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Ross Rebagliati gold

Can Cannabis have a Negative Effect on Your Athletic Ability?

One of the more common misunderstandings surrounding marijuana is that it helps calm you down, thus improving your ability to on the sports field. The truth is, however, that the short term effects of pot can seriously hinder your ability to execute the basic skills needed to gain the upper hand over your opponents.

Smashing a joint before an amateur soccer game may well calm your nerves leading up to kick-off; however, being classed as a depressant, it hinders the ability of the central nervous system by slowing down the electrical signals travelling between the brain and the body. So what does this mean for your performance? You pre-game joint will negatively impact on your reaction time, impair your coordination and may well encumber your ability to think on the fly leading to a poor all round performance.

It’s also worth mentioning that if your coaches teammates find out you’ve been sneaking the odd join before a game they may well have some choice words for you; especially if it’s affecting your performance on the field. It also goes without saying that you should be avoiding illegal substances if you’re competing in a league or competition that carries out drug tests on athletes.

With that being said, smoking a day or two before a big event shouldn’t have too much of an effect on your ability to perform.

One of the more famous cases involves Canadian snowboarder Ross Rebagliati who won gold in the men’s giant slalom snowboarding event at the 1998 Winter Olympics. Following tests conducted after his win he was found to have THC in his system following a blood test. He had allegedly smoked with a few friends in the two days leading up to the event, although he claimed the test results were as a result of second hand smoke. His medal was subsequently given back because THC was not on the IOC’s list of banned substances at the time.

Even with THC in his system, Rebagliati still managed to perform on biggest stage beating some of the world’s most elite athletes to an Olympic gold medal.

So does cannabis negatively impact your ability to perform on the sports field? If you’re going to be smoking in the hours leading up to a game; you may definitely find that it hinders your ability to perform. Hitting a joint a day or two before an event, however, shouldn’t really lead to any issues.

Article by Jason Dewey

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