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Newsworthy EventI’m Running 7 Ultra marathons on 7 Continents to raise funds to build 7 Schools for under-privileged students around the world - AMA

Dec 21st 2016 by joelrunyon • 24 Questions • 71 Points

I co-founded Imperfect with the goal of closing the loop on the billions of pounds of produce that get wasted every year because they aren’t pretty enough for grocery stores. We deliver delicious but wonky-looking produce to people’s doors for 30-50% less than grocery store prices. Since our launch over a year ago we’ve kept over 1.8 million pounds of food from going to waste, gotten on the cover of National Geographic, and are about to expand to Los Angeles! Find us at www.imperfectproduce.com

Proof: http://imgur.com/a/KErLV EDIT: I have to go and so unfortunately cannot answer any more questions today but had a blast and would love to do another one of these soon. Happy holidays everyone!

Q:

Do you think you could take Steve Kamb in a fight?

A:

Welcome to reddit! If you could tell one thing to every person in the world, what would it be?


Q:

What is the best advice you've been given?

A:

Hey, I'm 8 months clean off of heroin, living in Seattle. Have there been any long term studies into the effect of using marijuana during cravings? That's what I've been doing - smoke a big bowl and sleep through it til tomorrow. But am I actually just putting off an inevitable relapse without learning better coping mechanisms?

Edit: Holy wow! I was not expecting such a response from my little throwaway comment. I am totally overwhelmed by this show of support and I'm going to send the day getting to everyone. Thank you!


Q:

My understanding is that "ugly" produce is what is sold to companies that turn them into juices, Broth, and pieces so small that the defects are mitigated (such as baby carrots).

Is this the case? If so, how much waste is there if you account for these products?

A:

This might be my favorite question.

And yes. He would go down.

I would just run around around a track one time and he would be winded :) BUWAHAHAHAH

Although I think we'd probably just have a stare down, bust each other's balls, talk about how the other person is lame and then grab a drink.


Q:

I would like to spread awareness about brain tumors. Support the fight against childhood cancer. May is brain tumor awareness month. I'd like for people to support it more especially during that month

A:

Well...Bryan has a new book out, full of great advice. -jf


Q:

Oh my god, thank you THANK YOU THANK YOU for sharing your story. There are absolutely ZERO long term studies about this, but I hope to be the author of those one day!!! Based on the literature, the only things that could definitely enhance your recovery are social support (being meaningfully connected with humans around you) and mindfulness meditation. YOU CAN DO IT.

A:

You're right -- a lot of ugly veggies have a processor market. Apples, oranges, and other fruit tend to. Often even when there is a processor market, farmers are forced to sell it below cost. So we buy some of that stuff and are able to pay a lot more than processors do. But most items -- basically all the field packed product like celery, broccoli, cauliflower, etc. don't have a processor market and would be left in the field. And then even items like kiwis, eggplants or any other pears besides the bartlett often go to animal feed for 1 cent per pound.


Q:

Thanks for responding. I've been a huge fan of yours (and Steve's) for several years.

Your articles on finding the joy in adversity and seeking out struggles for personal growth really helped me through a rough patch in my life a few years ago. I'm definitely in a better place than I would have been without them. Though my wife still thinks cold showers are crazy.

A:

Hey Gray, I'm a 17 year old battling brain cancer now. Do you have a favorite doctor/nurse that you love talking to? And what advice would you give to me or others who are battling childhood cancer?


Q:

What were both of your "Hey, I finally made it in Hollywood" moments?

A:

What are your thoughts concerning use of cannabis in the NFL?


Q:

Thanks for the info. I look forward to a San Diego expansion!

A:

Awesome to hear that!

And...cold showers are crazy - that's why they're awesome :)


Q:

Just try not to think about what you have. Let your family or whoever take care of that. Just focus on being a kid. You know who I got that from? M. O. M.

A:

When we did Freaks and Geeks I remember sitting around Seth Rogen and Jason Segel, the four of us was just like, THIS IS IT! WE MADE IT! HOLLYWOOD HERER WE COME! Even though that show was so good, when it first came out a not a lot of people watched it, so we kind of had that moment and it kind of was taken away, and then it was given back to us when it played reruns. - jf


Q:

Man, I can't even express how much this issue means to me. From a brain/concussion perspective, a chronic pain perspective, as well as a cannabis perspective.

There is clear evidence that these guys experience REALLY nasty consequences of bodily trauma and chronic pain. CTE is a devastating disease. Based on the data, cannabis appears to be a safer alternative to opioids for chronic pain relief. In my opinion, it's irresponsible for professional sports leagues to allow their athletes to engage in activities that would endanger their lives and livelihood, while also preventing them from utilizing safer alternative therapies. Edit: for clarity.

A:

Awesome! SD should actually be sooner rather than later. We are planning on launching in LA in late January/early February and should launch in SD by April or May. You can sign up on our website ahead of time so you're all set up when we launch if you want.


Q:

LOL came here to ask this question. Not disappointed.

A:

Hey Gray, what would you say is the thing that keeps you so positive in the face of having dealt with this for ten years?


Q:

When will you guys be doing a Malcolm in the Middle movie?

A:

So if these things can be proven by someone who has researched it for over 10 years, what more steps need to be taken to change the law?


Q:

What wonky produce is the easiest/hardest to sell?

A:

Apparently everyone loves it :)


Q:

Gray said he wants to video his first response. We are uploading it and will edit this link shortly!

EDIT: https://youtu.be/0WsmfjIJARo

A:

There has been some conversation about that. I dont know if or when that could happen, I guess we have to gauge the temperament of the fans to see if its something they want. But maybe. It would be fun to play with all those people again. It would be like if you (JF) did a Freaks and Geeks movie -bc


Q:

The DEA is expected to follow the advice of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) when new drugs come onto the medicine market (which is basically what’s happening here). The FDA, rightly so, has very strict rules about this process (clinical trials), to ensure our health and safety. Here’s the rub: The FDA’s criteria is so stringent, that whole-plant cannabis will never, by its definition and nature, live up to these requirements. It will take an act of congress or an arbitrary decision by the POTUS or attorney general to change the law.

A:

Great question! Easy sells for us are definitely fresh seasonal fruit like citrus, kiwis, and persimmons. We also see a lot of demand for healthy greens like kale, broccoli, and lettuces, which are normally expensive in stores so people love the savings plus the convenience of having it delivered. Hard sells are anything with visible scarring, which can look weird at first, but once you peel or chop the item you realize that it's the same as what you could have gotten in the stores. To be honest though, one of the most common responses we get from people when they first get their box is "this isn't ugly at all!" It is astounding how strict the cosmetic standards at grocery store standards have become over the years.


Q:

Hey thanks for doing this AMA. What's the hardest part about running an ultra marathon? Is it more mental or physical?

A:

What do you want for Christmas?


Q:

Bryan, has anybody ever told you that your voice is like smooth butter dripped over some like mashed potatoes? I fucking love mashed potatoes.

A:

Could you go into why it wouldn't pass fda approval? If it is safe it should be fine right?


Q:

I read in vanity fair about how you used to be a rapper. What was your rapper name and can you share your rap video with us?

A:

Thanks.

There's definitely a physical element. You have to be able to run the distance, but there's a huge chunk (and I would say 75% or more) that's mental.

At a certain point in a race, everything sucks, everything hurts and everyone feels like that.

The reason why I run ultras is that it takes me to those places I don't always feel like going. It makes you face yourself, see what you're made of and lets you decide if you want to keep pushing.


Q:

Pirate gear

A:

eat my voice -bc


Q:

The FDA can only approve a new drug based on the safety and efficacy data that results from a clinical trial. Clinical trials can't be done on cannabis, because it is an illegal schedule I substance: catch 22. Also, the FDA requires that a drug company provide a single symptom or disease (indication) for which the drug should be used... which would we choose? Furthermore, a number of processes are in effect to ensure all participants in a clinical trial receive the exact same drug/molecule at the same dose. Even if we COULD do that for the clinical trial phase, it wouldn't ever apply to the real world of cannabis medicine, due to the vast variety of strains/plants that are in use. The best we could ever get from the FDA would be approval of a clone of one specific mother plant, refined/extracted to a specific dose/chemical profile, and approved for one specific ailment. In theory.

A:

Hah! Yeah, that was in another life. Back in my freshman year in college my friends and I made a little rap/rock band. Used to have dreads too. Rap name was Ben Simon. Our myspace is still up -- https://myspace.com/thedirtysneaks/music/songs


Q:

What's up Joel? Long time fan here...

Questions: Is there anything you'd change about your 6 pack abs workouts or nutrition?

Do you still maintain your apps or do they take second place to other things?

A:

Steampunk pirate or Renaissance pirate?


Q:

Do either of you find it harder or easier to do comedies as compared to dramas?

A:

Hi! My question is about the obstacles you might face with your research since cannabis remains illegal at the federal level. What has been the biggest setback in that regard? Can you receive federal funding? From whom/where do you receive the majority of your funding? (I'm a physiology PhD student in Colorado, and I've always wondered about funding for cannabis studies.) Thanks for doing this!!


