It’s crazy to kick Sha’Carri Richardson out of the Olympics for marijuana


I live in Vancouver, Washington, just across the river from Portland, Oregon. Where I live, recreational cannabis has been legal and widely available in specialty retail outlets since 2014. This is extremely normal. Banal, even. There are weed storefronts dotted around the city, and sometimes you see weed-related litter, but other than that not much has changed in life in the Pacific Northwest.

That’s all to say that every time I see the old regime stick my head off the ground and do its stupid little dance, I roll my eyes. Who is this even protecting? Why are you fighting? Civilization is not crumbling around us as we enter the seventh year of legalized recreational cannabis retailing. It’s really, really sad that you are holding onto that straw.

The last stupid story on the grass comes from the world of Olympic athletics. American Sha’Carri Richardson, a sprinter who was a favorite in the 100 meters, tested positive for THC, a compound in cannabis. She was suspended from track events for 30 days, jeopardizing her appearance at the Tokyo Olympics later this month. Friday she appeared on Hello america and explained that she smoked weed after a reporter informed her in an interview that her birth mother had passed away, days before the Olympic trials.

“I just thought it would be a normal interview,” said Richardson, who is 21. “But hearing this information coming from a complete stranger, it was really a trigger, it was really shocking on the nerves… I know I can’t hide, so… in a way, I was trying to hide my pain.

Now you might be asking yourself, “Why? Who cares if an adult female smokes weed in Oregon, a state where it’s legal and widely available? Well, the World Anti-Doping Agency – WADA for short – has banned the use of cannabis by athletes under its jurisdiction. “Doping” is generally the word law enforcement agencies use for performance enhancing methods such as anabolic steroids, human growth hormone, and artificial enhancement of the blood’s ability to function. bring more oxygen to the muscles. Well, WADA’s answer to that question was breathtakingly stupid:

In order for an item to be added to WADA’s Prohibited List, it must meet two of the three inclusion criteria: a) it presents a risk to the health of athletes b) it has the potential to improve performance and c) it violates the spirit of the sport.

In 2011, WADA published an article in sports medicine discussing why marijuana and cannabinoids meet the criteria. Below are excerpts from this publication that meet all three criteria:

  1. “Athletes who smoke cannabis or spices in competition could endanger themselves and others through increased risk taking, slower reaction times, and poor executive function or decision making.
  2. “Based on current animal and human studies as well as interviews with athletes and information from the field, cannabis may improve the performance of certain athletes and sports disciplines.”
  3. “The use of illicit drugs which are harmful to health and which may have performance enhancing properties is not compatible with the athlete as a role model for young people around the world.

I’ve been in the sport for quite some time now and know of no incidents where someone was stoned and, through lack of judgment, chose to lift their opponent high in the air and then smash them on the knee like Bane’s. did to Batman. I don’t think I’ve even heard of someone getting hot and rolling their ankle.

As far as young people are concerned, everything will be fine. Adults, including parents, smoke where I live and local children have not become wild monsters roaming the streets. Teaching children what constitutes drug addiction is a priority for parents, not athletes they don’t know.

Sha’Carri Richardson reacts after competing in the women’s 100-meter first round on day one of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Team Trials at Hayward Field on June 18, 2021, in Eugene, Oregon.

Steph Chambers / Getty

So reasons one and three are stupid as hell. This brings us to the second reason, which is perhaps the most puzzling of all. Who can think that weed, the official herb for lounging on the couch and binge-watching Netflix, is a supercharged cannon that roars, boosts performance, and turns anyone who uses it into Michael Jordan? I have consulted the document that WADA quotes:

Cannabis is often described as a substance that has adverse effects on performance. Cannabis decreases coordination, distorts spatial perception, and impairs perception and awareness of the passage of time. Steadward and Singh found that smoking cannabis did not increase vital capacity or grip strength, and Renaud and Cormier found that peak exercise performance in 12 cyclists was reduced from 16 to 15 minutes to 10 minutes after. have smoked a 1.7% THC cigarette. However, in this study vasodilation and bronchodilation increased, suggesting that cannabis may also improve tissue oxygenation. Additionally, hotlines developed to support doped athletes report performance enhancement capabilities (AMA, unpublished observations). Cannabis is touted as a drug that has significant positive effects in sport, such as improving goalie vision and muscle relaxation.

Right off the bat, they admit that weed clearly makes you worse at sports. Then they argue that it can increase blood flow, which in a drastically different context could make you better at sports. Plus, apparently goalies call a hotline all the time and tell WADA that smoking weed makes them better to see, according to “unpublished observations”? This is all moot, of course, as better vision wouldn’t be so helpful if you also had drastically reduced motor function, which in case you hadn’t heard, causes cannabis. Really, very bad argument, scientific article funded by WADA. But hey, maybe it becomes more reasonable?

Catlin and Murray indicated that cannabis could improve performance in sports requiring greater concentration. Iven noted that athletes use cannabis to relieve anxiety and stress, and possibly to reduce muscle spasms. Saugy et al. suggested that athletes were primarily motivated to use cannabis because of its effects on relaxation and well-being, promoting better sleep.

To sum up: “Weed can help with anxiety and recovery which, when you think about it, improves performance, much like the famous PED Zoloft, which athletes around the world abuse for the superhuman abilities that he gives them. It is interesting that WADA mentioned this, because again Richardson claims her positive test came from using marijuana for anxiety relief after the death of her birth mother, which she found out when a reporter l ‘mentioned in an interview. (Separate concern, but sports journalists really need to learn how to deal with athletes without jeopardizing their sanity.)

She’s not the first athlete to be pushed out of her sport for using weed to deal with her anxiety. Ricky Williams, Heisman Trophy winner and NFL star in the early 2000s, has been repeatedly suspended by the league for drinking to cope with depression and social anxiety, social anxiety that can be fatal when you are a professional athlete who has to deal with people in an extraordinarily intense environment all the time. Williams continues to champion athletes who use and market their own line of cannabis products.

The NFL recently agreed to stop banning players for marijuana use in the 2020 collective agreement. If you’re counting points, that means WADA and the IOC are behind the NFL on their marijuana period. The NFL! Can you imagine if you would look at yourself in the mirror one day and realize that you were more regressive about something, whatever, that the National Football League?

And yet, WADA and the IOC chose to suspend Richardson for this BS just before the biggest race of his life. She has since taken a diplomatic approach to the outright farce, apologizing to her fans and sponsors, explaining her point of view to reporters and doing all she can to make sure she can race again. It’s a scandal that this Olympian is forced to bow and scratch for the cameras after doing something that isn’t harmful, significantly improves performance, or even illegal.

Hell, cannabis itself isn’t even on the banned substances list! Check this out:

This is Rachel Schneider, who just made the 5K Olympic team, one of many Olympic athletes with a shilling aside for a Cannabidiol (CBD) product. CBD is a non-psychoactive compound found in many varieties of cannabis. Claims about the effectiveness of CBD are questionable, but it’s generally marketed as a sleep and anxiety aid – you know, what Richardson smoked weed for relief. The only big difference is that weed is fun and CBD might not work. Also, this girl is white, which probably helps.

The marijuana ban is a dead man walking, but some institutions are so drunk with power that they sit back and concoct stupid arguments that smoking a J for stress relief is the same as being Barry. Bonds. If there’s a silver lining to all of this for Richardson, at least she doesn’t have to go to a radioactive COVID hotspot where she won’t be fairly paid for her work, set up at the behest of a cabal. rich European weirdos and real estate sharks.

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