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02 July 2014

We're All David Rigert's Bitches: Smoke Em If You Got Em, Because Science Is A Liar Sometimes, 2- The Weed Edition


"I think we should legalize marijuana in this country.  So pot heads have nothing to talk about ever again. Come on, it does get a little annoying after a while… “Hey you want to get high?” No. “Why not?” Because I’m not in the 7th grade anymore and I have things to do. Why don’t you grow up and do coke like an adult?"
- Daniel Tosh

Before I start this segment, I'll just say I side with Daniel Tosh on the subject of weed.  I've smoked it maybe a dozen times and with the exception of one hilarious evening, all it's done is make me shitty at Grand Theft Auto, occasionally make me sleepy, and generally bore the piss out of me.  If I wanted that for an evening, I'd just befriend this weird-assed pillhead who dragged myself and the girl I was dating at the time back to his house for a foursome, whereupon we were forced to sit through most of a Steve Harvey standup before I finally just stood up and fucking left about halfway through.  Weed is to fun what Steve Harvey is to funny, which is to say not at all.  In any event, the subject of weed and sports performance is often discussed on message boards, and it seems only to be contended by potheads too stupid to formulate an argument or virgins who have nothing better to do than proselytize their sad little drug free lives from the safety of their parents' basement.


I do believe this man could make Whoopie Goldberg seem funny by comparison.

Perhaps the most annoying thing about the debate is that none of the participants apparently know any pro-level strength athletes, because everyone one of them I know takes whatever drugs they can find by the handful.  Of the top of my head, I know people who pop vicodin like tic tacs; a badass bench specialist whose idea of the ultimate preworkout is cheque tabs, weed, and beer; two epic, top tier powerlifters in the 181 and 220 weight classes who smoke more weed than Harold, Kumar, Cheech, and Chong combined; bodybuilders who will smoke weed, blow lines, drink their faces off, and then knock themselves out with GHB at the end of the night, and so on.  And fuck me if I know a single high level lifter who doesn't love coke and adderall.  Thus, this whole conversation is fucking stupid because elite athletes love drugs and will both take them and excel with them.  As such, the effects of weed on lifting are basically immaterial.  Nevertheless, people want me to do their research for them, so I shall.



Prior to 1900, only 140 cases of lung cancer had been identified, and smoking cigarettes is directly blamed for the prevalence of lung cancer these days.  Hilariously, the scientists seem to completely ignore the advent of the internal combustion engine and other modern air pollution in identifying smoking as the sole reason for the rise the incidence of cancer, but the link between lung cancer and smoking seems to be pretty strong.    Because of this, any idea that smoking might have beneficial effects has been overlooked in Big Brother's insanely devoted attempts to save you from yourself.  As we covered in the last entry in this series, smoking does seem to have some beneficial effects after all, and plenty of high level strength athletes have and still smoke with no apparent ill effects on their training.



This, then, brings us to the subject of cannabis, which is a polarizing topic no less contentious or stupid than gay marriage, in spite of the fact that it might be the most innocuous activity since hoop rolling was invented for bored frontier children.  Cannabis has been a point of contention for governments around the world for centuries, and while it's waxed and waned in popularity, it's never really fallen out of favor with a significant segment of the population.  Though no significant health problems have ever been associated with cannabis  (some studies do show very mild brain trauma over extended periods of heavy use, however), and in spite of the fact that cannabis is not considered to be addictive, it's been more maligned than its ostensibly more harmful cousin, the cigarette, for the last hundred years.  As such, it's thrust upon us to determine for ourselves whether or not it's going to fuck up our gains (in spite of the fact I've already established that it matters not in any case).


I've never seen a hacky sack game devolve into headhunting, but apparently getting high does not slake bloodlust in Taiwan.

