Playing games high has been a thing ever since video games were invented. Depending on your age, maybe you have memories of sessions on the Atari or Nintendo accompanied by a fresh dime bag of some “really good shit.”
They’ve also gone hand in hand with one another for the stigmas they’ve suffered over time: while greater society has viewed cannabis consumers as lazy, gamers have been wrongfully categorized in an incredibly similar fashion, with the “video games are rotting your kids’ brains” sentiment somewhat on par with Reefer Madness.
Recent findings are revealing that doom and gloom predictions aren’t the case for either pastime, and more people are recognizing that in moderation, cannabis has a wide variety of health benefits and gaming tends to have profoundly positive effects on a person’s cognitive abilities.
To take it a step further, many gamers believe weed consumption actually has a positive impact on focus, reflex, real-time innovation, and overall performance.
But why is that?
And does consuming cannabis before gaming actually improve your focus and skill, or does it just feel that way in the moment?
Playing Games High: Helpful or Hindersome?
It’s no secret that cannabis has had a profoundly positive impact on athletes throughout the world, but despite the available research and anecdotal evidence, most major sports leagues still outlaw cannabis use for their players.
The esports arena experiences the same contradiction, as the Electronic Sports League (ESL) has made drug testing mandatory for their players, and cannabis lives on the list of banned substances (although players are only restricted from weed consumption on tournament days, and permitted to utilize the plant throughout their training).
As frustrating as this restriction is for competitive gamers, it also speaks to the enhancing effect cannabis seems to have on the gaming process, as evidenced by limited available research, anecdotal research, and one of the most reliable sources of information out there: raw, unfiltered Internet echo chambers.
Gaming Research is Limited, But We Can Deduce From General Cannabis Findings
Research around cannabis’s effect on gaming is incredibly limited and begs to be explored further. However, there are quite a few things we can ascertain based on the requirements for proficient gaming and the existing research on cannabis’s effects.
The actual act of gaming aside, let’s take a look at the sort of skills required to successfully play and win: unwavering focus, quick cognition, muscle memory retention, and cat-like reflexes.
Keeping that in mind, we can easily reference cannabis's effect on each of these aspects based on the research that has supported cannabis’s medical communities throughout the nation for years.
- Cannabis can help boost focus. Although classic stoner stereotypes revolve around the lazy, hungry, and forgetful trope, studies have revealed that cannabis might actually have a positive effect on a person’s ability to focus.
The plant is recognized for boosting dopamine levels in the brain, which directly correlates to stimulated (and increased) mental focus. Gaming is known to have the same dopamine-boosting effect on a person’s noggin, so it’s safe to assume that the combined power of cannabis and gaming would only increase that release further.
- Cannabis may increase cognitive abilities. Again, many people might assume that cannabis would have a negative effect on a person’s cognition, but studies have revealed the opposite.
While your cognitive performance may slightly decline if you’re under the influence of a significant amount of weed, finding that sweet spot can result in heightened performance, processing, decision-making, and overall assessment of your surroundings and environment.
In turn, several studies have revealed that gaming improves a person’s cognitive skills and decision-making abilities. Pairing cannabis with a gaming sesh might just result in you performing at a higher capacity and quality than ever before – as long as your dosage level is just right.
- Cannabis can have a lasting and positive effect on a person’s memory. Studies have revealed that cannabis can improve a person’s working memory: a.k.a., the part of short-term memory that is concerned with immediate conscious perceptual and linguistic processing.
This means cannabis consumption might help consumers make decisions in real time, process things with ease and confidence, and react to their surroundings more effectively than normal.
These qualities are all essential for successful gaming, as video games often require users to remain highly engaged, hyperaware, and consistently and confidently poised for their next move.
While cannabis can aid your working memory, playing video games is recognized for having a long-term and positive effect on a person’s overall memory. When fused, the two acts are much more likely to have a beneficial effect on your mind than a negative or damaging one.
- Cannabis might have a positive effect on a person’s reflexes over time. Just as studies have revealed that cannabis might improve cognition, many researchers believe cannabis has a beneficial impact on human reaction time and motor control: a.k.a., reflexes.
Quick reflexes are essential to gaming success – perhaps more so than any other factor. And while reflexes are required to win, gaming over and over again seems to naturally improve mental processing, allowing for quicker reaction times that don’t sacrifice accuracy.
Specific research on playing video games high might remain limited, but examining things from a skill-by-skill lens allows us to decently understand how the plant can positively impact gamers in the long-run.
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