Marijuana and sports stars

We read today about Washington State’s star Klay Thompson’s suspension for marijuana possession.

This raises some interesting questions beyond the discussions about risk taking, judgment, friendship choices, coaching, etc.

It’s been my experience that some athletes find marijuana a performance enhancing drug. They experience a sense of “flow” when high on marijuana and believe they play more fluidly and with more ease. At the same time, such athletes don’t think of this as “cheating” in the usual sense, as marijuana does not enhance muscle development, it doesn’t seem to objectively make them faster or stronger or boost stamina.

Consider however four well known effects of marijuana:

  • Time distortion – are plays high on marijuana more capable of responding to the pace of play?
  • Reduced anxiety – are players high on marijuana more capable of dealing with the “pressure” of intense competition?
  • Enhanced body awareness – are players able to fine tune their athletic moves when high?
  • Sense of connectivity with others – are players more capable of being a fully integrated part of team when high?

Marijuana might – for some players – be more than a recreational drug. It could be the key to good performance. Something to think about.

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