Since its first recorded use in the 3rd millenia BC in China (though there is evidence it was used 10,000 years ago by the indigenous headhunters of Taiwan), everyone from mystics to warriors to lay people have used cannabis, in just about every corner of the world.  To this day, it remains the most widely used psychoactive drug, which seems to be a check in the box marked awesome if you enjoy giggling like a college girl at a frat party and exhibiting a level of intellect commensurate with those gibbering nitwits.  What is interesting, however, is the fact that cannabis was in heavy use by warrior cultures for two thousand years, and that many of the toughest warrior cultures on the planet were renown for their cannabis use.  Chief among them were:



  • the Scythians, a tribe of sexually egalitarian psychotics (the women had to kill three men in battle before they could marry) who "fought to live and lived to fight" who lived in Southern Russia (Bennet).  Nomadic badasses on horseback, the Scythians were the guys who popularized scalping, and they actually wore cloaks made of their enemies' scalps and drank from gilded skullcaps.  It's hard to imagine a pack of badasses harder than these guys, and what makes this particularly odd is that they were apparently high as fuck, 24/7.  Dave Chappelle likely wishes he could have hung with these guys on smoking, as Herodotus recounted at some length the Scythians' love of cannabis, and that love was spread to surrounding areas as the Scythians' sphere of influence spread (Ibid, Frater).
  • the Cimmerians, the tribe of violent lunatics whom the Scythians displaced, and who are credited with domesticating the horse.  The Cimmerians were so tough that just about the only phrases we have from their language all have "strength" in them, they were led into battle by priestesses who would slit the throats of prisoners and dissect others for divination into the outcome of battle, and when they were finally being pushed out of their homeland, the Cimmerian nobility just separated into teams like they were going to play kickball and proceeded to slaughter each other so they'd not be buried on foreign soil.  Like the Scythians, Herodotus commented on their cannabis use, stating they would have "spirit sessions" in sweat lodges wherein they would throw cannabis onto hot stones (Carlile 53).
  • the Mongols, conquerors of the largest bit of landmass in history.  The Mongols were purportedly incredibly fond of hashish, a habit they may well have picked up from either the Chinese, who had been using cannabis prior to 3000 BC, or from the Persians.
  • the Hashashin (Assassins), a tribe of Persian ninjas who were so fond of hash that they were named after it.  The Hashashin were renown for their ferocity in battle and their skill at assassination alike, in addition to their love of sweet, sweet hash.  Though they were eventually wiped out by the Mongols after trying to assassinate Genghis's grandson, Möngke Khan, they remain legends for being badasses who were higher than a Red Bull promotional parachute drop from space.
  • the Huns, the band of Turkic tribesmen who swept across Central Asia and Eastern Europe like locusts, laying waste to everything on which they could lay hands.  Invariably described as vicious, bloodthirsty, and stout badasses, the Huns smoked cannabis as part of shamanistic rituals in worship of their surroundings (Waldman 397).
  • the Goths and Celts, tribes who fought against both the incursions of the Romans and the Huns at various times, and who were well known in antiquity for being tall, muscular, and pants-shittingly brutal warriors as well as epic partiers.  The Goths apparently used cannabis as an aphrodisiac during an erotic festival in honor of the warrior goddess Freya, while the Celts seem to have preferred hash.  Either way, weed did not get in the way of brutality for either of these two broadsword wielding bands of maniacs (Wikipedia).
  • the Vikings, sail boating, hard drinking slayers of monks and conquerors of the British Isles.  Though there's no first-hand accounts of the Vikings' use of cannabis for its psychoactive purposes, it's thought that Viking sorceresses called Völvas burned cannabis seeds in a metal rattle to induce trances for religious purposes (Brady).  
  • Pehlwani, the Persian and Indian wrestlers who were legendary and dominant around the world until the beginning of the 20th Century.  In Northern India it is still popular to drink bhang (a drink made with milk and hashish) in wrestling gymnasiums, even in instances where wrestlers abstain from participation in all other vices (alcohol, tobacco, sex, etc), and it's said that any real wrestling gym should have a special place for the preparation of bhang (Alter 320).
  • the Sikhs, a hyper-badass sect of Indians whose culture is so heavily based on being warriors that every Sikh carries a knife wherever they go and their symbol, the khanda, is nothing but their three favorite weapons slapped atop each other.  The Sikhs drink bhang as part of their religious festivals and before and during battles, and bhang can be credited with some of the most amazing battles in world history, including a famous last stand of 23 Sikhs against 10,000 Afghanis... the Sikhs lasted several hours and fought to the last man (Bennett, Bhang,  Sikh Wiki, Wiki, AND A MILLION OTHER SOURCES).  Imagine how awesome the Alamo's defenders could have been powered by bhang- Mexico would be completely depopulated of indigenous people and would be called Texas.
Why these guys were such fucking badasses, however, is a matter for some debate, because science has been saying it literally isn't possible since 1974 (Kolodny).  According to science, consumption of cannibis causes "a marked reduction in the body weight and in the weights of seminal vesicles, ventral prostate, epididymis, preputial gland and perineal complex (Penis and its bulb and levator ani muscle)" and "in combination with testosterone propionate (TP) [inhibits] growth stimulation produced by TP alone" (Dixit).  In other words, cannabis is anti-androgenic and might shrink your dick... if you're a castrated mouse.  Interestingly, however, it does not cause the purported ill effects on testosterone and estrogen levels in humans we once thought (Cushman, Block).  In Block's study, chronic marijuana use had no effect on on testosterone, luteinizing hormone, follicle stimulating hormone, prolactin, and cortisol, and in another study, not only was no effect shown on test levels from smoking, but it was shown that chronic (get it?  Chronic?) smokers had considerably higher test levels than people who didn't smoke "dat ciggaweed" (Block, Mendelson).


