It’s a typical Thursday morning commute with fog and steady traffic heading to Silicon Valley. As we drive south from San Jose, the skies clear and the sun comes out, a good omen for our trip to Castle Rock State Park. Once there, we meet Robbie V., who makes cannabis-infused protein bars with his company Native Seed, and Robert Quesada, a clonetender at the Oakland Harborside Health Center.
The duo met through Instagram and they quickly bonded over their love of cannabis, bouldering, and living in the Bay Area. Together they are Climbers4Cannabis, a group of activists that seeks to educate and draw attention to the medicinal use of cannabis in the climbing community and for athletes everywhere. On the rock wall, Robert is able to show what heights a toking athlete can reach. Through his Instagram, he can connect to like-minded followers around the state and the world. “I can’t wait until there are no international borders to cannabis,” he said. “I can go medicate and educate anywhere and help people find their medicine.”
Robbie and Robert’s primary form of climbing is bouldering, the simplest form of rock climbing. It needs no gear: only a willing body and mind. Robbie and Robert come equipped with some climbing aides: a chalk bag for sweaty hands, a Rasta-colored crash pad, a custom travel dab case by ZeeFusion, and climbing shoes (although Robert will later complete a climb in his flip flops, truly showing how little gear is needed).
We start the morning off with a dab of Harborside’s Gold Drop Chernobyl at the base of their first bouldering opportunity. Robert says that he uses cannabis while bouldering to boost his creativity and to help reduce muscle inflammation after a rigorous climb. He prefers “encouraging” strains such as Jack, Tangie, and Haze.
While Robert often shares the products he uses on his Instagram, correct dosage depends on the individual. When asked if it is dangerous to climb while high, Robert quotes the old adage “everything in moderation.” He gets high and waits to feel the effects before getting on the rock. As a boulderer, his decision to medicate does not affect other climbers. Robbie prefers medicating with cannabis, which he believes is much safer and cleaner than the pharmaceutical options most athletes use.
Many athletes cannot openly use cannabis for fear of jeopardizing their careers or losing their sponsorships, thus necessitates the need for activism and education in the climbing world. Robert says that many of the climbers he’s met smoke joints. They don’t know about CBD or terpenes or what strains are better for climbing, turning to his Instagram to ask questions and share stories.
“I can’t wait until there are no international borders to cannabis. I can go medicate and educate anywhere and help people find their medicine.”-Robert Quesada
A couple in their mid-30s keeps their distance from our pot-smoking group. After watching Robert and Robbie’s work on a particularly challenging under-hang climb, the man comes over to watch and help spot. When he learns that Robbie makes cannabis energy bars, he recalls the last time he smoked, when he got too high at a wedding years ago.
Robert smiles at me and says, “This is what I am talking about.” Robbie explains how his 1-to-1 THC-to-CBD Lift Bar will keep the man fueled, relieve achiness after the climb, and won’t get him too high. When asked if the man wants to try some, the man hesitates and says, “Not today.” His wife, who has been listening in the background, pipes up, “I do!”
Robert explains this is how is how Climbers4Cannabis started. He discovered rock climbing a few years ago and would often climb in his Harborside gear. Sometimes climbers would be put off by his smoking, but once they saw that his bouldering skills were not hindered, they began to ask questions. With his experience working for a dispensary, Robert was able to educate the public on the medicinal properties of cannabis and break stoner stereotypes. When he met Robbie, he found an ally who shared his wellness philosophy and made a product he believed in.
The couple we met ends up climbing with us for the next two hours. When we head out to our next climbing location, we wave goodbye and leave them with the latest copy of DOPE. Our last stop is Castle Rock, an outcropping of towering sandstone boulders with many caves and overhangs to climb. After a particularly strenuous climb, Robert prepares an ACDC dab with Blue River terpenes to “balance out.” Smoking CBD strains allows him to climb longer and with fewer aches and pains the next day. He gestures to the birds chirping in the oaks around us. This is how cannabis is meant to be smoked—outside, being active with friends in the forest.
To learn more about Native Seed, go to nativeseedcreations.com.
To follow Robert’s climbing adventures, find his Instagram, @climber4cannabis.
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