Q:

Hi Ben! As an Imperfect customer, I first want to say thank you for introducing me to world of crazy fruits and vegetables! I've tried lots of different produce that I normally would never have eaten, and I'm curious -- what is the most "exotic" fruit or vegetable you've ever eaten, and how did you prepare it?

Thanks again!

A:

If I did it again, I would have been bigger before I started the cut.

I got down pretty low and I think it was an awesome way to try out manipulating body composition, but I'd like my end weight next time to be in the 190s for a photo shoot again.

That said, we've had some incredible transformations, people losing 80+ pounds, getting off their diabetes meds, etc - so the program works, but I would add a specific muscle-building program for people who don't have size to start on first (actually working on something like that now...so stay tuned).

As for the apps...I'm not sure which ones you're talking about? MoveWell is coming out with an update here soon & the other 3 (paleo.io, paleo recipe pro and cold shower therapy) all just got pushed an updates - so they should be good to go!


Q:

I'd say Renaissance pirate

A:

Well thanks for that question, Sayshoe. Comedy can be tougher because its more fragile. You can ruin a comedy easier than you can ruin a drama. And thats why I say that. A drama is usually very well scripted. A comedy is not fully baked. You are infusing, on a daily basis, opening them up and trying different things. And because of that a comedy is much harder than a drama -bc


Q:

I have been funded by the National Institutes of Health for my entire career. My funding comes from NIDA, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which is the only federal funding agency that can currently give out money to study cannabis. The rub is, that they will only give you money to study the "addictive" or bad effects of cannabis, rather than the potentially medicinal/useful effects. This is the reason that there is a huge negative bias in cannabis research. The biggest setback to medicinal science is the inability of the NIH to give us money to study the potential benefits. I'm hoping that eventually the controlled substances act issue will go away so that we can overcome this barrier.

The reason NIDA has always had an interest in my work is that my goal has always been to reduce opioid use/abuse/bad stuff. I got in the back door.

Colorado has a state-level grant program, so all is not lost!

A:

Thanks for the support! So happy to hear you're loving it. I cooked lotus root once which is basically this big gnarly root that grows in the muck. You slice it up and it looks like swiss cheese in the middle. Like a big mud tuber. It's really delicious and crispy fried tho. https://www.google.com/search?q=lotus+root&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS723US723&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwizoO6EhYvRAhXJLmMKHTBcAZAQ_AUICCgB&biw=1920&bih=974


Q:

Awesome. Thanks for answering. That's the information I was looking for!

A:

Good morning Gray. I've been helping my Wife through a similar situation for a bit over 5 years now. Four bouts of various types of cancer (gastrointestinal [neuroendocrine carcinoma], cervical, ovarian and now, just last month, stage 3 melanoma) How have you dealt with the depression and/or isolation that typically comes with this ordeal?

Michelle, as a caregiver, same question.


Q:

Would you be interested in me writing an erotic fan fiction about your movie?

A:

Wow. Love how unbiased those grants are. Do you feel this also has an impact in the how published peer-reviewed results are framed?


Q:

Don't go on the imperfect produce website for ugly produce... you'll see the most picture-perfect fruits and veggies... http://i.imgur.com/KIoZF0A.jpg

A:

BOOM!


Q:

I feel like I get depressed and alone but I always remember that I have people to help me through those moments. And when I remember that, it makes me feel peppy again. That there are people out there that are cheering for me and it helps me not feel alone and conquer what I'm going through. From Michelle, keeping him involved with people with similar conditions. Like CoachArt. When you do things with CoachArt, there are families and kids with similar situations and we get to be together as a group. Creating opportunities to share within the foundations we are involved with is an outlet for him to share. It creates a support network Gray says I like CoachArt because it helps me meet people who know how I feel and it makes me feel better because other people really don't know how I feel

A:

I find it very flattering when one piece of creative evokes erotic fan fiction, or another piece of creative. So why not go for it -bc


Q:

I would like to think not. Data is data. You can spin it however you like in your discussion, but data doesn't lie. It just is. Regardless of an investigator's hypothesis, bias, or funding agency... ball don't lie.


Q:

Hey Joel, been a big fan of yours for a while. I'm a habitual "talker" that never ends up doing the shit he talks about, but listening to your podcast and reading your blog have really led me to the conclusion that nothing works better than taking action, no matter the results.

I just have one question for you: what's the most important piece of advice you would give to somebody who is (and frankly, scared shitless of) making the transition from being a "talker" to a "doer"?

A:

This is probably going to get buried, but I wanted to let you know that when I was diagnosed with a brain tumor at 24, I became really jaded and relied on gallows’ humor to cope. I am 27 now and can be rather bitter over how much I have lost (peripheral vision, being able to drive at night, decent looking hair/skin, and a modest credit score) over my diagnosis and subsequent treatment.

Reading your AMA has blown me away with how positive and insightful you are at 16. You have a lot to be proud of and I hope your co-captain knows that she raised a wonderful young man.

Per this subreddit’s rules, I have to ask a question : when you went through chemo, did you have Temodar (the oral chemo?) Have you found it to be more mild than intravenous chemotherapy?


Q:

Do either of you have a favorite gas station snack? If so, what is it?

A:

Many of my fellow physicians use urine drug screens as part of pain contracts with patients receiving opioid narcotics. They will refuse to prescribe narcotic medications if patients test positive for any illegal drugs, marijuana included. I've always found this odd because they rarely screen for alcohol use, nor do they refuse narcotics to patients who use alcohol.

My question is, what are the effects of marijuana on opioids from a patient safety perspective? Does marijuana interfere with the metabolism of opioids?


Q:

Hi Ben,

We were former customers of imperfect (for the record we love your mission and your idea which is why we signed up in the first place), but recently quit due to consistent issues (by consistent we mean literally every week) with poor quality produce (moldy fruit, damaged produce) or items missing from our order.

Two questions: 1) I know you guys recently went through some significant growth. How has this impacted your day to day operations? I know your customer service staff said you were implementing new protocols, but those didn't appear to happen. Has the growth of your company exceeded expectations?

2). How do your buyers work with wholesalers or farms directly to purchase ugly produce and distinguish it from produce that might not the top quality? We'd consistently get moldy or damaged produce and I fear new customers who are leery of buying imperfect fruit will be completely turned off by the idea if it is inedible.

A:

Literally just got out and do the thing.

This isn't always the smartest thing to do (and sometimes I get in trouble with other fitness people around the web for saying stuff like this), but for me, fitness has always been about seeing what I'm capable of testing my limits.

With that in mind, when I feel like I'm putting something off because I'm scared or not doing it right, or not sure how to make it perfect, I just say f*** it and go out and do it immediately - even if it sucks.

I've got a somewhat athletic background so I know when I'm pushing myself through "pain" and when I'm gonna hurt myself, but most people don't even get close to either of those.

Also - take cold showers. Take a freezing 5 minute shower first thing in the morning in December and anything else that day will seem like a CAKEWALK!


Q:

I'd like to say thank you and I'm sorry to hear about what you lost. But just remember, there's always a silver lining at the end of the rainbow!

A:

A slim jim. Its like an old piece of sausage and you chew on it and you're like, oh wow there's a lot of grease in there. And then you realize you just ate a pig snout. Why dont they just come out with pig snout?? -bc


Q:

From a safety perspective, all signs point to cannabis LOWERING the opioid risk. When patients have access to cannabis, they self-taper their opioid intake by roughly half. In states with medicinal cannabis laws, there is a 25% drop in opioid overdose deaths.

In terms of basic pharmacology, cannabinoids and opioids interact synergistically to produce pain relief (the two together provide much greater relief than they do alone). However, this does not appear to be true for the side effects like sedation and motor coordination (cannabis enhances the good effects of opioids, but not the bad effects). EDIT: A lot of this work was done in animals.

We don't have any evidence of cannabis interfering with opioid metabolism. The precise mechanisms of the drugs' interactions are poorly understood, and the topic of my ongoing research!

A:

Hey! Thanks for writing in. To answer your questions: 1) Yes, to be fully transparent, our growth as a company has not been without its fair share of growing pains. As the volume of orders has grown our customer care, supply, and operations teams have all had to adjust how they do things to keep up. We have strived to keep quality consistent as we have grown but there were certainly times where orders fell through the cracks. I want to sincerely apologize for the fact that you experienced the quality issues you did. Please understand that they in no way reflected neglect on our part, just an earnest effort to adapt to the challenges that growing a small business with logistics as complicated as ours entails. We hope you will give us another chance in the future. In the past few weeks alone we have revamped our produce receiving process, box packing process, and added new quality checkers which has produced a noticeable drop in issues related to produce quality and missing items. We are committed to constantly improving our produce box service and would love to prove it to you if you are interested. 2) Our supply team works with farmers to source "seconds" or produce that cannot be sold in grocery stores because of how it looks. We do not source produce that is moldy or damaged on purpose. That said, each time we work with new farm or source a new product there is a certain amount of time that it takes for the farm to understand exactly what our specifications are for "ugly" produce so it can take some time during the course of a season to dial in on the quality of the "ugly" items that we source. The reality is also that some produce does not survive the journey from farm to warehouse as well as others. We attempt to weed out any items that are not fit to deliver when we receive the produce from the farmers. Produce delivery can be a tricky logistics chain to manage and some items will occasionally deteriorate along the way due to moisture, bruising etc... We are always working to put new protocols into place to ensure that these items are caught and don't make it into boxes. I really appreciate your candor and honesty about the issues you experience. Honest feedback like this helps me and my entire team do our jobs better. Thanks!


