drug test, thc, marijuana, ua

I’m confused, which usually happens when the Olympics cycle around and we find one of the athletes performing at the top of their field testing positive for marijuana use — and this discussion comes up yet again.

This year it’s Sha’Carri Richardson, the track and field superstar, in the spotlight for this outdated madness. As attitudes and legislation around the world begin to change in regard to marijuana use and its potential benefits versus its potential costs — not to mention legalization occurring across the nation — is it not reasonable to think that we need to make allowances for what athletes might be turning to when they’re coping? Or celebrating? Or just living their lives?

In a 2011 report published in Sports Medicine, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) defended its ban on the grounds that, 1) marijuana might be performance-enhancing in some sports; and 2) athletes are role models for young people. It also stated that marijuana slows “reaction times,” “decreases coordination” and impairs “psychomotor activity.” (So, in what sports would that actually aid performance?)

And while, yes, it is reasonable to hold people to a higher standard (pun not intended initially, but after it was written, totally going with it), especially when they are propped up as role models, perhaps those standards should be based on reason and logic, not contradicting doublespeak with a lack of scientific reinforcement. But even with narratives shifting around marijuana use, if we still condemn “role models” and others for using it, are attitudes really changing to keep up with the times?

Not to harp on the propaganda-driven days of yore, but when you’ve grown up with the narrative that says marijuana turns people into directionless slackers, it’s baffling now to see marijuana condemned as a performance-enhancer for top athletes — and that being used as a reason to ban its use. Perhaps the propaganda-driven madness of yesteryear still lingers in places, not yet driven out by reason. Apparently I’m not the only one here who is a bit confused.