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Marijuna – Performance-Enhancing?


Marijuna – Performance-Enhancing?

If you were a cross-country skier vying for the gold medal at the Sochi Olympic Games in front of an international audience of millions, would you hit a bowl, you know, like an hour before competing?

Probably not. But if you have counted on misinformation from the media to provide you with all the knowledge you have about the drug, then maybe you’re afraid toking would enhance your performance, and your impending win just wouldn’t be fair.

Marijuana is listed as a banned drug by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which rules events like the Olympics. Officials consider marijuana to be a performance-enhancing drug and a violation of the “spirit of the sport.” However, WADA changed the threshold for THC testing last May from 15 nanograms per milliliter of urine to 150 ng/mls. WADA says that anyone who fails the new test would have to be a “pretty dedicated cannabis consumer.” So, they’re still testing, but they’ve increased their restricted limit.

Still, according to WADA Board members, the organization still believes that marijuana can be a performance-enhancing stimulant. This belief alone is a controversial one that has incited plenty of debate. We can’t really imagine smoking weed before any athletic event, ever. In fact, we think it would probably do the opposite of enhance speed or technique, and athletes under the influence would maybe rather just eat a sandwich and think about the Universe. But what do we know?

In response to such arguments, WADA would say that using cannabis can reduce stress, speed recovery, and provide other advantages – so toking right before an event may not be helpful, but marijuana use in general could be. We’re glad they’re admitting that! But a number of natural herbs and vitamins can also reduce stress and speed recovery, and we’re pretty sure those wouldn’t appear on the banned substances list. So…again, logic doesn’t seem to be a ruling factor here.

WADA’s final concern about marijuana is that it violates the spirit of the sport. Subjectivity at its finest.

So what happens if an athlete does test positive for marijuana use? A four-year ban from competing, which was recently increased from two years. All samples are held for ten years, up from eight years, which means they can be re-tested as new detection procedures are developed. Ew.

So that’s that – marijuana and the Olympics. Never a dull moment!


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