Q:

How do you prepare for marathons in areas with high altitude?

A:

What's your dream?


Q:

Why this movie?

A:

Is there any evidence that cannabis increases the half-life of opioids? Or that it can worsen the most severe side effects such as respiratory depression?


Q:

I also canceled mine. Found it cost nearly the same or more than buying fruit from the store, and some of the fruit ended up rotting right away, avocados were all pits, etc.

Great idea, but the execution wasn't good for us.

A:

Great question! Luckily, most of my races aren't going to be crazy altitude driven, so for most of my faces, I'm going to be worrying more about the cold & external factors (the Narrabeen race is running as far as I can in 12 hours).

I have done the Swiss Alpine marathon and I found that the climbing more than the altitude was what really got me. With off-road ultras, there's skills like power-hiking that you need to really get good at that you never, ever would have to practice in a road race.

As far as breathing, some people use altitude tents. My buddy Kyle Maynard has one I'm still trying to steal from him, but I try to just get to a place 7-10 days beforehand to try and acclimate.


Q:

To find a cure to brain tumors. I have lots of dreams but that's my biggest dream. I think 7 kids die from a brain tumor each day. I could be wrong about how many but that's scary to me

A:

I love the director John Hamburg. He does most of those Focker movies, I Love You Man, just great guy. He was acutally my professor at NYU so I knew him a bit. WhenI heard that Bryan was interested, it just seemed like a great opportunity to it. I've been doing comedy with Seth Rogen for a long time, and I've been a fan of Bryan for a long time -- so here was a chance to do comedy with a new crew. - jf


Q:

No, in fact there is evidence to the contrary. The timecourse of opioids is unaffected by cannabinoid administration. Opioids induce respiratory depression, whereas cannabinoids induce tachycardia (increased heart rate). I actually answered this very question at my Ph.D. thesis defense! Edit: to be concise.

A:

Thanks everybody! I appreciated all the good questions. This was really fun. Happy Holidays!


Q:

I did a cold shower challenge for 31 days 4 years ago and the hardest part was getting my back wet. Once I'd jump that hurdle (a daily challenge) the rest was fairly easy. Really it was just a matter of jumping in, taking a few breaths, and turning that water on cold and strong. It didn't get "easier" at the end of 31 days, though.

(Also, a note: there are no actual health benefits to cold showers. Those are blown out of proportion using poorly correlated research. They're simply a mental challenge.)

A:

Good morning Gray! Hopefully you're having a good day. What do you feel most proud of?


Q:

Who is the better kisser between you two?

A:

I'd be hesitant to say that tachycardia cancels out bradypnea. Heart rate doesn't matter if your aren't oxygenating your blood.

However, it's reassuring to know that cannabis doesn't further depress respiration. Thanks for the answers!


Q:

Hi Ben, first off, I am a huge huge HUGE fan of Imperfect Produce. You are solving such an important problem and I have been a loyal customer basically since you launched. I was wondering how you deal with the seasonality of your business. If you are only working with CA farms, are you limited to grow cycles and what produce you can offer throughout the year? Can you partner with more farms in other states? Keep up the amazing work!

A:

I think there are some health benefits (mostly skin related), but agree. Almost 100% of this is mental clarity and a challenge for discipline.


Q:

Hi! Just the fact that I'm still here and still going. Any time that I'm feeling down and having a bad day, I remember that I'm a brain tumor survivor and that's not by luck. It's a little luck but we've fought hard

A:

James kissed my nose once while filming. I didnt think it was appropriate for you to use tongue in my nose though, James. His tongue darted out and went up my nostril. I didn't say I didn't like it, it was just unusual. -bc


Q:

I appreciate your hesitation, just trying to keep things relatively readable for the reddit audience. Thanks for the questions!

A:

First off, thanks so much for supporting us. I think back sometimes to the leap we took moving out here as some East Coasters and hoping we would get a good reception and it always makes my day to hear from happy customers who love the mission. To answer your question, around 80-90% of our produce is seasonal, California produce. So during the winter variety does go down a little bit. We try to spice things up with buying surplus product that in most cases also would have gone to waste. Recently, we've also been experimenting with tropicals like mangoes -- sometimes they get shipped to America get rejected because of some tiny cosmetic reason or due to surpluses on the market and we're able to buy that up for a really good deal. And yeah, we're definitely growing the supply chain to other states as we expand.


Q:

Ahh, okay, haven't seen the skin info. As a long time sufferer of eczema and other skin ailments cold showers didn't help me, but that's only anecdotal.

A:

Fortune favors the bold. Gray, you truly are an inspiration and I have no doubt that your positivity will have a huge impact on not only your friends and family, but this community and countless others as well.

Keep being an amazing person!


Q:

If either of you were marrying off your daughter or son, what would make you question them "why him?"

A:

I am a person who uses both opioids and cannabis for chronic pain, if you have any questions fire away.


Q:

Awesome idea man. Have you ever thought about doing CSAs or farmers markets with the produce?

Also, would you ever expand to doing the same thing with other foods? Bread products for example?

A:

Yeah - it's more that hot showers dry you out (anecdotally at least) - especially in the winter time.

Eczema has some autoimmune causes with food sensitivities, so you might want to look into that, but I don't like to diagnose people over the internet :)

Do your own research + good luck!


Q:

Aww that's sweet

A:

You just have to observe how they are treated. And the little things, the day-to-day things, thats a big indicator. Is the person being kind? Are they generous in spirit? And thats actually a perfect tie-in to this movie, because my character doesn’t see that in him in his presentation. He’s loud, he’s brash, and because of that I put up the resistance. Stephanie had to say look beyond that. In the movie he witnesses how he treats my daughter with love and kindness, and thats what you have to look for. -bc


Q:

/u/CourageousKoala keep an eye on your inbox!

A:

Thanks! Our main business model is pretty similar to a CSA. That was a lot of where we drew our inspiration from. We noticed that a lot of people who tried CSAs didn't always stick around because you sometimes get hit with a lot of the same item while it's in season and don't have a good way to opt out. With Imperfect it's fully customizable and we combine sourcing from around 30 farms on a given week to give strong variety.

Yeah, we totally want to add other items beyond produce longer term. We've already experimented with a few items like a local Bay Area honey that has crystalized back into solid form, but you can just nuke it for 2 minutes in the microwave at your house and it turns back to regular honey. We were able to sell that for like 40% off. There are a lot of products like that out there and there isn't really a well developed secondary market for small and mid size producers so that's the direction we're heading in.


Q:

Thanks for the reply Joel and I absolutely plan on using the Hard now- Easy Later affirmation to kick myself into prepping for a marathon. All the best on your mission to raise funds! :)

A:

Hi Gray, thank you for sharing your experiences with us!

What has been the hardest part of dealing with your medical issues? Would be interested to hear from your mother about this as well.


Q:

Mr. Cranston, do you ever see yourself directing a film in the future?

A:

I'm currently baked. Any questions for me LUL?


Q:

If you're in Davis make sure you talk to these guys:

http://www.farmfreshtoyou.com/

For the South Bay talk to these guys:

http://baymaples.com/

A:

Get it Zak!


Q:

Just going through treatments one after another after another after. Every time I have an MRI or surgery, I'm wondering "am I gonna make it or am I gonna die? Sometimes I wonder if this is the last one." Mom said hardest for Gray has been the anxiety and anticipation of going through treatments. That's ALWAYS been the hardest.

A:

Yes, I do have a script that I wrote that is getting some traction and could possible go next year or the year after that. I'm really excited about it. I directed an episode of a tv series I created call SneakyPete on Amazon -bc


Q:

How does your cannabis use affect your craving for alcohol? Would you rather just smoke another bowl?

A:

Save me some Franklin's brisket!


Q:

Thanks for this post. I've been off the wagon from training for a few weeks due to surgery and other life circumstances, but I'm really at the point where I'm just making excuses because it's winter and I'm being a wimp. I'm currently training for a marathon to qualify for Crow Pass Crossing, and it ain't gonna happen if I don't do hard now.

A:

Dude I know the feel on MRI's. I had one about 6 weeks ago to measure a tumor in my eye socket that I am getting cut out in about 3 hours.

45 minutes of banging noises to where you can't focus sucks. Sorry you have had so many at such a young age.

Best of luck to you.

UPDATE Next Morning

Thank you all so much for the well wishes. Here I was trying to commiserate with the Amazing Mr. Gray and y'all went out of your way for me. As I type this my left eye is essentially swollen shut this morning and between that and the bandages I can barely open it but I am not experiencing much pain.

