Photo By: Rick Kuehn
Athletes by nature, are highly competitive and this is what pushes them past the normal human limits and into greatness. From time to time this desire to be the best can cause a person to make some rather unwise choices and this can lead to some unsportsmanlike behavior.
Now in full disclosure, I’m not an athlete. I am however a chef and am not only on my feet for 12 hours at a time, I’m doing math, focusing on the plate, and making sure that the line cook doesn’t try to stab me. While it might not be a “sport”, it does take a level of endurance that most people don’t have. In regard to using cannabis, yes, it very much is a performance enhancing drug. In the right amount.
It makes me a hypocrite since I don’t normally let my staff get stoned on the job and yet I need to in order to stay focused.
So if I were to enter a high stakes competition, would getting high give me an edge? Yeah, I’m pretty sure that it would. You tend to make a lot of stupid mistakes when you’re stressed. I’m also pretty sure I would get kicked off the set within the first few hours.
But what about placebos? With the right PR and marketing, you can give someone a sugar pill and see results.
When races and records come down to a tenth of a second, every factor makes a huge difference. So where and how do we draw the line?
The first thing we need to understand is that not all drugs are “bad” and in fact, in the right amounts they can be very useful. At what point is a “dietary supplement” suddenly a “sports enhancing drug?” When does it give the Athlete an unfair advantage?
Human beings are built differently and this is why there is no one size fits all pill or diet that turns people into airbrushed idols. There are too many factors to take into account for there to ever really being an evenly matched race. Look at Michael Phelps, the guy’s body is designed to swim. Regardless of how much grass he smokes or not, the guy is built to be great at the sport. Would he be a great sprinter or boxer? Maybe not.
The idea that you can ever evenly match two people is a joke when you think about it. Often times the physical takes a back seat to the mental and the winner of the race is the person who is the most focused. If you really want to test for an enhancement drug, look at Beta blockers, nifty little pills that work wonders for anxiety. They are perfect for helping an athlete focus on the task at hand and ignore the screams of the spectators and the glares from his competition.
So yes, cannabis is most certainly a drug that can, in the right amounts, be used to help Athletes achieve. By no means is cannabis a cure all though, you still have train, you still have to sleep, you still have to perform.
It comes down to a moral issue and most people are smart enough to know when they are doing something shady. There’s a big difference between smoking a bowl before your run and blood doping and I think that most people with any sense can see this. Whatever you’re into, don’t waste your time, get outside with friends and enjoy being active this summer.