The BEST Pens for Vaping Weed!

Many pot smokers already know that using a vape pen is one of the healthiest ways to enjoy pot. Since you are smoking a vapor rather than the actual smoke, you cut down the amount of irritants that enter your lungs, preventing damage and creating a much more pleasant experience overall. Many of the byproducts in smoke make it a less enjoyable experience overall, so buying a vape pen can be one of your best investments in your recreational or medical marijuana use. (You should keep in mind that the majority of herbal vape pens work best with pot waxes and oil concentrates.) Here are some of the best herbal vape pens on the market for you to choose from.

Cloud Pen

Considered one of the most affordable options on the market, the Gpen is both popular and well-known in the pot community. They are small and oval, which does not make them the best option for a heavy smoking experience—but their popularity stems from their tiny size and portability. Hits remain smooth and the pens themselves are quite durable for daily use. The Cloud Pen version is $50 but there are dozens of makes and models entering the market from a variety of sellers. The Gpen is also quite discreet, another reason why it remains a customer favorite.

V2 Pro Series 7 Vaporizer

One of the key selling points of the V2 Pro Series 7 Vaporizer is that it is a stealthy model that will not draw attention to your pot use. It is slightly customizable with three different color schemes. It comes with a mouthpiece designed for liquids, wax and flowers, making it a bit more versatile than some models. It is known to provide a perfect continuous temperature and to not add any after taste to your weed smoking experience, which is something that many other vapes on the market are known to do.

Vape Oregon Mini Kit

When you are completely new to using an herbal vape pen, the Vape Oregon Mini Kit can get you well started with everything you need. The pen included is more like a dab ring, as it takes the vapor out of the glass. It is simple to add your concentrate and it even includes a battery so you can use it immediately after you receive the package. It is useable with shatter, wax and budder, making it yet another versatile item for just around $45.

Magic Flight Launch Box

Not only is the Magic Flight Launch box handsomely designed out of hand carved wood, but it also comes with everything you need—including two rechargeable batteries, a battery charger, a glass pipe and even a cleaning brush to use after each use. While it is not as discreet as the vape pens on the list, it is such a beautiful piece that many people simply want to have it in their homes.

Pax 2

The Pax 2 vaporizer is one of the most discreet models on the market. Its exceedingly simple design and look combined with its high-tech effectiveness made the tester audience at High Times declare it to be “Apple-like.” Four colors of aluminum units are available for purchase, making it nice to be able to pick which one you want to buy based on your favorites. There are not many delivery methods that are this small, either, adding to its discreet nature.

The Crafty
Small, smooth and portable, The Crafty made the top of the list not only because of its discreet nature but because it also delivers a better high. It comes with a cleaning kit, a USB cradle and cable, both flat and raised mouthpieces.



Sources:

http://www.leafscience.com/2015/11/20/vaping-safe/

https://www.coloradopotguide.com/colorado-marijuana-blog/2015/november/25/6-best-affordable-vaporizers-for-on-the-go/

http://hightimes.com/culture/high-times-2015-vape-pen-review-top-5-herbal-pens/


Can Medical Marijuana help the Opiate Abuse epidemic?

Marijuana is considered "better" for you than hard drugs like heroin and other opiates.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, between 24.6 and 36 million people abuse opiate drugs across the globe. Over 2 million people in the United States have substance disorders related to opiate use. The majority of these addicts did not begin as drug abusers but as people in pain. Doctors wildly prescribed some of the most addictive substances known to man to soccer parents with broken wrists and blue collar workers with job injuries only to cause an epidemic of pain prescription medication addiction across the nation. 

Although some laws have been since implemented into practice to help curb the number of prescriptions written overall or to help stop patients from refilling prescriptions for opiate, there are still too many in circulation due to aggressive marketing techniques by pharmaceutical companies and the demands of patients who are in constant, chronic pain. The number of prescription opiates issued to patients has more than doubled since 1991, when approximately 76 million prescriptions were written. In 2013, 207 million of the prescriptions were given to patients to help with pain management, in many cases starting an addiction that neither doctor nor patient had predicted.

