three sports, was just about to begin her final six-mile lap when she heard the loud cheers for the fast-approaching leaders.

“I decided to wait and cheer on (winner) Amy Cragg ,” Zeiger, 46, said in a recent phone interview. “I hung out to see who was in the lead. Amy was amazing and seeing her gave just such a chill up my spine and motivation to get through the last lap.”

There was really no need for Zeiger to finish. She could have easily joined the roughly 50 women who pulled out of the marathon that day, done in by the near-90 degree heat. Zeiger’s spot in triathloning history is secure. There was, however, no way she was not going to finish the marathon.

“I knew it was going to be a major struggle,” said Zeiger, who has suffered daily debilitating rib and nerve pain ever since a bike crash in the 2009 70.3 World Triathlon Championships. “I was prepared for a long, tough day; every time I saw a runner walking back to the finish after dropping out, it strengthened my resolve, and I thought, ‘I am going to get through this.'”

Get through it Zeiger did, fueled by her “champion mindset,” which, appropriately, is the name of her new book.

On March 10, Zeiger will talk about “The Champion Mindset: An Athlete’s Guide to Mental Toughness” at Flatirons Running in south Boulder. She will also show footage of her Ironman World Championship win.

In a nice coincidence, “The Champion Mindset” is one of three new books by world champion female triathletes with local ties.

Long-time resident and former world-ranked No. 1 and 2001 world champion Siri Lindley, now a coach of elites based out of RallySport, tells her riveting story in “Surfacing: From the Depths of Self-Doubt to Winning Big & Living Fearlessly,” while four-time Hawaii Ironman world champ Chrissie Wellington, a native of England who lived in Boulder during her top competitive years, is out with “To the Finish Line: A World Champion Triathlete’s Guide to Your Perfect Race.”

Read the full article