Recently a 20-year, federally funded study conducted jointly by researchers at UCSF and UAB found that smoking marijuana once a week, or even once a day, did no long-term damage to the lungs. Yay for all of us on the pro-legalization side of the marijuana debate. I honestly don't see how the old folks in government can keep marijuana illegal and keep propagating that it's some harmful drug while giving us a straight face. What am I saying... The government, and anti-legalization people, will find some way to spin this. Anyways, I'm not here to opine that we should all be pro-pot or anything in that nature. This is an MMA blog and this will tie into MMA in a minute.
Now, one of the unexpected side effects, according to the study:
Dr. Stefan Kertesz, the study’s co-author, also posits that an unintended side-effect of marijuana usage is the strengthening lung tissue as a result of breathing deeply during inhalation.
And as if all that wasn’t enough, researchers found that pot smoking might actually improve lung function. "At levels of marijuana exposure commonly seen in Americans, occasional marijuana use was associated with increases in lung air flow rates and increases in lung capacity," Kertesz said.
And here is where we tie this into MMA and one of MMA's biggest self proclaimed marijuana enthusiasts, Nick Diaz. As we've all come to find out, he makes no bones about telling people he is an avid pot smoker and he was even No Contested from one of his biggest wins in his career, at the time, against Takanori Gomi at Pride 33. It was an epic fight with an absolute epic ending and, no contest aside, it put Diaz back on the map. Then, the test results came back that he had tested positive for marijuana. At the time, most were calling foul that Diaz was NC'ed from his biggest win from a drug that isn't seen as a performance enhancing drug. I recall most on the side that said it was a warranted NC claimed that the marijuana could have dulled any pain he felt in the fight and gave him an advantage in that way. Of course some people didn't agree to that point because it's all basically conjecture. In any case, the NC was never overturned, but the point remains that he beat one of the top, if not the top, lightweight at the time.
According to the study, frequent use strengthens lung tissue, albeit because of the inhalation patterns of marijuana smokers. The use of an illegal drug, makes his lungs stronger and of course Diaz is known to have a pretty sizable gas tank. I'm in no way suggesting that the sole reason he has great cardio is because of his frequent use of marijuana, but I ask, doesn't weed in this case classify as a performance enhancing drug? And if you believe that it does classify as such, what do you do from that point? Diaz pretty much taunts that he uses it often.
I'd like to know what the BE community thinks on this subject. Again, I am not claiming weed is the sole source of Diaz's cardio power. We all know he's a triathlon athlete and he's a diligent worker in the MMA gym.
What say you BE?