In states where medical marijuana has become legal, however, studies are indicating that opiate use may be on the downfall. One study showed that motorists who die in traffic accidents in these states tested negative for opiate use than they had before legalization occurred. The Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, which conducted the study, says that access to legal marijuana for pain management is to blame for the reduction.

Study author June H. Kim says, “We would expect the adverse consequences of opiate use to decrease over time in states where medical marijuana use is legal, as individuals substitute marijuana for opiate in the treatment of severe or chronic pain.” Like many proponents of legalization had previously predicted, medical marijuana may actually be cutting the use of other harder drugs. The results of the reduction have not yet been studied or released, but many predict that citizens in states where marijuana has been legalized will lead safer, healthier lifestyles with a pain management option at hand that is not as habit forming or as destructive on the body as opiates can be.

Another study published in Health Affairs found similar results not with motorist accidents but with prescription drug claims. States that have legalized marijuana for medical use are now finding that their citizens are filing fewer drug claims when their prescription medications can be replaced by the effects of legal marijuana use. Many lifelong proponents of legalization exchange knowing smiles over this information, as one of the most common held beliefs about the failure of legalization is its potential effects on the prescription drug industry. Drug sellers of both legal and illegal means have campaigned against legalizing weed in order to retain their own clients and profits, and it seems that in states where pot has been legalized they are already taking monetary hits.

In Arizona, Insys Therapeutics alone contributed $500,000 to fight the legalization of pot. The company recently filed for and won approval to market a synthetic marijuana drug to help treat AIDS and cancer symptoms, so it is no wonder that they would fight to crush any potential competition.
Whether or not medical marijuana will put an end to prescription opiate use for good or not remains to be seen, but as more states legalize the drug, the effects of its availability against opiate abuse will surely continue to be studied. 

Using Weed for Weight Loss?

An apple a day keeps the fat away. Maybe a bowl full of THC will do the same?
After hearing so many jokes about getting the munchies after smoking a bowl, most people might think that smoking weed leads to weight gain. Surely after all of those chocolate cookies, late night sugary cereal and snack cakes there would be at least some weight gain. But the truth is that weed may actually result in a reduction of weight instead. Researchers have discovered that daily marijuana use may lead to a lower body mass index for both men and women.

While both sexes seem to reap the benefits of a lower BMI, according to the University of Miami Study, which was published in the Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics, women who smoke pot every day tend to benefit the most with about a 3.1 percent smaller BMI than women who refrain from smoking. Male smokers, on the other hand, had about a 2.7 percent smaller BMI. Although the difference is not vastly significant, and the evidence does not completely support the theory that pot use will make you skinny, it does point toward other possible benefits to smoking pot that researchers may study further. 
More than 13,000 adults were followed for this study, which took place in a period of six years. Ages 18 to 26 were surveyed, indicating that the evidence presented may not be applicable for adults over age 30 when weight loss becomes even more difficult to achieve. The study did implement controls for diet, exercise, and alcohol consumption, so those three common weight variables were not to blame for the higher or lower BMIs of participants. 

The findings may also help debunk the whole “marijuana munchies” stereotype, according to the research team. “Uncovering a negative association between marijuana use and weight status is a valuable contribution to the literature.” Although it is true that many people do get cravings for food following marijuana use, that, too, is a benefit to the drug and a main reason why some doctors prescribe it for patients who suffer from diseases that cause low appetites, like cancer.

This is not the first study to demonstrate a correlation between pot use and lower weight levels, but it does help pave the way for additional studies that may help demonstrate how weed works on weight and how those effects can be implemented into peoples’ lives who need them most. One study suggests that pot works so well for weight control because of the way it acts on insulin in the body, which helps improve metabolic function. Simply put, those who smoke pot may enable their bodies to break sugars down much more quickly.

States with legal marijuana use also have the lowest levels of obesity in the nation. Again, while not proving causation, the correlating evidence is interesting and up for further study to demonstrate whether or not using pot is a viable treatment for obesity. Some pot users are already using specific strains to create their own marijuana diets to help them lose weight. Some also believe that marijuana helps reduce plaque build-up in arteries, which can help contribute to overall health and possibly help with weight loss goals, too.

