Is Cannabis Really a Performance Enhancer? Pot is a Banned Substance in Sport Despite Little Evidence it Enhances Performance

Article by Jamie Strashin, CBC Sports

ANALYSIS Pot is a banned substance in sport despite little evidence it enhances performance Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Email Cannabis is on WADA's list of banned substances, but pro leagues take varied approach Jamie Strashin · CBC Sports Dylan Moscovitch, left, and his partner Lubov Ilyusheshkina are pictured above at the Canadian figure skating championships in Halifax on Sunday, January 24, 2016. Moscovitch doesn't believe cannabis use is consistent with elite athletics. (Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press)

During his lengthy figure skating career, Dylan Moscovitch had to learn how to deal with immense pressure.

He also had to deal with the physical rigours of the sport. He navigated both successfully, retiring earlier this year after a career that included multiple podium finishes, Canadian championships and an Olympic silver medal.

There were lots of things Moscovitch did (all legal) during his career to gain a physical and mental edge.

Cannabis was never one of them.

“I don’t think I would make it through a program,” Moscovitch laughed when asked if he ever contemplated skating high.

“It was talked about — but I don’t think athletes in my sport thought marijuana would be a performance-enhancing drug. Alcohol is legal. Alcohol is permitted. I think a lot of people thought it was along the same lines.”

Moscovitch has stepped away from competitive skating and moved on to the next chapter of his life. And even though recreational cannabis is now legal in Canada, he still believes acknowledging or promoting its usage can damage an athlete’s reputation.

“I think it would taint what I’ve done and probably change people’s view of me as an athlete and a person,” he said.

Use not consistent with elite athletics

Moscovitch says he never saw cannabis use being consistent with elite athletics.

“When you compete at a high level, you have to see yourself as a role model and you have to behave accordingly. And for younger generations, it’s important to set the tone for them so they understand what it takes to be successful. There is a weight on your shoulders that you have to adhere to those types of views.”

Since recreational cannabis became legal in Canada last month, many sectors of society have had to define rules that govern interaction with the substance.

Read the full article here.

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