Is Pot A Performance-Enhancer?

by Patrick Appel

American judo competitor Nicholas Delpopolohas been kicked out of the Olympics after testing positive for marijuana. Brendan Ferreri-Hanberry reviews the rulebook:

Information from the World Anti-Doping Agency suggests that anti-doping policies in sports are simply concerned with performance-enhancing substances which might give the user an unfair advantage, including stimulants and anabolic steroids. However, caffeine, a stimulant, is not on the list of prohibited substances, while marijuana metabolites are. The justification for this is not clear. Enhancement of athletic performance has not been proven, and there is no evidence that past marijuana use would endanger competitors. 

He asks: "is this simply a concession to the prohibitionist attitudes of authorities who wish to police athletes’ personal lives?" Ossian Shine searches for a rationale:

While it is generally accepted that cannabis is unlikely to give athletes a performance advantage in fast-paced sports, some experts say it could prove helpful in sports like shooting or golf where a steady hand is needed.

Update from a reader:

How can you suggest marijuana's not a performance enhancer for the Olympics? What about the high jump?