Some research suggests that landrace strains of marijuana from South and East Africa can act as appetite suppressants, further aiding in weight loss. This is thought to be attributed to the presence of the compound THCV, which results in a quicker high and resistance to the munchies. Some common strains that people are known to purchase to help them achieve their weight loss goals include Durban poison, Green Crack, Super Silver Haze and G13. 


Pot Use up, Drinking down for College Kids

School used to be all about booze. Now, we guess, it is all about the leafy greens.
The dangers of drinking on a college campus remain as relevant as ever, but the actual practice of drinking on campus is dwindling with the times. On any given day in the United States, 1.2 million college students engage in some kind of alcoholic drinking. While marijuana use may sound like it is much lower among coeds, with 703,759 using pot on an average day, the reality is that the use of alcohol has actually gone down while pot use has increased.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, around 10% of first-year college students drink alcohol for the first time during their freshman year. About 6% say the same about illicit drug use. 

With so many children enrolled in Drug Abuse Resistance Education programs, the rise of pot use can be problematic in families that do not discuss responsible drinking and smoking. Just as abstinence programs for teens typically fail to work, so too do drug resistance programs that teach “just say no.” Studies indicate that programs like DARE ultimately fail students, and that kids who enter the program report no difference in drug and alcohol use than kids who never experienced them at all. In some instances, students who completed the program were even more likely to drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes than kids who never entered it to begin with.

Without learning about responsible drinking and the truthful effects of drug use, young adults enter their college years naïve about drugs and alcohol, which can cause a wide range of problems—from binge drinking, alcohol poisoning, car accidents, and many other dangers.
While pot does not carry nearly as many of the dangers as alcohol does, it is still important for parents to discuss its effects openly with their teens and young adult children without judgment if they wish to keep their children safe and healthy. Raising children to be responsible, healthy adults starts in early childhood with modeling these appropriate behaviors and maintaining open communication with children. 

To keep their coed children safe, parents should talk about the effects of pot and stress safe use of the drug. They should start by listening to their kids’ concerns and questions without rendering any judgment. Parents can teach their children that if they are going to use any drugs or alcohol, they should not do so while driving, and they should only do it in the safe company of friends or in a safe space. Most young adults have no idea about their limits, so parents should talk to their kids about moderation in all substances, particularly when using strong drugs like marijuana edibles. It should be emphasized that pot is not a toy and is only to be used by adults.

If parents who smoke choose to do so in front of their children, they should continue modeling appropriate behavior, stressing the importance of responsible drug use. Parents can talk to their children about the many medical uses of marijuana and, when applicable, involve interested children in political battles to make the drug legal. 

SAMHSA reports that, “College is a time when young people transition to adulthood, with many living independently and making behavioral health decisions without direct parental oversight. Substance use constitutes one of the most serious public health issues for young people in the United States.” In order to prepare young adults to make big decisions, it is important to raise them with lots of options to make decisions each day that prepare them for the ones that really matter.


Best Videos to Watch While Baked (or getting high)

Getting stoned watching movies is my favorite American Pass time. Extra butter, please.

Some people swear by a dark room with just the right music, and there will always be a spot on the dark side of the moon for any pot lover. But plenty of pot lovers prefer a good video experience while they’re baked. From children’s cartoons to Beatles productions, there always seem to be plenty of fun videos to watch while under the influence of cannabis. Here are just some favorites that pot smokers have routinely suggested over the years.

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure

Two bodacious bros traveling through time, meeting babes and presidents… what’s not to love? Although Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure is beloved by fans from all over, it barely has a plot and definitely needs a hit to be enjoyed post age 30. Not to be outdone, Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey also bears mentioning.

The 40-Year-Old Virgin

Many of Steve Carell’s movies are funny enough without the addition of pot, but The 40-Year-Old Virgin is so wacky that it begs to be included. Some key scenes to not miss while you’re lit include the post-coital scene, which brims with happy hippie love, and the iconic scene where Carell’s character is waxed of (some of) his hairiness and responds in colorful fashion.