The surgery itself was anticipated to be 1 hour but lasted 2.5. I was partially sedated for the whole thing and used lots of local anesthetic. The Dr. told my wife I was very talkative throughout but my recollection was sharing what I could feel as he was working, asking questions about the procedure, and giving relative context to one of the complications that came up.

As for the tumor itself. When scanned via MRI with a follow up CT it was estimated to be about 1.5cm and it was apparently a little larger than 2cm when removed. It was also further up and behind my eye in the socket which required the doctor to move my eye before he could fully remove the tumor. The other small complication was the tumor had a large vessel providing it a strong blood supply which had to be dealt with. Those two factors are what extended it from 1 to 2.5 hours.

As for my prognosis. I should know in the next week or so. The good news is, the thing came out entirely in one piece and it did not appear anything was left behind. In the event it was malignant I should be in pretty good shape.

Again, thank you all for the well wishes and support.


Q:

Hey guys huge fans of both of you! Unbiasedly which of you are funnier?

A:

The more cannabis I started to smoke, the less alcohol I felt like drinking. When i became a daily smoker, my cravings for alcohol are pretty much zero to none.


Q:

Do you see expanding out to the East coast happening anytime soon? I think this is a great idea, and I hope you all can make it out to the East coast (specifically, NH!) I think a lot of people out here would benefit from this greatly :)

A:

MAKE. IT. HAPPEN.


Q:

Good luck on getting that removed! See you on the flip side

A:

you got a few emmys for comedy, don't you? - jf


Q:

Thank you for your feedback! I'd love to hear from more of you about this!

A:

Absolutely! Give us a few years but it's only a matter of time. You can sign up at imperfectproduce.com to get email updates on the new cities we launch in.


Q:

Hello Joel, frist of all I would like to congratulate you on all your achievements, my name is will, I am about leave my job of 18 months, going in to the unknown I am looking to set-up my own business I have enough money saved to keep my going for a couple of months, the reason i want to leave my job is because i want more freedom/explore more of the word I want the ability to surrounded my self with like minded people. what was it like for you when you left your job at Ups ? did you know exactly what your plans were? how did you get over the fear of going in to the unknown? Thanks for your time :) Will

A:

Hey Grey!

First off, just want to say that you're an amazingly strong young man for enduring what you have. I just lost my mom (4 months ago) to cancer after a 4+ year battle. She's the strongest person I've ever known, and I can only imagine what it was like for her, but I'm so happy that you've fought just as hard as she did, and you're still at it! People like you two inspire me and millions of others to never give up in life.

Also, what are your top three favorite games?

Happy Holidays!


Q:

Best moment on a film set?

A:

Hello. I was a homeless alcoholic by 19. I managed to weasel into the military, where my alcoholism was accelerated to comical levels. Just, hilarious. Upon separation, I took up smoking pot to try and replace the alcohol with something else. It worked.

Marijuana quite literally saved my life. I now hold multiple degrees and have a very nice University desk job. If anyone ever says it's just replacing one addiction with another, they're right. But only one has negative consequences. The other has been an unimaginable boon to the successes I've had over the past decade.


Q:

My wife and I frequent a farm locally where we pick our own produce. I love this idea, and bringing awareness to people that there is perfectly good food to eat, that just may look different then you are used to.

I have been mostly unemployed for 8 months, surviving off web/contract work. I love the idea of promoting this way of thinking. I also live in the LA area, so this is exciting. Which leads me to my question: What would it take for me to get a job working for you and your company? (I have a resume I can send).

A:

1) I didn't leave my job at UPS - I got FIRED (AFTER CHRISTMAS!)

And it sucked.

I sat at home feeling bad for myself for another 3 months after that watching Burn Notice.

I finally managed to get a job ($0/month + commission), and turned that into a $1500/month position before finally working my way up to marketing director in about 18 months and getting a new job.

I didn't quit my job until about 2 years after I had started my blog and I had a side income of about $1500 at the time.

When I DID quit, all I remember thinking was "I would rather go back to working at UPS than deal with this desk job."

Honestly, if you don't have a way to make any sort of monthly income, I would NOT quit your job. Figure out how to make $1,000/month while still at your job. TEST your ideas and if they work, THEN quit to focus on them full time.

You do NOT want to blow through your savings while testing out ideas you're not sure are going to work. That's how most people do the "quit in a blaze of glory, travel the world for 3-6 months, and are back working in the same type of job within in the year" circuit (and I say circuit because there's a lot of them).

Let me know if you have more questions on this!


Q:

That touched my heart, thank you. Skip Bo, Monopoly Deal, and Uno Attack. This is from Joe, I can tell you first hand Gray is savage in Skip Bo

A:

I think it was our fight. I really enjoyed it. Its complicated, its like a dance. You have to choreograph it. There's something that happens during the fight that wasn't planned. Once James and I were in a certain position... its like 'well, look here'. I bit down on James Franco's crotch. I got a mouth full of Franco. That was the best and worst moment on set -bc


Q:

This is exactly how I've phrased it before! In my opinion, and granted, I am not a recovery professional: One addiction has major life consequences, the other far less so. Harm reduction has very real value! Thanks so much for sharing. Edit: disclaimer.

A:

We are growing quickly and are currently hiring. Check out our jobs page to stay up to date about current openings: http://www.imperfectproduce.com/career-openings/ Best of luck!


Q:

As a non-runner (one half marathon under my belt, but only because I hated running and wanted to prove I could) I'm still amazed that people put themselves through these. :) Nice going, Joel!

Would you rather fight one horse sized Steve Kamb or one hundred Steve Kamb sized horses?

A:

Grey is savage in general Joe, get rekt


Q:

For both of you. What is a particular moment on set that comes to mind where you couldn't contain your laughter?

A:

I've had two board certified, well respected pain doctors recommended it (in certain words, and with the caveats they can't and won't prescribe it, etc etc) to me over my alternative pain regimen: Norco. I'm totally off opiates now, something I never thought possible and don't have to go through grueling monthly withdrawals anymore, since I started using cannabis. It's been a godsend, and I was devastated to move from CA to TX.


Q:

Hi Ben, how do you guys manage logistics? Do you use traditional staffing agencies? Delivery Companies? Wonolo?

In speaking with some colleagues, I've understood logistics as the most difficult part.

Thanks!

A:

something, something, something about Steve being horse sized already - have you seen his book photos?!

ONE HUNDRED STEVE KAMB SIZED HORSES that actually look like Steve.


Q:

Gray said "I'm not savage, I'm a pirate lord!"

A:

Griffin plays Bryan's young teenage son, both the character and actor were pretty innocent. On the first day, they just threw him right into it. My character asked him what his favorite swear word was…and he just started coming up with the strangest words, both tame and odd. And then from that moment on, he just went for it...and got dirter.....and dirterrrrr...….dragons and titties. - jf


Q:

I'm so sorry you don't have access to the medicine that has been working for you. Our healthcare system has failed you, it shouldn't have to be this way.

A:

Yeah, logistics is one of the hardest parts. In terms of getting the produce to us, we pay trucking companies a fee per pallet to go to our farms, pick up the produce and bring it to our warehouse on a refrigerated truck. We use a local startup called AxleHire to do the last mile delivery to customers' doorsteps.


Q:

What distances do you run as an ultramarathoner?

A:

How do you live your daily life?


Q:

How would Heisenberg deal with James Franco's character in Why Him?

A:

If you'd like more feedback, come join us over at /r/trees


Q:

How long before you think you'll make it to the east coast?

A:

I've done a bunch of 50ks, a 63k, a 89k, and a few other distances here and there.

I've got a 100k and a 12 hour races that are coming up next month (yikes)

I would like to get to 100 miler at some point, but I'm not quite there yet.


Q:

Making moments out of everything. If you're saying something can't be done, someone else is doing it

A:

Speaking of barrels, he would've rolled out a barrel with some sort of chemical in it. And I would say to him “are you going to be good to her? Are you gonna be a gentlemen? Cause if not I will come after you, and no one will ever find you. -bc


Q:

Oh, you think I haven't been lurking there for like, ever? But yes, I will take you up on your offer to participate in scientific research. My compensation for your contribution will be witty quips and gracious thanks.

A:

3 years probably!


Q:

Hey buddy! What does the Antarctica 100k look like? Seems crazy

A:

Not relevant to to the AMA, but nice name.


Q:

Bryan & James, What is your typical morning routine?

A:

I would definitely rather smoke a bowl. In fact, i choose not to smoke hours before going out to a bar.


Q:

Bring it home to TkPk - a fellow blazer

A:

It looks CRAZY. It's 10 laps of a 10k loop.

I'm going to find out next month. It's a whole ordeal just GETTING there. I looked up some of the finish times for previous years and the antarctic winds are scary in how long they can keep you out there for (24/25+ hours).

The distance definitely doesn't take that long to cover, but between the weather, the winds and the gear, it might take a while.

Might be the most epic + the most scary one I can think of right now.


