weed and snowboarding

We asked 60+ pros if they think marijuana is a performance-enhancing drug in snowboarding, and to give us a sentence why or why not. It isn’t very scientific, and we didn’t provide any context besides saying their answers would be anonymous. So we got a wide range of responses from very long declarations to people just ghosting us, possibly assuming we might be narcs.

Speaking of narcs, the World Anti-Doping Agency still has THC listed on its banned substance list for in-competition. This really wasn’t the inspiration for our line of questioning, but why not add some context from the real world? WADA’s ruling is adhered to by the FIS as well as the IOC and plenty of sports governing bodies around the world. But there is an asterisk, THC is the only cannabinoid substance that has a higher threshold to meet in a urine test than others. According to the USADA, as long as the concentration in the urine is below 150 ng/mL (nanograms per milliliter), the test will come back negative. This change came in 2013 to not punish the occasional smoker and has recently been challenged by countries like the U.S. and Finland. One study stated if you smoked “12 days a month” and gave yourself a bit of time, you shouldn’t have a positive test with the current regulations. All of that including amount and what people define as “occasional” is on a case-by-case basis though.

So with a certain amount of weed technically allowed in your system, the performance-enhancing debate is on! We found about 15% of riders thought it helped the act of snowboarding while a majority replied with a resounding no.

is weed performance enhancing in snowboarding

Without further ado, here’s the TXT about THC:

“Weed is not performance-enhancing, but I’ll probably keep trying.”

“I say it every year, but maybe I’ll smoke less weed this winter.” 

“Maybe for some people in certain situations, but overall I believe that it can kill motivation during the day. Post shred though… it is performance enhancing for chilling on a couch.”

“No, I don’t think that weed is an enhancing drug to snowboard on… but for creativity and just living, yes. Cheers.” 

“Hmmmm. Yes and no… if you don’t. The tolerance is a limiter. If you have the tolerance it helps you hike more. My first day heli boarding in AK we woke up in Anchorage… drove 5 hours to Valdez… smoked about 6 spliffs and went and rode the craziest lines ever.”

“I think it can go both ways. Mushrooms might be more of an enhancement I’d say!”

“I used to think weed was a performance enhancer for sure, but now it gets me all paranoid. So I’m not really blazin’ and boardin’ these days.”

“Drugs are illegal and bad for you…(especially weed).”

“Weed is definitely one of the top performance-enhancing drugs within the snowboard world. It seems like the more chronic that is puffed the more insane shit goes down… this epidemic needs to stop…. It’s never fun to watch snowboarding progress… so in that case….SMOKE THE FUCK UP.”

“I would say not at all, but for some people, yes “

“No, pot is not a performance enhancing drug. Weeds not a drug, it’s a plant. It got a bad rap from those damn politicians and religious freaks back in the day. The Nixon administration didn’t help with that war on drugs. It’s all a scam.”

“I don’t think weed is a performance-enhancing drug with the level of precision snowboarders need to have to perform at the highest technical level. It might take away some stress or nervous feeling of trying something new or dropping an insane line, but I wouldn’t consider it “unfair” compared to a snowboarder that hasn’t used weed.”

“I don’t think it is haha, to each their own, you know? If it doesn’t make you do tornado spins faster or make you built like a brick shit house and take slams, who fucking cares?” 

“That’s a hard one. I feel like it depends on the person. For me, yes. At first, it’s terrifying but once you get used to it your style gets smoother I think. You start to feel the tricks more. Shit, I learned half my tricks baked, too.”

“Yes, performance enhancing. It is the ultimate creativity booster. Turns boredom into inventing new tricks/new ways to do them. Weed lets you tap into a flow state for the first 20 minutes after usage.” 

“If you are good at smoking weed, I think it could definitely help. If you are not good at smoking weed… it is the opposite of performance-enhancing. For me, definitely not.” 

“No. I hate weed. High-performance anxiety drug. Puff puff paranoia.“ 

“Sometimes it depends on your state of mind and what you’re smokin’, but I think it’s a solid yes.” 

“I used to think it was for sure. But then I stopped smoking weed and now it is a performance hindering substance. To all of the obstacles. Even sitting on the couch.” 

“For me, absolutely not. Weed makes me paranoid and afraid to try any tricks. I know it’s the complete opposite for others though!”

“No. But maybe booze is?”

“I quit smoking weed and I got better soooooooo….. no I don’t. But I mean, it’s not bad.” 

“I feel like you asked me this like ten years ago.”

“I heard from Harrison Gordon that if you smoke weed and snowboard it makes your style better.“ 

“Performance enhancing. As long as you are a motivated stoner and use it to access that sweet spot in your mind. Creativity, flow, celebration. Don’t be a lazy pile and make people wait for you. “ 

“When you smoke the herb it reveals you to yourself and your other self and your other self. Weed is illegal and wrong.” 

“I think it depends on that specific person’s relationship with weed. For me, absolutely not performance enhancing cause it makes me anti-social and not coordinated. For high-functioning stoners, it calms them and lets them hone in on specifically what they are doing. Short answer. Yes.” 

“I would say no. You aren’t as focused and as a snowboarder hitting big jumps, you can’t lose focus because you’re literally 10 meters up in the air.” 

“No. What did everybody else say?” 

“Situational. if you have a bad headspace and start smoking consider your snowboarding toasted hahaha. I think if you’re feeling good mentally and smoke up you might get a few extra notches on the special meter though.”

“Can’t imagine smoking before an X Games run. Feel like it’d completely ruin you hahah🤣.”

“No. It’s all a placebo. Just believe in yourself, that’s all the weeds doing for you.”

