If you had to describe the weed smoking experience, it’s unlikely that ‘performance enhancing’ would be the first thing that’d come to mind.
Sure, people have come up with some interesting theories about the universe while high, but going for a run probably wouldn’t be high on any stoner’s list – not when they could be lounging around and working their way through a bag of Doritos instead.
And given that certain athletes who have tested positive for cannabis (we’re looking at you Nick Diaz), frequently claim that the drug being outlawed in sports is pointless because it doesn’t actually enhance their performance, the concept of weed as a PED seems pretty out there.
Even so, an increasing number of athletes have credited marijuana use for increased performance and aiding recovery.
The World Anti-Doping Association (WADA) bans cannabis use during competition, citing studies which claim the drug decreases anxiety, which could help athletes remain calm under pressure, and that it increases airflow to the lungs.
So, Gordy Megroz of Outside recently decided to put this to the test and conducted his own study to find out whether smoking pot could actually make you a better athlete.
Okay, so the answer overall to that is probably no, no matter how much we’d like to see Eddie Izzard’s idea of a Stoned Olympics become a reality.
However, Megroz was pretty surprised to discover that after smoking weed, he actually performed better than usual on the treadmill and his muscles were less sore after a heavy squat session, so maybe there is something to this.
I do a heavy squat session while high, which would normally leave me sore for two days, but I’m surprisingly fresh 24 hours later. Even when not stoned, other aches and pains seem to dissipate, too.
Studies have shown that the drug has an anti-inflammatory effect, which is one reason why medical marijuana is so prevalent.
This revelation will likely come as a shock to many, but Gordy believes that weed being a PED isn’t actually all that surprising when you look at the science behind it.
When we run, our bodies actually produce endocannabinoids, a naturally occurring form of THC which, along with endorphins, are responsible for the runner’s high that athletes enjoy. Smoking pot simply puts you in that state before your body begins generating the chemical.
So, there you go. Maybe there is a good reason why marijuana is banned in competition. The more you know…