Q:

Between Grim Rocket and Grim Chaos, Gray said he likes Grim Chaos better. But it's close

A:

I usually get up pretty early. There's just so much to do. Although I go to bed pretty late. I've been trying to get more sleep, but it's so hard! Bryan left the party early last night! - jf


Q:

Thanks for your answer, I have a hypothesis that cannabis reduces ethanol craving, this is great!

A:

Also, as a food waste prevention and socially-conscious company, we naturally do a really good job of donating everything we can and composting the rest.


Q:

Thanks for doing this AMA! In 2017, I resolve to get rid of 365 things. I'm inspired by your minimalism post to pare back my physical "stuff" and de-clutter. What tips do you have to build some momentum as I dig through my things?

A:

I wish the very best to you and everyone you love!! Do you prefer cats or dogs ?


Q:

Hey guys, did you happen to pull any pranks on each other while filming? I feel like you're both the type of dudes to have a little fun on set.

A:

I'd love to see a study done on this.

Personally, I've stopped drinking alcohol completely. It just doesn't interest me as much anymore.


Q:

Canada Ontario? Or just USA

A:

Just get rid of it.

Ask: How is it serving me?

Most stuff isn't. It's holding you hostage.

Prioritize what you want and then make sure you have the right tools to do just that.

Also - digitize everything.


Q:

Dogs!

A:

yes. so James was also teaching every weekend that we were shooting this. We worked 14 hours a day on our show. So during the week often, where there was a couch or something, James would take a nap on the couch (in the middle of everybody working), we'd go over and take cast pictures with James while he was sleeping. He can fall asleep anywhere. And he reads more than anybody I know - bc


Q:

I'd love to see this too! QUICK, SOMEONE GET SOME MONEY!

A:

Just USA for now, but we've been looking at the possibility of expanding to Canada. You think there would be a good customer base there for us?


Q:

Joel! What's up man? I'm going to make this a three-fer, I hope you don't mind. 1) How'd you get connected with Pencils of Promise, and why did you choose to work with them over the many other charitable organizations out there? 2) Do you have any kind of daily ritual / routine? Something involving your mornings, or mindfulness, or anything like that? And 3) What are the biggest mistakes you've seen people make when it comes to running long distances? I'm just getting started with my ultra-running an curious to know if there's something you would have done differently / focused more on when you were getting started, knowing what you know now. Thanks for doing this AMA! You're an inspiration, my man.

A:

Good morning, Gray! Thanks for doing this. I think you're awesome and inspiring. Is there a way I can keep following you to hear/read about what you're up to and be able to say hi? PS: Joe is way more popular since he started hanging out with you. Good job teaching him how to be more fun.


Q:

What's your favorite pizza topping?

A:

I started drinking socially in my late teens and through my early 20s. Nothing out of the ordinary for that age group, but I could drink a fair bit when I was partying or whatever. I started smoking cannabis at about 22/23 and have now not touched alcohol for 5 years. Never made a conscious decision to stop drinking, I just completely lost any desire to.


Q:

Do you ever run out of ugly produce and have to use normal, decent-looking stuff to fill your orders?

A:

1) Honestly, they found me back in 2012 which is crazy. I did a lot of vetting with them when we began because there's a lot of charities that take money and then spend most of it on overhead. PoP has had most of their stuff underwritten by private donors so the money goes directly to the schools and the kids which is awesome.

I really like the fact that they're focused on 1) results-oriented investments 2) sustainability of the schools 3) community buy-in and participation in the school builds and projects.

2) I try to journal, meditate and do a quick bodyweight workout (10 pistols, 10 squats, 10 lunges). I don't try to overdo it on meditation (it's super slow for me), but I do like Calm's app + their 3 minute body scan + breathing focus app. It helps me plan out the day in my head before I get started.

3) I think most people try to go too fast. They burn out and don't realize it's a different type of sport than road racing. Especially with trail running, there's a lot more climbing, hiking and "getting through it" more than just running at top speed all the time.

Let me know what other questions you got?


Q:

That is funny about Joe. I have a Facebook site that I can receive messages: https://www.facebook.com/Amazing-Gray-117720188251784/?fref=ts

A:

Considering that Bryan likes slim jims....he probably puts anything on that pizza. - jf


Q:

Awesome! thanks for sharing!

A:

It's pretty rare we would ever use normal produce. Sometimes we use produce that is #1 market grade, but we get it because it's surplus.


Q:

Appreciate the responses! Have "fun" in Australia :)

A:

Hi there! As a current medical student/future physician, do you have any advice for me either about a really positive experience you've had with your doctors or even a particularly negative experience that you'd want to share with me?

Thanks for doing this, hang in there and keep fighting! I'm on your side, fighting against cancer, just from a different angle! You are inspiring with all your positivity!


Q:

How's movie shoot catering?

A:

Cannabis kills my craving for food(can make me hungry sometimes) and alcohol. How do you feel about teenage use of cannabis? or teenage use of non-psychoactive cannabis extracts such as CBD?


Q:

Why aren't "ugly" produce simply juiced?

A:

Oh I will :)


Q:

Yes I do. The patient is always right. The patient AND their parents are always right. Listen to your patient's parents and also listen to their parents. Don't look at them like they're crazy. Just trust them. They know what they're going through more than you would know because that's why they came to you

A:

It was pretty good on this one. Bryan would get everybody pizza, or Mexican, everything. Every Friday. It was great. - jf


Q:

TL;DR: Don't mess with your developing brain, unless you absolutely have to because of medical reasons (intractable epilepsy etc).

Research has clearly shown that consistent adolescent use of cannabis (under 21 yrs of age) is strongly associated with cognitive deficits as an adult. The human brain does not finish developing until approximately 21 years of age, and intervening with its normal development is usually not worth the short-term benefits of cannabis.

If you or your child are considering medicinal cannabis for your condition, you should have lengthy discussions with your doctor about short vs. long term effects of cannabis. This includes CBD, which we don't fully understand.

A:

For a few items it usually is -- like apples, valencia oranges, lemons, etc. A lot of items don't really have juicing markets like kiwis, persimmons, eggplant, etc. Even the apples and other items with super well developed juicing/processor markets the farmers often lose money selling their produce and sometimes it's sort of a grey area where they may not have a guaranteed buyer and are in the same boat with a bunch of other apple growers trying to offload ugly apples. So the price falls out, they sell it below cost, and sometimes aren't even able to find a buyer so it still does go to waste.


Q:

Which of the runs do you expect to be the most scenic?

A:

Good morning awesome folks! As a fairly new father, having something like this happen to my daughter is one of my greatest fears. So I guess this question is aimed more at Lady Crimson: What were the early signs of Gray's illness? What led to the discovery of his tumors? You guys are great and I wish you all the best in the future. Thanks for doing this.


Q:

What do you mean specifically by cognitive deficits?

A:

Hey Ben! Awesome concept. What inspired you to start doing this?


Q:

Patagonia was pretty GD beautiful.

Antarctica is going to be the most wild - I really don't know what to think about this race yet.

South Africa will be up there too. That's a gorgeous country.

A:

From Michelle, something seemed off. I would say motherly instincts. Something seemed off that I couldn't figure out and I would take him to the pediatirition. It was pressure in his head that would build up at night and he couldn't sleep. He would wake up very disoriented. After he would be up for a while, he would be fine. Anything that is persistently off, he was symptomatic at four. I didn't get him diagnosed until six. You kind of have to go by developmental milestones. But it's hard to tell at that age and you don't want to take him to the hospital all the time

From Gray, people thought my mom was crazy. But she was right


Q:

Retention of information. Reaction time. Learning new tasks and the like.

A:

I first got interested in food waste in college when my friends and I noticed a bunch of really good food from our dining hall was just getting tossed out at the end of the night. We created this program called Food Recovery Network to recover and donate it and FRN has now grown to 200 colleges. I ran that for 4 years and learned that where the most food is actually getting wasted that could be recovered is on farms. I used my vacation time to take a little trip through California's Central Valley and after talking to a lot of farmers and realizing they all had this same problem of overly strict cosmetic standards I was inspired to move to the Bay last summer to start Imperfect.


Q:

So pretty much all of them haha

I guess if you're running far enough you're likely to see some really great views

A:

Good Morning Gray, do you believe in an Higher Power? Me being in your situation, id always think "Why Me?"


A:

Is there any chance that we will see an included guide or email along with our box that can give guidance on storage (refrigerating, lifespan, etc.) of the different fruits and veggies we're getting? Having such a huge box can be tough to get through and I want to make sure that my produce doesn't go bad too quickly. Loving everything else so far, thank you!


Q:

Haha touche :) The views make it all easier.

Maybe when I'm done, I'll just got to my local track and run around it a bunch of times to really test myself.

A:

I used to feel like God chose me to pick on me. I sort of still feel that way a little bit. Everything happens for a reason but I wonder why God chose me to have the brain tumor? Michelle says "One day Gray said, you know what mom? Sometimes, bad things just happen. And not for a reason"


Q:

Holy crap you guys, have you seen the comments on imgur? That place is the sewer of the internet.

