Ask a Stoner... ...continued from page 19
So what’s the verdict? Does weed inhibit performance by reducing athletes’ motor skills? Or is there ample research demonstrating weed enhances performance enough to give them an edge? The jury’s still out on that one, though some experts say the ques - tion itself may be unfair. Dr. Kevin Boehnke, a pain specialist from the University of Michigan, says that even if cannabis aids with sleep, anxiety, and recovery as some research suggests, “other allowed pain relievers or anxiolytic agents are not considered performance-enhanc- ing, so disallowing cannabis on that basis is irrational.” What we do know for sure is that weed-smoking athletes are not uncommon. The same Sports Medicine researchers conducted a me - ta-analysis of 46,000 athletes and found that 23% of them used weed in the past year. Whether it’s to boost their performance, reduce anxiety, increase focus, or simply make working out more fun, athletes smoke weed, too. So before we crush any more Olympic dreams, maybe it’s time for some comprehensive research on how weed affects performance. Meghan Thompson is a reporter based out of Rockville, Maryland who covers the cannabis industry and its intersection with politics, criminal justice reform, and economic opportunity. Following her graduation from the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the Uni - versity of Maryland in 2020, Meghan was a budtender at a dispen - sary in Towson for a year and moved on to become an editor for the National Institute for Cannabis Investors. This article first appeared in The Outlaw Report in May 2022, and is reprinted here with the publisher’s permission. https://outlawre - port.com/
bronchitis and lung infections. For that reason, budtenders recommend athletes use edibles or at least a vaporizer as their primary consumption method. Vaping still isn’t good for your lungs, but some research shows it may be less harmful than smoking — largely because vaping products seem to con- tain fewer toxins than traditional cigarette tobacco. For the time being, that’s pretty much the only thing we’re sure of when it comes to weed and athletic performance. In 2021, Canadian scientists published a review of all existing research on cannabis and athleticism to date and found each study came to one of three conclu- sions: weed worsens athletic performance, it doesn’t affect it at all, or the results were inconclusive. Still, that hasn’t stopped many of the world’s most prominent ath - letic organizations from taking a hard stance against bud. The sports world famously collided with stoner culture in 2021 when American sprinter Sha’carri Richardson was suspended from the Olympics for a positive cannabis test during U.S. trials for the 100-meter dash. Weeks earlier, Richardson had set a new personal record of 10.72 seconds for that distance, becoming the sixth-fastest woman of all time The World Anti-Doping Administration lists three reasons on its website for placing weed on its list of banned substances: athletes who use weed could endanger themselves with reduced motor skills; ani- mal studies suggest weed could be performance-enhancing; and using weed is not “consistent with the athlete as a role model for young peo- ple around the world.”
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