Consider my test raised.

Does that mean chronic cannabis use over lengthy periods of time increases serum testosterone levels?  Not necessarily.  It might just mean people with naturally high testosterone levels seem to be drawn to getting high.  Regardless, it appears cannabis is not the testicle-destroying harbinger of estrogenic doom it's made out to be in the media.  Given its use by the aforementioned face-smashing hellspawn outlined above, it might seem that cannabis might have some positive effects on one's performance.  There is absolutely no evidence to support that contention in scientific literature, but one might get a performance boost conferred by weed through fearlessness, particularly in the form of fear memory extinction and decreased anxiety.  If you've ever hurt yourself training, weed might help you overcome that fear, just as it likely helped ancient warriors forget about the pain of having their limbs smashed and guts ripped open in previous battles (Mateus).  According to one researcher, cannabis
"this substance can only indirectly improve performance—it can have a euphoric effect, reducing anxiety and increasing the sociability of a player who may be particularly nervous before an important match. It can also have a relaxing effect after the game. In this way, cannabis can be considered as a doping product that calms the mind. It has already been described that use of cannabis in sporting environments is basically motivated by the effects of relaxation and well being, allowing the user to sleep more easily. However, if consumed regularly, it risks harming performance and motivation" (Saugy).
Dude's arms are fucking ridiculous and he smokes more weed than Bob Marley's entire family.

So, there you have it- weed hasn't hurt Ricky Williams' ridiculous tricep development, anyone's battlefield prowess, or the Indian wrestlers' dominance of the squared circle.  Quite the contrary, in fact, it may have even helped- if nothing else, it makes you fearless and gives you a brutal appetite. I'm not saying it would necessarily make the ideal preworkout, as it causes and "increase in heart rate and blood pressure, decline of cardiac output and reduced psychomotor activity", none of which are ideal for athletic performance, but that's not to say you can't toke up after your workout (Campos).  Should you decide to partake, I've no recommendations to make since I don't bother with the shit myself.  There are two strains, however, and according to High Times:
"As a connoisseur smoker there is nothing like a sativa high. The sativas are like a Chateau Lafitte Rothschild ’65: A fine wine that tastes even better with age. I’ve smoked sativas that have been cured for more than 24 months and the high had no ceiling, meaning that with every new joint you smoked you just got higher and higher. With the indicas I find the effect to be quite universal across multiple different strains. It is usually a couch-locked “I wanna sit and play Playstation” kind of feeling. That being said, it is actually the indicas that have the strongest analgesic effect when it comes to medical cannabis, it’s usually the sativas that have a higher amount of THC compared to CBDs" (Resin)."
So, there you have it- feel free to smoke weed if you've got it, because the bullshit you've heard online, in the gym, and was just old, bad science making you look like a bitch.



Sources:
Alter, Joseph.  The "sannyasi" and the Indian Wrestler: The Anatomy of a Relationship.  American Ethnologist, Vol. 19, No. 2 (May, 1992), pp. 317-336.

Archer, Dale.  Is marijuana addictive?  Psychology Today.  5 May 2012.  Web.  1 Jul 2014.  http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/reading-between-the-headlines/201205/is-marijuana-addictive

Barnett G, Chiang CW, Licko V.  Effects of marijuana on testosterone in male subjects.  J Theor Biol. 1983 Oct 21;104(4):685-92.