Labyrinth

Aside from David Bowie fans and cult followers, most other people cannot enjoy the trippy Jim Henson film featuring a farting swamp, talking worms and head-swapping creatures without a joint first. The same goes for plenty of other creature-filled movies that otherwise make little to no sense, including Ted, The Neverending Story and Space Jam.

American Ultra

A newcomer to the list, American Ultra is about a pothead who also happens to be a government agent. Fans of Jesse Eisenberg in particular will enjoy watching the former operative dodging his coworkers as they move to take him out.

The Beatles: Yellow Submarine

A list like this would not be complete without the classic Beatles program, Yellow Submarine. This magical adventure in Pepperland featuring the Beatles themselves versus the Blue Meanies pretty much reeks of pot with or without the addition of your own stash. The runner up to Yellow Submarine, of course, is Puff the Magic Dragon, which has its own litany of connotations.

2001: A Space Odyssey

There are those who cannot watch 2001: A Space Odyssey without smoking weed. There are also those who watch it and report that it would have been so much better had they been baked before viewing. Either way, if you have seen it, you might want to try it again under the influence.

Pineapple Express

A stoner adventure should be included in any list of movies to watch while you smoke pot, and the currently ranked top favorite is Pineapple Express starring Seth Rogan and James Franco. It wasn’t always the top fan favorite, however. Other contenders for the best pot movie over the years have included Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, Half Baked, Cheech and Chong: Up in Smoke, and Dazed and Confused. 

Alice in Wonderland

Cartoons are not immune from the effects of pot. In fact, in some cases, they are the best entertainment to enjoy while you smoke. Any seasoned smoker can attest to the powerful transformative powers of pot upon your favorite cartoon classic films. The classic cartoon Alice in Wonderland, with its hookah-smoking caterpillar, OCD white rabbit and trippy singing flowers is one to not miss while high. Another great classic contender is Raggedy Ann and Andy: A Musical Adventure, which features a talking blob of candy and an LSD-like sequence of mellow singing camels.


Sources:

http://www.idigitaltimes.com/420-day-25-best-movies-watch-while-high-528233

http://www.ranker.com/list/best-movies-to-watch-stoned/drugs?var=3&utm_expid=16418821-248.jMIYIWZYSfyv_uqdI1UZxg.2&utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F

http://www.moviefone.com/photos/the-best-movies-to-watch-high/#slide=2550191

The Strongest Strains of Pot

The Strongest weed by name.
Many pot smokers simply enjoy one or two favorite strains that have stood the test of time, but others like to branch out and experiment with several different types of pot. Each year, new, stronger strains are created, tempting smokers to experiment with whatever is on the market. Some people chase specific types of pot—whether it is sativa or indicia, edible or inhaled, or even specific aromas and flavors. One of the most common dragons to chase is simply the strongest strain on the market. While the list of the strongest strains of pot changes at least somewhat from year to year, here are a few of the strongest strains available for purchase.

Emperor Cookie Dough
Only two strains on earth have ever made it past the 30% THC content line and one of those is Emperor Cookie Dough, which hybrid flowers contain 31.1% THC. An indicia dominant strain, it was the winner of the 2015 Denver Cannabis Cup for the Hybrid category with the most THC. Users claim the strain tastes exactly like cookie dough, which is where the hybrid gets its name. Considered one of the strongest pain relievers and appetite stimulants as medical marijuana, Emperor Cookie Dough features yellow and orange hues and puts off a minty yet sweet scent.

Kosher Kush
Most pot lovers have some kind of Kush variant that they enjoy or at least have heard about, but Kosher Kush, available since 2010, has taken the world by storm. A multiple winner of the Cannabis Cup, Kosher Kush has over 20% THC content, with total content sometimes surpassing 29%, and is described as a very soothing, almost “tranquilizing” indicia. In some areas, it is only available as a clone strain, but it is also sold as a seed in some parts of the United States. Many fans of the strain consider it to be the best tasting type on the market, with flavors ranging from earthy to fruity. Kosher Kush is great for pain relief and relaxing for a good night’s sleep.

