Cannabis use up among young athletes, says expert (4)

(Nordic Focus)
7/29/2015 10:44 AM
Category: Society

Board member of the Anti-Doping Agency Kristjan Port said cannabis use, instead of alcohol, is increasing in popularity among young athletes as a means of releasing pressure, citing the case of ski jumper Siim-Tanel Sammelselg, who recently failed a test for cannabis.

Sammelselg tested positive for cannabis at the beginning of July, when entering the mandatory conscription service in a special group for athletes. He has now been ejected from the group and will have to serve the entire 11 months in the military, instead of focusing on ski-jumping training, Eesti Päevaleht reported.

“Cannabis is certainly not taken to enhance sports results, but is used in a similar way to alcohol – in the evenings to relax. It has been widely said that cannabis does not cause a hangover in the morning, and that is why it has arrived in the sporting world. If an athlete wants to release great stress and take part in social activities outside his teammates, then cannabis seems to be a popular compromise compared to alcohol,” Port said.

He said cannabis, like alcohol, does more harm than good for athletes. Sammelselg's father told the daily that ejection from the athletes' conscription group, which is made up of young sports hopefuls who are allowed time off and a shorter conscription service, is not as damaging as losing sponsors.

All new conscripts are tested for drugs and out of 9,000 young men and women who have joined the service in the past three years, 145 have tested positive for illegal drugs.

J.M. Laats

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