Was Cannabis The Secret To Arnold Schwarzenegger's Bodybuilding Success?

Arnold Schwarzenegger -- who turns 69 today -- rose to fame in the 1970s when he won back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back Mr. Olympia competitions from 1970-1975. And he might have succeeded thanks to marijuana. The Terminator (1984) star and former California governor enjoyed having a puff during his bodybuilding days, according to Tommy Chong.

"I would work out with Arnold Schwarzenegger when he first came over to America," Chong told Rolling Stone in 2015. "When he was the golden boy of bodybuilding, and he was probably one of the healthiest guys on the planet. If someone offered him soda, he'd spit it out rather than drink it, but he would smoke a joint because he knew it was healthy."

The idea of Schwarzenegger sitting in Chong's smoking circle sounds too bizarre to be true. But Arnold confirmed the story when asked about it by the paparazzi in 2008.

Schwarznegger was also filmed puffing away on a joint in the 1977 docudrama Pumping Iron, which offered a fictionalized account of Schwarzenegger preparing to defend his Mr. Olympia title against Lou Ferrigno -- TV's Incredible Hulk -- and other bodybuilders. Schwarzenegger claims that much of the material in the movie, including his characterization as a cocky champ, was exaggerated to interest audiences. But he says the joint was real.

"I did smoke a joint and I did inhale," Schwarzenegger told CBS in 2002 to promote the film's 25th anniversary. "The bottom line is that's what it was in the '70s, that's what I did. I have never touched it since."

You can watch Arnold smoke up and sing "Happy Birthday" to Ferrigno in this clip.

Banner image: Gage Skidmore / Flickr.com 

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With northern California's renowned cannabis festival, the Emerald Cup coming up next month, we're reflecting on all the fun we had last year with cannabis influencer Elise McRoberts interviewing Herbie Herbert, a former Santana roadie and manger for Journey, as well as Steve Parish, who managed the Jerry Garcia Band and went on the road with the Grateful Dead. Back int he day, bands touring the world had to smuggle their cannabis into Europe and other foreign countries. Traveling with equipment and other gear, roadies would have to find secret places to hide the stash.

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