Girl Scout Cookies
As innocent as it sounds, the strain known as Girl Scout Cookies actually packs quite a punch with a THC makeup of over 24%. One of the strongest plants used for medical marijuana, Girl Scout Cookies is both sweet and earthy. The plant is known to increase the appetite, reduce feelings of depression and stress and produce happy feelings. The strength of the strain ensures that its effects last for hours and the biggest known negative effect of the strain is dry mouth.

Red Dragon
With over 22% THC content, Red Dragon may be on the lower rungs of the strongest strains available, but it continues to be one of the most popular choices year after year. Sweet and fruity, it is an exotic and upbeat hybrid that gives a bubbly, uplifting effect. The hybrid comes from blending Himalayan Kush with Utopian Haze, which explains the euphoric effects of the drug. Many people opt for this strain as it is known for its anti-depression and stress busting properties, but it can also cause paranoia and anxiety as well as dizziness and dry eyes and mouth.

REAL Benefits in favor of Marijuana Legalization


When considering the benefits of legalizing marijuana, most people focus on the main benefit to actual smokers—which is, of course, being able to smoke weed. Legalizing pot comes with a litany of benefits, however, and they are not limited to smokers. Both pot smokers and nonsmokers can enjoy the many boons reaped from simply legalizing and regulating marijuana.

Saving Tax Dollars 
By not paying for the arrest and incarceration of the 800,000 people jailed every year for marijuana possession, the nation stands to benefit from incredible tax savings. Many nations do not jail nonviolent offenders at all, instead providing rehabilitation, assigning community service and utilizing other methods of disciplinary action. Rendering pot possession or use as legal activity would help curb the millions of dollars spent on arresting and incarcerating marijuana users.

Generating Tax Dollars
The potential millions of dollars in revenue generated by regulating pot is something that cannot be ignored. Not only could states find themselves filling in the holes left by their deficits, but also possibly solving any number of issues with the additional tax revenue. Some possibilities could include implementing universal healthcare, building solar panel roads or even fulfilling the promise of free college for every American. Simply taxing pot could be the answer to funding America’s progress in joining 21st century developed nations, and adding that money to the money saved by not incarcerating offenders would likely fix budget issues in many, if not most, states overall. Colorado alone, for example, has already reaped $60 million in tax revenue during a single year of legal marijuana sales.

Better Use of Law Enforcement 
With police officers not chasing as many drug offenders, their time can be better spent on protecting people from harm. The thousands of rape kits that sit on shelves could finally be used to catch rapists. Currently only 3% of rapists see a day in jail and that number should dramatically increase with more police officers available to work on these cases. After several years of this change, society should become a much safer place to live as well.

Prevention of Organized Crime
Without the demand of illegal marijuana, many organized crime operations will cease to exist. Lots of organized crime fully depends on the sale of drugs to even occur, but when drugs are readily available for consumers in a safe, legal venue, the consumers will stop seeking out drugs to purchase elsewhere. Drug dealers have often been the most vocal community to voice opposition against legalizing marijuana for this very reason.

Safer Communities
Without the organized crime, and with law enforcement working more heavily on cracking down on violent offenders, communities will already be on their way toward being safer overall. Evidence already points to safer places to live where pot has been legalized. The people who actually use marijuana will even be safer, though, since they are purchasing regulated drugs that have been tested for safety rather than anything available on the street from someone they don’t know. Many sellers are not even selling weed but other unknown substances that could have a negative reaction on the smoker. Having legalized safety nets in place prevents the potential harm from occurring to these citizens.

More Hemp
America used to thrive on the hemp industry, and allowing people to grow, use and develop hemp again can save the nation millions of dollars. Hemp is a better, longer-lasting and easier-to-grow crop than cotton, making it a better choice for everything from clothing to our very revenue system itself. It is a cheaper, more eco-friendly feed source for livestock, a better paper source and even a better, more renewable fuel source to use.


