How Bee-Nails CEO and founder Ali Abouzalam learned to use cannabis to become a better MMA fighter, business owner and human being
I love cannabis. From the moment I hit my first blunt in high school and entered into a euphoric state that had me laughing myself into tears, to the last dab I recently took from my company’s full e-nail kit, I’ve been all in.
My personal love became a professional passion when I founded Bee-Nails in 2015. As an employee in the corporate world, my cannabis consumption was restricted to off hours, but when I entered the cannabis industry as a business owner, that all changed.
I use cannabis to provide a sense of relief or life enhancement. Smoking or vaping relieves my anxiety, stress, hangovers, body pains and has helped me sleep better. I also use it to enhance my life in certain situations like taking a rip off my dab vape pen before watching a funny movie or eating a delicious meal.
In my first few years growing Bee-Nails, I would smoke just to smoke, because it was so accessible, new and exciting. Having a portable vape pen made it all too easy to vaporize concentrates at any time, and sometimes for no apparent reason. For a long time I told myself that because my job was to market electric dab nails and dab pens for sale, that it was ok for me to stay high all day! I mean most people in the industry did it too, so why not?!
It wasn’t until I started seriously training MMA to compete in my debut mma fight that I realized getting and staying high all day actually kept me from operating at my highest potential.
CANNABIS & MMA
As a high school and part-time college wrestler with some BJJ experience, I entered the MMA world at Trials MMA in Fort Collins, CO with a solid grappling background. I knew that the Jiu Jitsu community was very accepting of cannabis consumers so I figured it would be cool to come high to BJJ classes.
I quickly realized that when I came in high, my brain and memory seemed a bit slower when we were learning new moves. I started to only enjoy coming in high for open mat practices with no instruction and just rolling.
I still kept my wax dab pen in my car because some days I would think maybe just a tiny bit before would help, but it didn’t. Once I started training kickboxing and putting it all together with MMA, it became clear that smoking before training was never a good idea. I would eat more punches and kicks coming in high, so my wax vape pen was relegated to an after-practice device only.
I still love getting high before lifting weights or running, but when it comes to fast-paced martial arts, it just doesn’t work for me. One beautiful thing about cannabis is that it affects everyone differently, so it could work for some people to rip that oil vape pen pre-practice—I now know I am not one of those people.
Being an Entrepreneur and MMA Fighter
As a business owner and leader, I have a responsibility to my team, my customers and myself, and ripping my e-nail dab rig or even any of our portable dab rigs before work keeps me from BEEing my best! However, it’s almost a necessity after work—it helps calm my mind and gets me ready for bed so I can bee my best the next day.
As an MMA fighter, I have a responsibility to be the best martial artist and teammate I can be. Training high is not a good habit to get into because you won’t be high in competition. I know I would not have won my debut MMA fight in the first round if I had packed my electric dab rig in my gym bag that night! However, it can be amazing after training for recovery and to relieve anxiety.
All in all, I love cannabis and think everybody should try it, and experiment with when it works best for you. If you’re committed to using it intentionally, there are no limits to the ways in which it can help you “bee your best.”