A:

Great question! First time customers automatically get our handy refrigeration and storage guide to help navigate this problem. We totally hear you that it can be daunting to have a big box of produce and worry about parts of it going bad before you finish it. Our company is built around the idea of avoiding waste so we want to make sure this is easy for our customers as well. If you did not get your storage guide for some reason we are more than happy to send you another one! Just shoot us a message on Facebook or email general@imperfectproduce.com and we will help you out. Thanks for your kind words and support!


Q:

Do you currently have the longest road, AND are you trying to win?

A:

Hi Gray! You're the man! What's your favorite kind of music to dance to?


Q:

If that's your bar for "sewer of the internet", do yourself a favor and keep that bubble unburst.

Also: Thank you so much for everything you do to improve the accuracy of our public knowledge and perception of cannabis. Over the last year or so, I've really had my eyes opened to what that drug actually is. It's so strange to me now to think about how many people hold completely unfounded beliefs regarding that plant, and I really respect people like you for doing everything you can to see how far this medical goldmine goes.

A:

Do you deliver nationwide?


Q:

Grade A comment right here.

A:

Rock and roll! My favorite song to dance to is "I Love Rock and Roll"

He just sang out the chorus, too


Q:
  1. HA! Bubble shall remain intact, thank you kind bagelmeister!
  2. Thank YOU for being open minded and allowing knowledge to trump stigma! It's only by "coming out on cannabis" that we can truly begin to have progress on this issue!
A:

As of now we deliver to the Bay Area, and are expanding to the LA area in the beginning of 2017! Feel free to pre-sign up on our website to get an email when we expand to your area. imperfectproduce.com !


Q:

How far is an ultramarathon and what is your best time running one?

A:

I can only imagine the pain you've been through. If I could ask what exactly is the kind of brain cancer that you have and are you currently in remission?


Q:

In a perfect world, how do you see cannabinoids being used in the treatment of opiate addiction?

A:

What is your favorite fruit?


Q:

Anything farther than 26.2

You could run 26.2 and then run to Dunkin Donuts and it would be an ultra.

The farthest distance I've gone was 89km at Comrades. I think my best race was Patagonia Ultra (was like 7 hours I think - even after I bummed my ankle). If it had stayed good - it would have been a fantastic race.

A:

From Michelle - he has diffuse fibrillary astrocytoma throughout the brain and spine. He is not in remission, we do the best we can to manage tumor growth and all the effects through chemo and surgeries


Q:

I see cannabis as an exit drug, not a gateway drug! That is, I see it as one tool (of several) that could help people transition away from opioids. By substituting a dangerous, potentially fatal behavior, with one that is far less risky, people may be able to re-engage in their lives. Addiction is often discussed as a disease of disconnected-ness. That is, people are looking for a connection with something, and often the only thing they feel connected to is their drug. Why be connected with something that can kill you? Edit: to be succinct.

A:

I'm a watermelon guy personally. More recently, having moved to the west coast to start Imperfect I got put onto persimmons. I'm a big fan of the Fuyu in particular.


Q:

What was your time at the Comrades 89km?

A:

Hey Gray, I'm a neurosurgery resident currently at our children's hospital and work with kids with brain tumors. What are some things that you and your parents appreciated (or maybe didnt appreciate) from your neurosurgeon? It's an understatement to say what you and your family have been through is challenging, but your attitude is awesome. Keep it up.


Q:

I work in a detox facility for people with a wide range of dependencies including Cannabis. We do not use Benzodiazepines to manage anxiety. At the moment the only medication we have available to support the anxiety we see in Cannabis withdrawal or Opiate withdrawal is Quetiapine. I feel this is lacking something.

Could you point me to any studies or give me any suggestions based on pharmacology as to how we might better support our patients?

A:

Because hachiya persimmons are the astringent asshole of fruit unless you let them ripen to the point of juice?

Japan has this figured out with the dried hachiya persimmons. Those are delicious.


Q:

11:38 ouch.

A:

From Joe, I actually have a classic Gray story. He was beating me pretty bad in Skip Bo one day, I was completely out-strategized. I said "Gray, you know that you are really smart, right?" He responds, "well, I do hang out with a lot of neurosurgeons."


Q:

WOW, I wish I had something less disappointing to say about this, because this is really the reason I got into science in the first place: to help people with substance use disorders. Mindfulness meditation is really gaining traction for a wide variety of psychiatric and biological disorders. This review might be a great place to start: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27111302

A:

Hey friends! Thanks again for the wonderfully thoughtful questions. This was so much fun. I have to run now but would absolutely love to do a follow up session some time. Happy holidays!


Q:

I don't know marathon times but 11 minutes and 38 seconds seems like a pretty good time.

Yes I know that 12 hours sounds bad but you ran like 56 miles. That sounds pretty great.

A:

Morning gray, hope your day is going well. If I may ask, what advice would you give someone who has just been diagnosed with brain cancer?

Also thank you for the ama!


Q:

What is your take on the legalization of the recreational use of cannabis? With so many doctors are even wary of it's medicinal uses still, I'd love to hear the thoughts from a Neuroscientist!

A:

It was okay.

I felt great through about 43 miles. The last 13 miles took like 3 1/2 hours. That was ugly!

I may try to redeem myself this year after Two Oceans, but we'll see :)


Q:

To not worry. That you're in good hands with your family and your doctors. Make sure your family knows that they need to trust what they believe in and not always trust what the doctors say. And your family will always take care of you no matter what you go through

A:

I am all for recreational cannabis for this reason: adult-use laws create a genuinely separate market for medicinal use. These laws completely eliminate the guise of "I need it for my (insert bogus condition here)." In this space, we can tackle medical issues rigorously, head-on, and in the absence of haters. With the law on our side, we can conduct the research and collect the data that will benefit science and medicine at large.


Q:

I started marathons/ultramarathons a few months ago. Completely addicted at this point. I ran my first ultra (38 miles in 5:43:XX) about a month ago, and I have a 50-miler coming up in 2 months.

Do you have a strict training regiment? I found out basically on Day 1 that sticking to a "run x on this day, rest, run y on this day, run z on that day" does NOT work for me. I just run "whatever I feel like" whenever I go out, however this generally works out to 3-4 half marathons during weekdays, and then 1-2 20 milers on the weekend.

That being said, I've only currently run what is basically the shortest possible ultra, and 50 miles is a different beast. How do you go about training for your 100ks, and 12 hours?

A:

Hi Gray! Do you have any weird favourite snacks? I personally like eating anchovies straight from the little jar sometimes, maybe you have something new for me to try :)


Q:

Hay Adie, Thanks for doing this AMA, and for the importaint work you do. From reading your answers, there seem to be many upsides to Cannabinoids. Are there any downsides or dangers?

A:

To be honest, the 12 ultra is gonna be a mind-game because it's just for time (and you have to go as far as you can).

There will be walking and there will be swearing of some sort. This is my first time getting ready for a race like that so we're going to see how it goes. My plan so far has been

1) Make sure my legs are as strong as they can be

2) Make sure I can do the mileage

3) Train my mind as much as possible.

Even when following specific training plans, most ultra guys I know don't run more than 20ish miles for a training run, so when you get into that 30+ territory, you just have to be prepared to meet your mindset .

The 100k will be similar I expect to what I did for Comrades. Lots of long runs. Back to back medium-long runs to get used to tired legs and then lots of recovery (foam rolling, stretching, cold baths).

I've found a long time ago that I'm very good at pushing myself, but much, much worse about recovering. If I spend more time recovering, I tend to be able to be much, much more durable.

Does that make sense?


Q:

My favorite thing right now is cauliflower rice mixed with eggs and bbq spices. Yeaaah

A:

YES, FOR ADOLESCENTS. Research has clearly shown that consistent adolescent use of cannabis (under 21 yrs of age) is strongly associated with cognitive deficits as an adult. The human brain does not finish developing until approximately 21 years of age, and intervening with its normal development is usually not worth the short-term benefits of cannabis.

Three scholarly articles come to mind: An evidence based review of acute and long-term effects of cannabis use on executive cognitive functions. Effects of cannabis on the adolescent brain. Considering Cannabis: The Effects of Regular Cannabis Use on Neurocognition in Adolescents and Young Adults.


Q:

It does, thank you for your well-written reply. I'm brand new to the sport and your resume looks pretty damn impressive. Something for me to strive for.

A:

Hi Gray, it will be interesting to read your responses! After living with this for many years, what would you say are some of the most common misconceptions and/or preconceived notions that you face regarding your situation?

Also, what are your favorite movies? Take care!


Q:

I use CBD oil to reduce inflammation from my JRA (didn't feel so juvenile before the CBD) and I feel so liberated! I can make a complete fist again and I feel like I have my 25 y/o body back! When I heard that CBD is going to be Schedule 1 I was devastated and wanted to kick a lead ingot. Reading about the side effects caused by "real" RA meds scare me half to death and I'm nowhere near desperate enough to take them. Why is it that the DEA like to keep barbed sticks up their asses?

