When you think of performance enhancing drugs, marijuana definitely isn't the first thing that comes to mind. Still, wax weed and marijuana is included on the list of banned substances on international anti-doping regulations and is prohibited by most professional sporting leagues. That leads many people to wonder if smoking wax or using a marijuana vaporizer is really capable of enhancing athletic performance.
While studies into the benefits of using a vaporizer for marijuana or smoking weed for athletes are scarce, what we do know how the active compounds in cannabis affect the brain, which suggest that a weed vaporizer could have some potential benefits and drawbacks for athletes.
The Benefits of Marijuana for Athletes
Some of the possible benefits of marijuana use include:
- Less Anxiety. While sports are predominantly physical, there is a mental component to athletic performance. Marijuana has been proven to alleviate anxiety, which could benefit athletes by decreasing the risk of "choking" or failing to perform due to nervousness about losing.
- Increased Endurance. The feeling of euphoria from using cannabis in a portable vaporizer or by smoking it can help keep athletes going strong for longer periods of time. Many marathon runners claim that using marijuana is a way to get a runner's high, a rush of adrenaline that makes it possible to keep going even when the body gets tired.
- Improved Confidence. Numerous studies have found that marijuana increases a person's self-confidence. In many sports, how you carry yourself can give you or your opponent an edge. Players who use cannabis and appear confident as a result may psych out their opponents.
- Pain Reduction. It is well established that marijuana is effective at alleviating pain, so using a vaporizer weed pen or portable vape could help athletes who are recovering from injuries or suffering from post-exercise soreness perform better.
- Support for Muscle Growth. Marijuana stimulates the appetite, which can help people eat more. Increasing one's calorie intake is necessary for developing muscle mass, which in turn can improve a person's athletic performance.
- Respiratory and Cardiovascular Effects. While there are no major studies to verify this hypothesis, some scientists believe that using marijuana could increase oxygen levels in the extremities and combat fatigue. This is because cannabis is known to increase heart rate while slowing breathing rates.
- Gains in Speed. A small study found that athletes who used marijuana were able to run faster than athletes who didn't. This could be because of the respiratory and cardiovascular effects described above.
The Drawbacks of Marijuana for Athletes
For all of the potential benefits of cannabis for athletes, there are some drawbacks to consider, including:
- Impaired Problem Solving. For sports that require strategy, marijuana could get in the way of performance. Studies have found that after using a weed vaporizer or smoking weed, one's ability to solve problems becomes impaired.
- Slower Reflexes. The relaxing effects of marijuana have the potential to diminish a user's reflexes, which could make it harder for athletes in some sports to perform at their best.
- Paranoia. Some people respond negatively to marijuana and end up experiencing feelings of paranoia. This could make an athlete unable to properly focus on the game.
- Lung Problems. People who smoke marijuana are at an increased risk for respiratory infections and long-term breathing problems that could interfere with athletic performance. That's why many athletes that choose to use cannabis opt for marijuana vaporizers, which produce fewer toxins and are much less likely to cause breathing problems.
While there does seem to be some benefit for athletes who use vaporizers for marijuana, as long as regulations and rules prohibit the use of cannabis, athletes who use it prior to competition are putting their careers at risk, not to mention inviting trouble with the law. It has made Jerome Simpson of the Cincinnati Bengals, Michael Beasley of the NBA, Elijah Dkes of the MLB, and many other pros front page news. That's why professional athletes must carefully weigh the benefits of using a vaporizer for weed or smoking marijuana with the risks before using the drug to enhance their performance.