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Friday, 02/10/2012, 01:56 pm

Editorial Spotlight: The Training While Smoking Weed Debate From Someone Who Does Both


By: George C. Mathews
For the past few days, Nick Diaz and Carlos Condit have been the most talked about topics amongst MMA fans. Between the fans on Twitter, the endless amounts of message board threads, or just people sitting around the gym, last weekends fight has left fans with a lot to debate about. I’m not sure if it was the decision itself, or that fans were let down because expectations were so high, but the chatter has been non stop. Regardless, over the past 24 hours, the hot topic has remained the same, although the focal point has moved solely to Nick Diaz. Though not for the fact that he would be getting another chance at UFC gold, but because of his second drug test failure in the state of Nevada.

With this being his second offense, he’s probably looking at a 12 month suspension, some fines, a bunch of paperwork, and a whole lot of inconvenience. The indirect impact is that he won’t be getting paid, not to fight at least, and for a high level athlete in his prime, losing precious time is a big blow. Now with that said, I’m all for playing by the rules, but is a rule for a drug like marijuana really even necessary?

As someone who also trains a lot (I train jiu jitsu alone 7-8 times a week along with 2-3 strength and conditioning sessions), I’ve never really understood why marijuana was grouped in with the other banned substances. Over the years, in many of the various gyms I’ve traveled to, I’ve been offered and seen people do all sorts of drugs in front me, or at least admitted to what they’re taking. Most notably HGH, steroids, or pot, but I can honestly say that I was much less threatened by someone who smoked a joint and came in to train, then the guy that had been loading up on Dianabol. Now I’m not proclaiming that pot doesn’t aid in your training. Of course it enhances your performance, but it’s more of a help with mental focus and in some cases, relaxation. This is a far cry from a steroid, growth hormone, speed, and other various recreational drugs that not only directly impact your strength, speed, and endurance, but many have also proven to be fatal, while surely giving you an edge in some form or capacity. One could even argue that marijuana’s effects are even less dramatic than most preworkout drinks, as even many of those contain caffeine, and/or other drugs. Sleep and nootropics also aid in brain function, and mental focus, but I’ve yet to hear about the Joe Rogan endorsed “Alpha Brain” or naps being a banned substance…

Do people simply need to be educated? I believe that’s part of the problem. The first time I smoked pot, I had no idea what I was doing or what to expect. I didn’t have any understanding of how to use it for it’s medicinal effects. To me there was two states, “high” and “not high”. It wasn’t until much later that I figured out that it’s not all the same, and that you can actually use it responsibly, although, there was an education (and maturity) process that I had to go through in order to get a grasp on it. Some might ask, why even bother? In my case, I went to the doctor for trouble with anxiety and insomnia, only to be recommended Xanax, another powerful narcotic medicine used for anti anxiety, that’s also highly addictive. After going to three different doctors, all of which wanted to prescribe me anti anxiety pills like Xanax and Valium, I decided that I would look into an alternative. Why was I so vehemently against taking pills? Because I had spent the better part of two years kicking a painkiller addiction, and there was no way I was gonna go back start another habit…

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