Bennett, Chris.  Sikhs and Cannabis.  Cannabis Culture.  24 Dec 2009.  Web.  3 Jul 2014.  http://www.cannabisculture.com/node/21460

Bhang.  Sikhi Wiki.  Web.  3 Jul 2014.  http://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php/Bhang

Block RI, Farinpour R, Schlechte JA.  Effects of chronic marijuana use on testosterone, luteinizing hormone, follicle stimulating hormone, prolactin and cortisol in men and women.  Drug Alcohol Depend. 1991 Aug;28(2):121-8.

Brady, M. Michael.  The Viking drug mystery explored.  4 Apr 2014.  Web.  2 Jul 2014.  http://theforeigner.no/pages/columns/the-viking-drug-mystery-explored/

Campos DR, Yonamine M, de Moraes Moreau RL.  Marijuana as doping in sports.  Sports Med. 2003;33(6):395-9.

Carlile, Dennis J.  Rimbaud - The Works: A Season in Hell; Poems and Prose; Illuminations.  Bloomington: Xlibris, 2000.

Cushman P Jr.  Plasma testosterone levels in healthy male marijuana smokers.  Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 1975;2(2):269-75.

Dixit VP, Lohiya NK.  Effects of Cannabis extract on the response of accessory sex organs of adult male mice to testosterone.  Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 1975 Apr-Jun;19(2):98-100.

Entheogenic use of cannabis.  Wikipedia.  Web.  2 Jul 2014.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entheogenic_use_of_cannabis

Frater, Jamie.  Top 10 Interesting Facts about the Scythians.  Listverse.  5 Jan 2010.  Web.  23 Jun 2014.  http://listverse.com/2010/01/05/top-10-interesting-facts-about-the-scythians/

Gumbiner, Jann.  History of Cannabis in India.  Psychology Today.  16 Jun 2011.  Web.  24 Jun 2014.
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-teenage-mind/201106/history-cannabis-in-india

Kolodny RC, Masters WH, Kolodner RM, Toro G.  Depression of plasma testosterone levels after chronic intensive marihuana use.  N Engl J Med. 1974 Apr 18;290(16):872-4.

Mateus M, Bergamaschi MM, Alexandre J, Crippa S.  Why should Cannabis be Considered Doping in Sports?  Front Psy.  2013 May;4:32.

Saugy M, Avois L, Saudan C, Robinson N, Giroud C, Mangin P, Dvorak J. Cannabis and sport. J Sports Med. Jul 2006; 40(Suppl 1): i13–i15.

Waldman, Carl and Catherine Mason. Encyclopedia of European Peoples.  New York City: Facts on File, 2006.

19 comments:

  1. You made a mistake in the first and last sentences.

    A lot of those groups did it as a religious thing. If you were going to come up with your own stupid ceremony to help you, I don't know, kill everyone in South Africa or maybe get a job relevant to your degree, how would it go?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi, use of all intoxicants is frowned upon in Sikhism. Tobacco is as much a taboo for Sikhs as alcohol is for Muslims. Though, nowadays copious amounts of alcohol is consumed by all. Where did you come across this info about Bhang being consumed by Sikhs before battle, I would like to see some citations please. Thanks.

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    Replies
    1. Although never actually mentioned in the film, I believe it's fairly obvious by his slow mumbling and laid back appearance that at least Darth Sidious was a fan of smoking doobies. As master of the sikh, it would make sense that other sikhs would have followed suit. With a calmer mind, less mistakes would have been made during sabre fights.

      Delete
    2. I assumed there was no need for citations because it's readily available information. I've added cites to the article, and here are more:

      Bhang (Punjabi: ਭਾਂਗ s ), a beverage prepared from the leaves and flowers (buds) of the female cannabis plant, has a long history of use in the Indian subcontinent. Although drugs and alcohol are prohibited in Sikhism, Nihangs are traditionally very fond of bhang, which they call "Sukhni Dhaan" meaning "Giver or peace" or "Sukkha Prasad" i.e. "Peace-Giver".

      Bhang. Sikhi Wiki. Web. 3 Jul 2014. http://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php/Bhang

      Nihang Sikhs of Punjab, who are defenders of historic Sikh shrines, are an exception and consume an intoxicant called bhang (cannabis) to help in meditation saying that it is puratan maryada (Punjabi for "old tradition"). Bhang is common in India; according to a legend, even the Hindu God Shiva was fond of bhang and it became his favourite food. In 2001, Baba Santa Singh, the Jathedar of Budha Dal, along with 20 chiefs of Nihang sects refused to accept the ban on the consumption of bhang by the highest Sikh clergy. Baba Santa Singh was excommunicated and replaced with Baba Balbir Singh, who agreed to shun the consumption of bhang.

