In years past, marijuana would disqualify world class athletes from participating in global sporting events. However, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) made recent changes and increased the legal limit of THC by nearly 10 times the original amount. Athletes will now only be disqualified if they have 150 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood.
However, it’s noted that participants are also prohibited from using cannabis immediately before or during competition. Cannabis is still controversial, and it remains on the banned substance list of WADA. However, the rules are more relaxed than what they were in the past.
Does Marijuana Enhance Sports Performance?
The truth is that additional research is needed in order to determine the benefits of cannabis on athletic performance. However, numerous professional athletes have expressed what they believe is beneficial to the way that they perform during game time. One of those benefits is the increased ability to focus and enhanced creative thinking.
Furthermore, an elite triathlete from Colorado claims that smoking weed helps him to get into a “controlled and meditational“ place. This allows him to focus on form and be in complete control over his body and movements.
A government study has also shown that cannabis can increase airflow to the lungs by acting as a bronchodilator. This can be especially beneficial to endurance athletes who consume large amounts of oxygen as they perform, although it’s important that they are able to maintain sound judgement in terms of speed—whether they are running or riding a bike.
A Real Runner’s High
Interestingly enough, your body produces its own version of cannabis post workout—and you don’t have to be a world class athlete to experience its effects. A recent study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that a runner’s high and cannabis are actually linked. The body creates a class of chemicals known as endocannabinoids, which is related to the active ingredient in marijuana.
The runner’s high is described as a sense of well-being and euphoria. It lifts your mood, decreases the symptoms of anxiety and depression, and even reduces pain—which are some of the benefits of using cannabis.
Should Athletes Be Banned from Using Marijuana?
There is still a lot of research that needs to be conducted in order to determine weed’s effects on sports performance. However, as of now, cannabis doesn’t appear to be a performance-enhancing drug—although it can certainly put athletes in a relaxed mood for game time.
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