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There are contradictory opinions about whether marijuana has any beneficial effects on physical performance. Scientists classify marijuana as an ergolytic drug (the drug which impairs psychomotor and exercising performance), but still, the data from doping control in sports are filled with cases positive for cannabis and its derivates. So why would professional sportspeople engage in marijuana abuse if it didn't have any beneficial effects on their performance?

The Influence of Marijuana on Bodily Functions

To answer the above question, we must first go through some of the key action mechanisms of marijuana, and state its effects on human organism.

Marijuana is a plant also called Cannabis, and its active ingredient which causes all its effects is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). After entering the organism, THC binds to its receptors in different parts of the brain and expresses its anxiolytic , sedative, analgesic, and psychedelic effect.

Marijuana greatly affects the human nervous system by impairing cognition, lowering psychomotor as well as exercise performance, which was well investigated several decades ago. In a study conducted in 1986, a serious decrease in exercising performance was shown in 12 young men, 10 minutes after smoking pot.

Marijuana also impairs driving abilities by lowering alertness and reflex activities. Very often reported symptoms of marijuana intake are heaviness, fatigue of the limbs, hallucinations, and lack of concentration. All these facts prove that, from the physiological point of view, marijuana has an extremely harmful effect on every aspect of physical performance.

The Delusion of Stimulative Effect

Many studies have been conducted with the aim to find the mechanism by which marijuana increases exercising performance, but none of them succeeded. However, some sportspeople keep claiming that they produce better results after smoking pot, but the others report completely opposite effects. After the investigation of all possible causes for such contradictory results, scientists proposed the explanation:

Marijuana decreases anxiety and provides social inhibition, thus eliminating the stress produced by competition.

Euphoria produced by marijuana intake enables achieving better performance in nervous persons with anxiety associated with training in public, competition issues, etc. That is also the explanation why it is not effective in all persons. Additionally, marijuana has a sedative effect and promotes sleeping and rest, and the exercising performances are significantly better when a person is fresh and well rested.

To summarize, the direct effects of marijuana intake on physical performance are definitely diminishing, but, due to its euphoric effects, it can produce slight improvement in particularly nervous persons.

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