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Undefeated UFC Legend Frank Shamrock Talks Cannabis: ‘I Always Liked Weed Better Than Alcohol’

We caught up with legendary UFC fighter Frank Shamrock about his passion for his sport, rehabilitation, and marijuana.

Javier Hasse

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Undefeated UFC Legend Frank Shamrock Talks Cannabis
Courtesy of Frank Shamrock

Frank Shamrock is one of those fundamentally surprising, unexpected characters.

We thought we knew a lot about him before meeting him. Our notes read:

  • Badass on the ring; UFC fighter who retired as a four-time defending undefeated champion.
  • Son of a Mexican mom and Native-American dad; tough childhood.
  • Former convict trained to be a professional fighter by his half-brother, UFC Hall of Famer Ken Shamrock.

It turns out that this was incredibly reductionist. Not because the information above was wrong – it wasn’t. It’s just that Frank Shamrock is a lot more complex.

“I grew up on the streets and raising myself,” he told High Times. “At eleven years old, I went to juvenile hall for the first time and figured out that what was going on in my house was not good for me. So, I made a commitment to get out and the only tool I had learned at that time was breaking the law, so I became a full-time criminal and committed to that.”

Over the years that followed, Frank bounced from one foster home to the next, and from one group home to the next, till he arrived in what he calls a “boy ranch: a big family that changed my life. I totally thrived in it and learned a lot even though I eventually got kicked out.”

At the age of 17, Frank went to jail convicted of numerous felonies. “Psychologically, that’s where I figured out how to be tough and how to survive.”

Dealing with the scars of an abuse-ridden childhood, Frank decided to turn his life around, to serve his time in prison, take advantage to get as many college courses as he could while serving as a physical coach for many inmates, and then go back to his family—he had a kid by then.

“My plan revolved around my body, and my strength and all this kind of stuff I was building up,” he continued. “When I finally got out of prison, Bob Shamrock, my group home dad, said I could either become a stripper or I could become a fighter. I didn’t have many other options as a young convict.

“I didn’t want to be a stripper, and one of my childhood dreams was to be a champion fighter. I never prepared for it; I just made up my mind and did it, and never stopped studying martial arts.”

Getting Into Weed

We’ll just fast-forward through Frank’s professional life. It’s well known and well documented. Just Google it, so that we can get to the most interesting part of this for High Times readers: how Frank got into weed.

“I used cannabis recreationally when I was a kid,” he told High Times. “I always liked weed better than alcohol. It always made me feel better than alcohol, it was a better social medicine for me because alcohol made me goofy.”

As time went by, Frank also used cannabis to treat a bad spine injury. “A wise chiropractor told me that if I was serious about being an athlete, this injury would cause a lot of pain, so I would have to treat it. And, for that, I would need a medicine that I could take for a long time – versus other addictive painkillers like Vicodin. As my professional career developed, I discovered he was talking about weed… It’s organic, so it just never left me on the health side. Cannabis made pain, discomfort and even the psychological impact of fighting a lot better… It just made everything better.

“So, I used cannabis during my entire sports career, from day one until the very end. I used to recover, I used it for pain, I used oils to protect my brain. But I felt bad about it because it was illegal. So I always kept it a secret, both during my career as an athlete and then, when I became a sports broadcaster. I kept it very close to my chest until it became legal in California.”

The Frank Shamrock Q&A

Javier Hasse: Do you grow your own cannabis?

Frank Shamrock: I don’t because I live in a place where I cannot grow. I live in Simi Valley, California. We cannot grow here. Ironically, we have a dry town. Even though the town voted to allow cannabis, the city council over-voted them and made it illegal.

JH: So, what would you tell the city council?

FS: I would say to them that this is a real medicine and, as such, it should be available to the people that need it. I think (socially) it’s our obligation to do that. They should read the science behind cannabis.

JH: What’s your favorite intake method and why?

FS: I like to smoke a joint. But in the morning I like to vape a Volcano bag because I don’t want to smell like cannabis all day, but I want to get really high amounts of cannabis before training.

JH: What’s your favorite strain?

FS: I’m an O.G. guy. I like to O.G. world… It’s my kind of vibe.

JH: What’s the story behind the best joint you’ve ever smoked? We’ve heard stories about Deon Cole, about Metallica and Marilyn Manson…?

FS: I’m always getting kicked out of hotel rooms because I like to smoke a joint and it doesn’t go over well sometimes. So, one time I was in New Orleans, in the presidential suite of a very fancy hotel. I was hanging out with friends and we decided to spark one up. We were having a great time until security came pounding on the door. A lot of celebs and T.V. executives there just hid. I opened the door and the security guy recognized me. “We’ve had some complaints about noise and a funny smell. If any of that bothers you, please let us know,” he said; then shut the door and left.

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