Care with Edibles: Common Knowledge and Safety Practices


When it comes to marijuana edibles, common knowledge safety practices go a long way. Now that pot is legal, some parents have grown lax in preventing their children from accidentally ingesting their stashes. A toddler was recently taken to the hospital after he accidentally ingested his grandmother’s medical marijuana cookies. Luckily the three-year-old merely took a 16-hour nap as a result, which could have been far worse had he eaten more than he did. The hospital only kept him for observation.

Tish Hospital’s Dr. Stephen Ross, a professor of child psychiatry and addiction, maintains that marijuana is one of the least toxic drugs for children to ingest. He says that death is very unlikely, even when small children accidentally eat the drug. The bigger issue is that the child’s caregivers were not careful about where the drug was kept, giving him easy access unwittingly. Had the drug been a harder one the consequences could have been deadly. Kids are more sensitive to drugs than adults are and adults should use common sense when it comes to keeping drugs out of children’s hands.

Like any other medication, edibles should be kept out of reach of children at all times. Edible drugs need to be properly labeled in order to prevent someone from accidentally handing a child one as a treat. With older children and teens, parents should encourage open communication, welcome questions the children may have and stress the importance of responsible legal consumption for adults only, heavily hitting the point home that they are not to use the drug. They should also know that there are other forms of pot in the world aside from joints that they may be offered and have a strategy in place to decline the drug when offered.

Children who ingest a drug should be taken to a hospital for observation to be safe, but most kids who ingest pot will not suffer long-term damage. When kids are admitted into the hospital for ingesting marijuana, it is usually because they exhibit the same symptoms that adults do but with a stronger effect, putting the at risk due to the possible behaviors that might manifest, like becoming agitated or too confused to make sound decisions.

The number of kids who have been admitted to the children’s emergency room in Aurora, Colorado due to marijuana ingestion doubled from 2014 to 2015, with one exhibiting breathing problems that required a respirator.  Of the nine children admitted for marijuana ingestion, seven went into intensive care with “extreme sedation or agitation” as side effects. 

Most of the accidental drug overdoses occur with an edible product when it comes to children—not only because edibles look like typical children’s sweets, but also because edibles are often stronger than a joint and have faster, longer-lasting effects. Given that there is not much data on the effects of marijuana on children, it is tough to say what long-lasting effects a large dose or frequent doses of pot might do to a young child. Addiction is stronger in teens than adults, with 4 in 10 becoming addicted versus 1 in 10 adults.


Drug Offenders vs. Violent Criminals

Many citizens are outraged to discover that violent criminals often spend a significantly less jail sentence than those incarcerated for possessing, selling or using marijuana. Brock Turner, the rapist arrested and convicted for assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated or unconscious person, sexual penetration of an intoxicated person, and sexual penetration of an unconscious person, only served three months of a six month jail sentence following his trial. 

People like Ronald Hammond, however, have spent or will spend decades of their lives in jail for marijuana convictions. Hammond was convicted of possessing 5.9 grams of marijuana and, because of a prior drug conviction, was sentenced to twenty years in jail. The Department of Justice admits that nearly half of federal inmates—about 48 percent—are in jail for nonviolent drug charges. Only about 8 percent of inmates are, in fact, serving time for violent crime. People like Brock Turner, who pose a dangerous threat to the population, should see more time in prison than people like Ronald Hammond. 

The prison system is a cash cow that is largely funded by people who were even barely involved in marijuana-related crimes, like Craig Cesal, who is serving a life sentence without parole because one of his clients was trafficking pot. The population of the United States prison system is the largest on Earth. About 2.3 million people are locked away, many of them for possessing a drug that’s less harmful than tobacco or alcohol. The effects of this broken system ripple out toward too many areas to count, from breaking up families to sending children into foster care to simply ruining young lives for a very stupid reason. The monetary costs are also substantial.

