I’ll start off by mentioning that I can honestly say that I have never smoked marijuana.
I remember having a talk with a close friend last spring about marijuana use and the affect that it has on athletic performance. This friend was telling me that he had recently read an article that stated that marijuana use once or twice a week does not have any effect on athletics. The idea of this baffled me because all that I’ve ever been told from my parents, coaches, and health teachers was that smoking anything is bad for your health and it has multiple negative effects on athletic performance.
I thought about this idea briefly and remembered back to my high school days. In high school it was fairly easy to tell which athletes smoked marijuana regularly. Most of these athletes seemed to be physically fit and most performed well on their respective fields, courts, tracks, etc. I was never sure if this was a coincidence or if there was actually something more to it. I wondered if smoking marijuana wasn’t as harmful as all parental figures made it out to be.
Seeking to uncover the truth, I did a little research on the topic. One article that I read, ‘Is Pot Good for Lungs? New Marijuana Study Adds to Health-Effects Debate’ mentioned, “Otherwise healthy men who have smoked the equivalent of one joint daily for seven years have a lung capacity that is 1.6 percent higher than that of otherwise healthy non-marijuana-smoking men,”(link found below). Although this doesn’t necessarily correlate to improved lung health, it is nonetheless and interesting thought. A special research project revealed by ESPN noted some of the affects of marijuana are worse hand eye coordination, impaired concentration, and increased fatigue in workouts. The article also mentions that marijuana does not have any performance enhancing potential (link found below). Though this is true, it also seems like it isn’t nearly as destructive to the body as described to me by all of my educators. It also doesn’t seem to have that big of an effect on athletic performance as some world-class athletes have been caught with possession of marijuana or admitted using marijuana. Some of these athletes include Ricky Williams (former top NFL running back), Randy Moss (49ers wide receiver who is considered to be one of the biggest deep threats of all time), and finally the most decorated Olympian of all time in terms of medals won, Michael Phelps (maybe this contributes to him eating so much food).
Overall, it doesn’t seem like marijuana has a devastating effect on athletic performance if used occasionally but it has some mild effects. Although there are no huge, defining negative effects, I’m still skeptical and focused enough to stay away.