A:

I'm working on getting faster - so far, I'm just pretty good at suffering :)


Q:

People think that I'm fine sometimes. "Oh, he's fine, he's not chronically sick." I just want to be heard and my story be heard. Michelle says "I think people think you get cancer and they take it out, you get treatments, and it's done. But it's not like that, he's been in and out of treatment for 10 years. Some cancers are too dangerous to remove"

EDIT: To add movies, mom said Chicken Run used to be a favorite. But Gray said emphatically that it is no longer the case. He said "I love Zootopia and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer"

A:

Dang, what I wouldn't give to know why the DEA insists upon this wretched self-sodomy. I too, was devastated by their recent decision, which, fortunately, seems to be totally illegal and a gross over-stepping of their duties. We'll see what happens there. I'm SO happy to hear that you've found a way to get some relief. I have a close friend with JRA, I truly know your pain, I've had hour upon hour of conversation about this. Thanks for sharing!


Q:

What do you think of Seven Costanza?

A:

What are your opinions on medical cannabis and what is holding you back from CBD trials?


Q:

What exactly does "how cannabis interacts with opioids" mean? From a physiological POV?

Having been a heavy pot smoker most of my life.. and having a few years where I was an opiate addict, I've mixed the two more than I'd care to admit..

A:

had to google this :-/


Q:

From mom, we actually tried it like five years ago. Had to get him a card. We didn't try it as a treatment, we tried it for anti-anxiety and neuro calming effect. At that point, they didn't have all the blends so the amount they were giving was so much that he would be knocked out. That prevents us from being able to maintain accurate neuro status and that's very important

A:

Yes, from a physiological standpoint.

In my career, I have studied the acute effects of combined cannabinoid/opioid administration (for pain relief). I have also looked at how chronic cannabinoid exposure effects opioid pain relief, and opioid tolerance (the loss of effectiveness with repeated use). I have also studied how chronic opioid exposure effects cannabinoid pain relief.

My ongoing and future studies are to examine the cellular and molecular mechanisms behind enhanced pain relief and reduced opioid tolerance, as well as the addictive potential (or lack there of) of combined opioid/cannabinoid administration.


Q:

Hats off firstly! I did my first ultra last year and I couldn't sleep properly for days my body was so fucked- do you have similar issues?

A:

Hello Grey! I'm 31 and I have cervical cancer, gone through two rounds of chemo, 5 surgeries, and hoping to get on a clinical trial since it spread to my lungs. I too, am often asked how I'm so positive. I tell them the alternative is depressing. I can't think about how horrible everything could become. I'd just be a sad depressed person. I too get very anxious with treatments and tests. I'm always thinking "is this where I find out there is nothing else we can do?" My mom gets anxious as well. So far I have a way forward and I focus on that as a positive. Keep up you sprints and enjoy Christmas crafts! I do crafty things to keep my mind busy too :-)


Q:

Considering the attention given to THC, how much of your research focuses on cannabidiol? Has it been shown to be more or less useful than the psychoactive cannabinoids for things like pain management?

A:

No!

I usually fall asleep for 12 hours when I'm done :). How far was your race?


Q:

If you're not positive, negative things are going to happen. You get what you put out. Think positive and positive things happen. Good luck to you! EDIT: From Michelle, there was a pivotal point in which I decided that we were going to live, we were not going to let his treatments take over and stop us from living. You have to live your life. Why fight for it if you're not going to actually live for it?

A:

CBD does not seem to provide as much pain relief as THC or other CB1 receptor agonists. The reason is that CBD does not directly activate the CB1 receptor. My work and others has shown that CB1 activation in the part of your brain that is the headquarters for pain control (the periaqueductal gray) shuts off pain for the whole body. CBD seems to have some anti-inflammatory effects, probably mediated by the immune system, so this may be a different mechanism for pain relief. My personal research does not involve CBD, but I follow this VERY closely!


Q:

100k, from london to brighton. i had weird trippy dreams the first 2 nights- night one i was up peeing like every 30 minutes. it felt like all of the ~18 litres or so i drank came back out in one go

A:

Hey Gray,

Watched your video, thanks for being pretty awesome and having way better dance moves than me!

Besides the dancing, how do you like to spend your free time? Any favorite movies or books or hobbies you have?


Q:
  1. Wow, good for you! You are a true inspiration.

  2. My mother and I argue constantly about the uses of marijuana and she claims that "even if it could cure cancer", she would be against it (which I HIGHly doubt). What are some solid researches/studies I could show her to prove that it is more than just a recreational habit, and some to prove that marijuana in fact does not kill all of our brain cells?

A:

I do have super-weird dreams post-race. It's like my mind is trying to process WTF it just did.


Q:

Doing arts and crafts. I like to do all arts and crafts.

EDIT: From Joe, his Pinterest username is "michelleandgray" He loves Pinterest!

A:

Unfortunately, overcoming stigma like this is going to be a generation-long process. In my experience, this stigma is harder to overcome by showing someone solid data, and the shift really happens when there is an emotional appeal. Lots of videos on Youtube of kids' seizures stopping after an oral tincture, or parkinson's patients having normal conversations after a j. If you REALLY want a list of solid studies, there are literally thousands of them, too many to link here!


Q:

Why add the marathons to the charity ? Why not raise money, and then run the ultras just because?

A:

Yo Cap, what's the best hospital food you have ever had? Way to keep battling bud! You are tougher than I.


Q:

I'm about 6 months clean from a crippling opioid addiction. I've used, and continue to use, kratom in my battle. I still smoke cannabis from time to time, but only in very small amounts. I've had more than one cannabis-induced panic attack since quitting opioids. My anxiety is still severe, even after 6 months. Have you done any research on kratom (Mitragyna Speciosa)?

I've found that the two go very nicely with each other. Since kratom doesn't cause respiratory depression, much like cannabis, there's no real danger in ODing. Kratom has literally saved my life, and if you haven't done any research on it, I would strongly recommend that you do. For me, it also does a better job than cannabis at attenuating alcohol consumption.

I'd be more than willing to answer any questions you may have to the best of my ability. Thank you for doing this AMA!

A:

I find it's easier to raise money and ask other people to donate & sacrifice when I'm leading by example in that regard.


Q:

Grilled Cheese!

EDIT: Like, their grilled cheese's are the real deal. If I had two places to choose to get grilled cheese, it would be In N Out or the hospital

A:

Thanks for the guidance, I think you're really onto something, I will definitely look into this! As far as the anxiety goes, the side effects that cannabis can have on cardiac activity could definitely contribute to that: your mood and your heart rate are very closely related. That's why beta blockers are so good as anti-anxiety meds: they directly reduce heart rate and "trick" your brain into thinking everything is chill.


Q:

would you rather get a wedgie or a swirly and why?

A:

Favourite video game?


Q:

Hello Adie

Super interesting research you're doing! What kind of results have have you made toward how cannabis effects chronic pain?

Also where do you see the future of your field going?

Cheers from Denmark.

A:

I'd rather run 62 miles in antarctica :)


Q:

Sly 3

A:

Thanks for the interest!

Cannabis has huge potential in the treatment of chronic pain. The most commonly prescribed pain relievers are opioids, which have very nasty side effects (cue apocalyptic epidemic). When chronic pain patients are given access to cannabis, they drop their opioid use by about half. There is also some recent data that suggests cannabis actually improves cognitive function in these people, probably because they are lowering their opioid usage. The most common reason people seek out medicinal cannabis is for pain relief, and it appears to be very beneficial, because the US states with medical cannabis have 25% fewer opioid overdoses... this is HUGE.

Let me know if you want links to scholarly articles :)


Q:

Hey brother Gray, what's your favorite baseball team?

A:

Thank you for you work, first and foremost. I use cannabis for pain management. I was injured in the military and have chronic low back pain, for which I was prescribed many things, starting with ibuprofen 200mg-800mg, Lortab, Vicodin, and Methadone, among others. The side effects of the prescription meds were awful, such as bleeding ulcers, constipation, hemorrhoids, cramping, etc.

I tried cannabis for the first time at age 31, and it has been a life-saver. I don't understand why, but the cannabis does not exactly eliminate the pain, but rather causes me to not really be concerned with it. Can you explain why/how (aside from the high feeling) that cannabis has this effect on pain?


Q:

Dodgers! I have friends that play on a little league Dodgers team so that's why

A:

First of all, thank you for your service and sacrifice. What you are describing, in terms of your ability to cope with pain, is the same thing that we observe with cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness meditation for pain. I can't, based on data, explain why this phenomenon occurs, but I think what you are describing has serious clinical usefulness!


Q:

Do you get tired of people focusing on cancer as a defining quality of you? I mean, would you rather people talk about something else more often with you?

A:

Damm I wasn't aware it was that significant. That sounds super promising! I really interested in what future research will bring.

I'd love some articles! I'm not involved in any medical/neuroscientific studies or research, I'm just a philosophy student who find neuroscience really fascinating. That said, I'll read whatever you'll recommend!


