Does marijuana make you a better gamer?
As the government officially declares that marijuana has no health benefits, some members of the gaming community insist that smoking pot can make you a better gamer.
Do you happen to be one of those rare people who believes that a little marijuana can improve your shooting skills?
It's an important question as, on Friday, the government declared that pot has no medical benefits whatsoever. Indeed, its opinion is that it should remain in the same class of drug as heroin.
Others, however, argue that the drug isn't completely without merit. Simultaneously, you see, the gaming and marijuana communities have been debating whether pot makes video game players more at one with their controllers.
Culture magazine, for example, insists that using marijuana while gaming is not entirely unlike using steroids while smacking a baseball. It quotes Alex Walker, the tournament director of the World Cyber Games, as saying: "I've seen a number of players at national tournaments who came in 'baked' purely so they could play better."
As the magazine goes on to say, "cannabis' influence on better play is hardly a trade secret." But even on that count, not everyone agrees. Just a couple of years ago, the government's drug czar was very confident that marijuana actively impairs your gaming skills. He made a video to prove his point.
This, sadly, was ridiculed (I have embedded one example below) to the degree that I can no longer find it on the government's "Above the Influence" anti-drugs site.
Culture magazine is certain that most gamers would admit (privately, of course) that cannabis makes them play better. But it doesn't use only anecdotal evidence to make its point. It also talks about work from the Groningen Mental Enhancement Department in the Netherlands, which recently completed a year-long study with Alzheimer's patients.
In it, those subjects who gamed and smoked pot had 43 percent better memory retention than those who merely gamed. Naturally, one will still have to leap to conclude with certainty that, given these results, pot will help everyone game better, especially as not every drug effects every human being in the same way.
However, there is surely much more evidence to be culled in order to discover a correlation that might persuade, say, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, and the great Barry Bonds, should they seek a new career in the gaming profession.
Perhaps some anonymous commenter might offer us further enlightenment about whether lighting up a certain quality of weed improves the quality of one's hand-eye coordination.