The United States’ War on Drugs has cost the country as much as $500 per second in a single year, or $15 billion for the entire year at the federal level alone. The same country in which many legislators claim free healthcare and college, two resources readily provided by many countries that do not incarcerate nonviolent offenders, is rapidly funneling money into this broken system and that is not even counting the state level, where another $25 billion is blown in a year. Over $1 trillion has been spent on this “war” since 1971. Most people condemn this war as an epic failure at best and agree that these tax dollars are vastly wasted—so why does this so-called war persist?

Since most of the higher-up drug offenders who lead criminal operations are typically well-to-do and can afford superior legal counsel, most of the people who are in jail are also low-level offenders who were simply too poor to hire a good lawyer. Many stays in prison are dictated by prior offense laws and jail sentence minimums for certain types of drugs rather than individual cases, resulting in what many people deem “over-incarceration.”

Once Prohibition failed, the United States was able to repeal it, regulate alcohol and make a killing off of the process. As H.L. Menken said, “Prohibition has not only failed in its promises but actually created additional serious and disturbing social problems throughout society. There is not less drunkenness in the Republic but more. There is not less crime, but more. ... The cost of government is not smaller, but vastly greater. Respect for law has not increased, but diminished.” Yet here the government stands, once again, behind a failed prohibition—one that is far less addictive or harmful than alcohol, in fact—and unable to learn from its own past mistakes.
 

Forget Gold, How about Green? Marijuana Use among Athletes

A call to crack down on athletes using marijuana has been given by everyone from politicians to the media, but its actual effects on athletic performance are the opposite of enhancement in most ways. Pot smokers report not being able to remember things in short-term time periods and may experience issues with concentration or paranoia, none of which are conducive to being an athlete or similar to taking, say, steroids. On the contrary, while people may be up in arms rightfully about performance enhancing products in regards to athletic performance, there is really no reason to believe that pot will have a similar effect.

According to ESPN, the effects of marijuana include but are not limited to, “Impairs skills requiring eye-hand coordination and a fast reaction time; reduces motor coordination, tracking ability and perceptual accuracy; impairs concentration; reduces maximal exercise capacity.” The report goes to mention that not only does marijuana impair skills for up to 24 to 36 hours, but it can also result in fatigue and explicitly has zero performance-enhancing potential. Given that they cannot in any way cheat in their respective games (unless those games happen to be chocolate cereal eating contests), why is the battle cry to kick athletes who smoke the occasional doobie even a thing?

The stigma of marijuana being a “gateway drug,” which has never been proven, is one theory. Some people believe that if athletes are allowed to smoke pot, they may move on to more addictive drugs like heroine or even sports enhancement drugs. There’s no evidence to support this, but the failing War on Drugs has left its mark on the American public and convinced them that this must be true. There is also the simple public distaste for pot due to the same smear campaign. As anyone who has ever researched pot knows, marijuana is not only not as addictive as cigarettes or alcohol, but it also is not nearly as dangerous. Still, the demand for athletes to never smoke remains a staple while social drinking still seems to be appropriate in most eyes.

There is also the fact that many people believe that athletes should be someone to emulate or look up to, and if they dabble with pot it will encourage their fans to follow suit. If this were the gold standard, however, athletes should not be allowed to swear, post in scantily-clad outfits, drink, engage in destructive behavior or take part in a plethora of other activities that many of the moral majority might consider to be objectionable. Since this is a ridiculous request, the only grounds on which to demand that athletes not smoke pot are simply those that make it illegal in the first place. Even if anti-marijuana laws are antiquated and baseless, they do remain laws, so that is the only reasonable reason to request that athletes not engage in the behavior. Many Olympic athletes smoke pot and many people believe that it is fine as long as it’s not during competition. 

It is easy to see why coaches, on the other hand, might not want their athletes to use pot. They may not want it to ruin their athletes’ performances during the season by impairing their visual skills, judgment or speed. That said, some athletes are calling marijuana a performance enhancing drug not because it increases muscle mass, but because it lowers anxiety and increases the pain threshold during heavy training. In that case, any anti-anxiety or pain medicine, however, could be considered performance enhancing, as could just about any other activity that provides stress and pain relief.