Q:

I half think people just associate me with cancer. But mostly I think people think I'm a normal kid and look like a normal kid. Part of it is because I don't have the typical signs like losing my hair and stuff. It's feels bad when people give me a weird look like they're scared of me when they find out I have cancer. Sometimes my doctors focus on the bad even though I know they are just doing their job and trying to make me better. Sometimes I don't like being at the hospital because of the negativity. Sometimes I feel poisoned with negativity. Outside of the hospital I feel like I can breathe. The negativity is like smog and I'm breathing in the smog. It feels nice and good not to have negative thoughts

A:

A colleague in my department used to do clinical pain research in Isreal, where cannabis medicine is booming: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=haroutounian+cannabis

Same result, this time out of Harvard: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27790138


Q:

Ayo Captain Gray!

If you won a million dollars what would you do with it?

A:

Oh this is great thanks!

I'm curious as to what methods you use, when you're doing research?

Also are there other areas of neuroscience that you find interesting or have made fascinating advances?


Q:

Donate all to brain tumor research. To find cures for brain tumors

A:

I am in fundamental (I hate the word "basic") research. I use animal models, and brain tissue from animals. We observe how animals react to drug treatments, and as an electrophysiologist, I record the electrical activity of brain cells when I wash drugs onto the tissue. COOL, HUH? Some overachieving redditor may dig up my Instagram, where I posted a short video explaining electrophysiology.


Q:

Hi Captain Gray! Do you play any kind of video games? PC, Console, or mobile, it doesn't matter. If so, what kind of games are you inclined to? First person shooters? Or Racing games? or Role-playing games?

A:

Have you smoked it yourself... Since you know.. You study it?


Q:

Super Mario Bros for the Nintendo DS. I play food games on my iPad. Cake Mania is one

A:

Answered earlier; yes, but not in a way that would endanger my career.


Q:

Hey Gray, I see you've chosen to rock a double bracelet and middle finger ring, which I dig. What is the story behind the ring? What other pieces do you have in your collection?

A:

Hi, I'm a 45yr old male stuck in a wheelchair, I have C.M.T. and E.D.S. and I suffer from lots of chronic pain, plus depression. For pain I take 2 Tylenol 3s 4 times daily and 1MG of Nabilone twice daily. I don't think my doctor really approves of either, I had to fight a bit to get anything. I don't smoke pot or drink alcohol. I don't think these meds are working very well any more. Do you know of any other options? Or is that it for me?


Q:

That's my bling. The bracelets remind me of a special moment or special person. The ring I made out of a milk carton cap. Every pirate has rings so I have to have a ring

A:

Honestly, it sounds like you need a more compassionate doctor. You need someone who is supportive of your health and your personal goals. That's where I'd start if I were in your wheels. Best of luck <3


Q:

Have you ever heard of depersonalization/derealization?

Smoked for the first time around 8 years ago and have never been the same since

A:

I have heard of this, and I suspect that some people may experience this based upon the unique properties of their own endogenous cannabinoid system. Mysteries abound, people...


Q:

Do you use cannabis yourself?

A:

I currently live in the state of Missouri, which does not yet have any legal uses for cannabis. In other legal contexts/states, when I did not have anything at stake (for instance, a DEA license for conducting research), I was known to partake. It would be a bit hypocritical for me to lack a first-person perspective!


Q:

I think missouri will be one of the last states to make weed legal.

A:

Not if I have anything to do with it! I was just at the state capitol yesterday, meeting with Republican law makers on the verbiage for the new medical cannabis bill. Headed back in a few weeks once the new legislative session is underway.


Q:

Does recreational use ever become physically harmful at a point? Basically, how often is too often?

A:

I'll refer you to the DSM-5 for the criteria on cannabis use disorder. If those items start to creep into your life (and granted, I'm no recovery professional) it's probably time to chill. Yes, cannabis can definitely become harmful, but probably not in the way you're thinking: more likely in the psycho-social realm than the biological health/longevity realm. Edit: disclaimer.


Q:

I recently had knee surgery done and was prescribed Norco for pain. I felt side effects from it that may have been purely in my brain (fever dreams, lethargy, and a few other things), so I stopped using it. My knee still aches during the day and it's still difficult to get a good nights sleep. Since marijuana is pretty much legal here in California now, I was thinking about it as an alternative to popping Advil all the time. My question is this: Aside from trial and error, is there a way to find the right amount and the right type of marijuana to help with the pain and/or help me sleep at night?

A:

aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh! I wish there was a better way than trial and error! This is my life's mission, you shouldn't have to be your own guinea pig, health care professionals SHOULD be able to answer this question for you! Edit: to be concise


Q:

Can you explain why smoking weed makes the effects of alcohol so much stronger in some people, but not at all in others? (Not sure if your expertise covers this)

A:

Differences in endogenous cannabinoid functionality. Your brain cells are studded with proteins that are the site of activation for cannabis (CB1 and CB2 receptors). Your brain also produces its own endogenous cannabinoid agonists (anandamide and 2AG). The natural variability in this system is most likely reason for differences between people when it comes to cannabis consumption.


Q:

What do you think about Pharmaceutical corperations in general? They hold alot of lobbying power in government. And seem to only care about profits rather than opioid addiction (big problem here in Portland OR metro area).

Bonus question what's the percentage of success if someone with a GED asked someone with a PhD out on a date? (this is a purely hypothetical question by the way, just random)

A:

We need big pharma, they are a necessary evil. There are a lot of VERY effective, life-saving medicines out there that would not exist if it weren't for them. I agree that their motives are not always the best, but one of the great things about cannabis is it's existence in the public, rather than patented sphere. If they want to develop more cannabis-based medicines, I say bring it on! WE NEED HALP. Bonus answer: hypothetically, if the PhD had a spouse, as evidenced by AMA proof (wedding ring) then the statistical probability of a date would be around 0.001%.


Q:

There have been many cases where cannabis has been used to ease chronic pain, as well as instances where using it to treat disease has cured the malady. Now, I understand why more research isn't being done (no money in the cure, only in treatment) but coming from a researchers point of view why aren't more studies being done especially on the benefits?

A:

Most scientific research in the US is funded by the NIH, which is a federal institution. The federal government does not recognize any medicinal benefits of cannabis, because of its status as a Schedule I controlled substance. There is currently no federal funding mechanism to study the medicinal benefits of cannabis. Huge catch 22: we don't have data because it's illegal, and it's illegal because we don't have data to show its safety and efficacy.


Q:

I am currently suffering from myeloma and a resultant complete collapse of 4 discs I'm my back. I have been on oxycontin continually for almost 3 yrs. I hadn't smoked weed since the 70's, but I found a dealer, and have been smoking weed daily for the last 6 months. It seems like it helps me in numerous ways, the best being that it seems to help neuropathy. My pain doc doesn't know, but I doubt he would have an issue. My question is does this seem like a sustainable regime? I never feel any desire to take more opioids than prescribed. How safe am I on OxyContin in the long term?

A:

Thanks for sharing your experience! Long-term opioid therapy is NOT sustainable. Anything you can do to maximize your quality of life, and minimize your opioid exposure is probably going to be beneficial. Talk with your doctor. Edit: to be concise.


Q:

any interest or previous experience with psylocin and its serotoninergic properties? opinions on ssris, snris, or maois?

A:

I can say that CBD is a partial agonist at one of the serotonin receptors. Probably not the answer that you're looking for, but that's about all I got!


Q:

Do you live pretty comfortable with your PhD in neuroscience? I have gave some thought about going into virology/immunology/neuroscience/biochemistry and would like to know about your life. Financially, socially, work-wise, what are the good and bad things that comes along with being a scientist?

Thanks

A:

I can only speak about academic neuroscience research (working within the University system), which is incredibly rewarding… and frustrating, and difficult.

The biggest thing you need in order to succeed is a proactive approach to your education/career. I have found that the most successful people treat their science as their own small business: you are in charge of your own success, no one is going to remind you when your deadlines are, or push you as much as you need to push yourself. Some people don’t do well under these circumstances.

Graduate school consists of many, many long days of straining your brain. There are a lot of sacrifices: you might miss your own birthday because you’re in the middle of an experiment (true story).

As a post-doc, you will still be working hard, and all of your friends who don’t work in science will probably make way more money than you. The payoff is huge though: you don’t punch a time clock. You get to decide what you work on, and you often come to work without feeling like it’s actually work: you just enjoy it. The schedule is flexible, and you get to travel a lot to present your work at conferences (if you/your boss has money anyway… money is always an issue).

These things are also true when you become a P.I. (Principle Investigator/professor). At this point you somewhat become a slave to the NIH, and the stress of writing grants and maintaining funding (so you don’t have to fire everyone when you run out of money) is pretty intense.

At some point in this process, a lot of people realize that the stress is not worth the autonomy, and they choose a different path: there are a lot of careers out there that you can use a neuro PhD for, without having to constantly write grants and deal with the super slow/frustrating academic bureaucracy.

If you pour a TON of effort and practice into the thing that you are both good at, and interested in, you are very likely to be happy. Good luck.