Famously, taking cannabis has an adverse effect upon driving: it leads to a worsening of cognitive skills like judgement and anticipation, executive functions like risk-taking and reaction time. Playing computer games while stoned is another matter entirely.

Cannabis could improve your performance at computer games for a surprising number of reasons. Photo: Kristinn Sigur?sson

Cannabis could improve your performance at computer games for a surprising number of reasons. Photo: Kristinn Sigurusson

Cannabis improves situational awareness

Cannabidiol is the secondmost common ingredient of cannabis after tetrahydrocannabinol. It doesn’t make you stoned and has a calming effect. This could improve situational awareness and decision-making. Won’t that result in better game performance?

Cannabis alters your perception of time

Cannabis alters your perception of time, prolonging those moments that are worth savouring. As Dr. Zach Walsh, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, explained, “Cannabis improves all types of things that are related to being present in the moment as opposed to long-term planning and worrying and ordering and organising.”

Cannabis lessens anxiety

Cannabis reduces anxiety. People forget about their worries and are therefore better able to devote their attention to games. Gamers often claim that they play better while stoned, even if the game is extremely fast-paced, like Counter-Strike or Overwatch..

Cannabis is what you want when you’re put in an entirely new environment

Playing computer games requires you to direct your attention to an environment radically different to that to which you’re accustomed. You must make yourself open to ideas that would normally be strange to you. Cannabis helps with these.

Cannabis improves attention

Computer games frequently call for a spotlight-like focus on a particular target, perhaps following some small object around a screen while other, similar targets swirl around. Time for some cannabis. Or you might have to zone out and repeat a procession of repetitive or alternating patterns. If you’re stoned, this will be less boring.

Cannabis makes for better problem-solving

Cannabis improves your problem-solving abilities. Stoned, you’re more likely to discover a novel use for an item or a clever combination of inventory ingredients.

OK, so cannabis worsens short-term recall

One drawback of cannabis is that it worsens your short-term recall, which will come as no surprise to anybody who ever lost track of their thoughts mid-conversation while stoned. In games where you explore, such as adventures or role-playing games, being under the influence is a bad thing. In a situation like this, keep an eye on your icons and save often.

The clincher

The World Anti-Doping Agency is the body that leads the global struggle against doping in sport. It considers cannabis to be a performance-enhancing drug. Cannabis enhances the performance of athletes who have to concentrate; it improves vision; it relaxes muscles; and it reduces anxiety, so there’s less pressure. Penalties are levied against athletes who test positive for cannabis. When contemplating whether cannabis usage improves performance at computer games, the clincher is that the Electronic Sports League tests players for cannabis prior to competitions.

Leafly, the largest cannabis website in the world, rated computer games according to how often they received a mention in reviews of cannabis strains. The most popular were, in order, Call of Duty, Minecraft, and Grand Theft Auto.

Eek! Coming soon: the cannabis breathalyser

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