“Ok haha. Let me think real quick… (sends picture of smoking weed) I would say no, I don’t think weed is an enhancer. But it some cases if you’re battling it can help calm me down. But then sometimes I hit that shit and I’m unstoppable.”

“I honestly got nothing to say, weed is dumb.”

“No, because I watch it make people incredibly more stupid also.“

“It makes you sleepy, so your style is better.” 

“Yes, just like when that swimmer Phelps was testing positive at the Olympics… I think people deserve even more recognition for doing insane shit while high. But if I am filming a clip, I am not smoking.” 

“I think it’s different for everyone, and has a different effect. If anything, I think it hinders people’s athletic performance or drive.  But that might be just because I’m a garbage snowboarder stoned ;).”

“I don’t think weed is an enhancing drug. No more enhancing than a Red Bull or some shit like that.”

“Yes and no. Helps with creativity / spontaneity / thinking outside the box and maybe even give you a more relaxed style and demeanor. It is also possible that it can do the complete opposite and make you scared or lazy. I love it in the backcountry but not in the streets unless it’s celebratory/scoping for spots.”

“Hmm, no. I recently got a job at a weed shop actually. It’s a fine line, if you can find the perfect pocket it can be performance enhancing, but too much and it will backfire.”

“Most people that are addicted to smoking weed in snowboarding are actually just addicted to smoking spliffs.” 

“I think yes, if you are trying to be a pro… hang with some motivated stoners so you can get more clips (if you don’t smoke and they do!).”

“No, I don’t. If someone can win high, I think they deserve two medals.“

“Yes, lol. I know some riders that have taken their best runs/won whole competitions because they were blazed out of their minds.”

“I do not think it is a performance enhancer hahahah! My take on it is I think they just don’t want people looking all stoned on TV.” 

“All in all, I think it depends on the person, it might enhance their ability to calm themselves down emotionally or possibly do something different for someone… but I would have to go with the emotional or mechanical changes in the body are not significant enough to warrant it being a performance-enhancing drug.”

“Overall, I don’t think it is a performance-enhancing drug. For pow riding, cruiser days, or after lunch to get some creative vibes going it’s awesome. It’s gotta be attitude enhancing but for actual performance, I don’t really think it personally helps me.”

“I don’t think that weed is a performance-enhancing drug because it doesn’t make you stronger or spin faster…… could help stee though… so maybe it is actually.” 

“Yes. For the emotionally scattered, it’ll help allow all the other bullshit in the world to melt away.” 

“Sometimes yes and sometimes very much no… In the long run no, but I’ve done some pretty dope shit baked.”

“Heyoo, my answer is a big fat no & anyone who says otherwise is a liar.” 

“I think weed can steady your aim while simultaneously reducing you giving a shit what you’re shooting at… meth is a helluva motivator. “

“Obviously it is. Unfortunately, I’m allergic to the stuff and that’s why I never went pro.”

“Weed is a drug that I think many snowboarders use as a sense of relaxation and creativity. In some riders, it can spark new ideas and more of a flow to their riding. I have also seen as well as experienced a loss of motivation to push snowboarding to the next level because of weed. It depends on the brain and type of person, but I don’t believe it is “performance enhancing.”

“No, it’s not universally a performance-enhancing drug. It’s not a PED for everybody. With the right training regiment and mindset it can be beneficial, and may be considered a PED for the people who are on that program haha… but other than that, it is fun.” 

“Hahaha no, I certainly do not think weed is a performance-enhancing drug. I’d say if anything it’s a performance diminisher in most cases… like competing where your reflexes need to be top-notch. Now, it could be considered a performance enhancer for your style, hahaha but no, not for competing. Which sucks because a lot of competitors I know on tour really just wanna smoke a lil’ spliff after a long training day or at night and take that edge off that comes with action sports.”

“Personally, I’ll lace directly after a doobie. I’ve been working on something for hours… then I just wonder why the hell I didn’t just smoke in the first place. Feels like I don’t deserve it though. Others can’t even strap in after smoking or would probably die.”

“Performance enhancing? Absolutely. Kinda the equivalent to taking 20 deep breaths before dropping in, except all ya gotta do is hit a few puff puff passes.”

“I suppose the only performance-enhancing side of weed is that it can calm you down, make you care a little bit less about your result, and potentially take away some of the nerves at an event. But at the same time, it can give some people anxiety and make all those “enhancements” work against them. For some, it stresses them out more at the top of a course. They are thinking about a million other things than what’s in front of them. When it comes to WADA OR USADA… it’s about competing clean. You’re not allowed to have alcohol in your system either at an event. So when you’re thinking about competing as pure as possible, than it falls into the category of competing “on” something. Which I suppose is not competing “clean”. Now mushrooms, that’s another story. That shit is a full-on enhancement in my eyes, and they can’t catch it! Microdose at an event could be some super power.”

“For certain riders it allows them to chill out. Get out of their head. It can help them be more relaxed which means more style when they are riding. Definitely not performance-enhancing for me ahahahah. It does the complete opposite of what I wrote lol.”

“Yes, if people already are in a lot of physical pain, it numbs some of that pain and makes you snowboard your best. But no, I don’t think people get better in that sense from smoking weed.”

“Not performance, but brings you into your heart space moment.”

“I don’t think weed is a performance-enhancing drug with the level of precision snowboarders need to have to perform at the highest technical level. It might take away some stress or nervous feeling of trying something new or dropping an insane line, but I wouldn’t consider it “unfair” compared to a snowboarder who hasn’t used weed.”

There you have it.