      Prohibitions in Sikhism. Wikipedia. Web. 3 Jul 2014. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prohibitions_in_Sikhism

      Delete

    3. In a chapter on “Social and Religious Customs” the INDIAN HEMP DRUGS COMMISSION REPORT also identified a role for cannabis in the later Sikh religion of the Punjab region which began in the 16th century AD:
      "Among the Sikhs the use of bhang as a beverage appears to be common, and to be associated with their religious practices. The witnesses who refer to this use by the Sikhs appear to regard it as an essential part of their religious rites having the authority of the Granth or Sikh scripture. Witness Sodhi Iswar Singh, Extra Assistant Commissioner, says: “As far as I know, bhang is pounded by the Sikhs on the Dasehra day, and it is ordinarily binding upon every Sikh to drink it as a sacred draught by mixing water with it.” Legend--Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth guru, the founder of the Sikh religion, was on the gaddi of Baba Nanak in the time of Emperor Aurangzeb. When the guru was at Anandpur, tahsil Una, Hoshiarpur district, engaged in battle with the Hill Rajas of the Simla, Kangra, and the Hoshiarpur districts, the Rains sent an elephant, who was trained in attacking and slaying the forces of the enemy with a sword in his trunk and in breaking open the gates of forts, to attack and capture the Lohgarh fort near Anandpur. The guru gave one of his followers, Bachittar Singh, some bhang and a little of opium to eat, and directed him to face the said elephant. This brave man obeyed the word of command of his leader and attacked the elephant, who was intoxicated and had achieved victories in several battles before, with the result that the animal was overpowered and the Hill Rajas defeated. The use of bhang, therefore, on the Dasehra day is necessary as a sacred draught.

      In 2001 the apex Sikh clergy instituted a prohibition of cannabis products as part of their “campaign against drug addiction” and this was vehemently rejected by the Nihang leader Baba Santa Singh, along with 20 other chiefs of the sect. As the Indian paper THE TRIBUNE recorded “Baba Santa Singh pointed out that the consumption of ‘bhang’ among the Nihangs was not a new phenomenon. He said it had been going on ever since the Nihangs came into existence and fought battles against Mughal and Afghan invaders” (THE TRIBUNE, 2001) As a result of his refusal to accept of the prohibition of cannabis products, Baba Santa Singh was excommunicated and replaced by Baba Balbir Singh who complied with the apex Sikh clergy’s ban on the use of hemp, and although many Nihang still reject this prohibition, in orthodox circles this controversial ban has been maintained until the present.

      Bennett, Chris. Sikhs and Cannabis. Cannabis Culture. 24 Dec 2009. Web. 3 Jul 2014. http://www.cannabisculture.com/node/21460

      There's a couple of references to get you started, and all you have to do is google "sikhs cannabis" "sikhs bhang" and "nihang bhang" for more.

      Delete
  3. a few things which support the sports enhancement concepts related to marijuana use are the effects of cannabidiol with regard to anti-inflammatory, anti-convulsant, and antioxidant properties. I'm mobile right now so I can't provide direct resources but some research in this area may provide some significant weight to your argument.

    ReplyDelete
  4. The modern cigarette was invented 20-30 years prior to 1900 with the invention of machinery to roll them. Prior to that, they weren't particularly popular. That may explain the lack of lung cancer deaths.

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  5. Biggest thing I took from this article is smoke and sniff whatever you want if your still a pussy its your attitude not the drugs makiing you weak!
    Coke a pre-workout is interesting, having used both ephedrine (still legal in the land of bad teeth!) and speed (not so legal!) as pre-workouts I imagine the effect would just be a super-strong version as i believe there all amphetamines...? Enjoyable article as ever!

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    Replies
    1. A lot of powerlifters in the 90s used come as a preworkout.

      Delete
  6. This article takes me back to my 17 year old days, where me and a couple friends would rip cones in between sets of squatting and benching, followed by a couple joints and then good old fashioned bare-knuckle boxing. We would get so pumped on those nights, lol. Great job on the article, an enjoyable read as always.

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