Sunday, February 08, 2009

Drugs and sports doping

I'm going to set aside my usual snarky attitude and speak seriously for a moment.

Right at the outset, believe me when I say that using performance enhancing drugs to gain a competitive edge is wrong. Those who cheat richly deserve the punishment when they're caught.

Now consider Olympic medalist Michael Phelps and a photo of a bong hit. In a strictly legalistic sense, there's no real evidence of drug use because there's no knowing what the bong contained. Yet he's lost income as a result of the photo. And honestly, folks, is anyone trying to claim that marijuana is a performance enhancing drug? It may be if you're engaged in competitive eating, but other than that probably not.

Our society has taken an almost schizophrenic approach to drug enforcement when it comes to marijuana. Our draconian laws forbid even using it for medical research. So there may be legitimate uses for marijuana, but we'll never know.

Consider the common analgesic - aspirin - which came originally from willow bark. It has obvious benefits, yet if we'd choked off all chemical investigations of willow bark, we wouldn't have aspirin.

Ultimately, Phelps is paying the price for our society's goofy attitude toward illegal drugs. We use all sorts of legal drugs meant to calm us down, make us sleep, give us better attention spans, or provide long lasting stiffies. Yet the illegal ones - whose effects may have genuine benefits rivaling those legal drugs - bring out hypocritical outrage when some high profile person uses them. It's time we set aside the hype and political posturing, and do some unbiased clinical investigation of marijuana use.

Performance benefit? Only if you're eating handfuls of Cheetos and drowning in Pepsi.

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Blogger bother yam said...

I consider it advertising -- it's only fair, right? Bruce Jenner eats Wheaties, wins the decathalon. Mike Phelps allegedly smokes marijuana, wins, what, 8 gold medals?

They should put his picture on a bag of Acapulco Gold...

7:59 PM  
Blogger David said...

What has had my ire recently is the report that Sports Illustrated says it has evidence A-Rod used anabolic steroids in 2003.

Sure, that wasn't on the banned list for baseball *but it is a felony* anyhow.

That's fine, but a dude taking a bong hit—bad.

12:41 AM  
Blogger lemmiwinks said...

Everyone likes to laugh it off, but smoking dope can very lead to psychotic episodes and in extreme cases permanent mental illness in the form of schizophrenia. See here.

I went to school with a few people who smoked it and they were dumb losers. I've got no sympathy for Phelps at all, besides having his face disappear from a few crummy boxes of sugar laden cereal is hardly going to put him on welfare. Sheesh.

2:02 AM  
Blogger Ed W said...

The study linking cannabis and psychosis is possibly in error - unless you happen to be a government official with a vested interest in promoting hype and fear.

(And how did you put a hyperlink in comments? I haven't figured out how to do that.)

Apparently some of the studies did not screen for other drug usage, especially stimulants. Calm people simply go to sleep when they're tired, but if you've ever been around someone deep into sleep deprivation - say 70 hours and up - hallucinations and bizarre ideation are commonplace. And that's without drugs.

4:27 PM  
Blogger lemmiwinks said...

Hi Ed, you use the <a> tag.

<a href="">link text goes here</a>

We'll have to agree to disagree about dope being harmless :-)

11:00 PM  

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