Snowboarding and cannabis - a perfect marriage?

Snowboarding and cannabis - a perfect marriage?
Adam Parsons

Snowboarding and cannabis have quite a bit in common, and the two are usually enjoyed hand-in-hand to enhance the experiences they have to offer.

Extreme sports and cannabis might seem like they occupy opposing ends of the spectrum, with one inducing a state of adrenaline and flow, and the other relaxing the body and mind. However, when it comes to snowboarding, the two seem to be an ideal pair.

Snowboarding and cannabis have a relationship that appears to go back to the very roots of the sport. Weed has played a part in the rise of snowboarding as a counterculture movement, all the way to controversy that occurred during the Olympic games. Despite the herb being a controlled substance, legends of the sport have recounted always seeing fellow snowboarders puffing out smoke on the slopes.


It’s quite easy to see why the two really do go hand-in-hand. Cannabis itself is known to activate the dopamine reward system of the brain, and can be enough to even make sitting on the couch and taking hits seem like something exciting, while on the other hand giving you a calm and cool state of mind.[1]

Now, imagine this stimulus in an environment where you are bombing down slopes at crazy speeds, with snowy mountain views, immensely fresh air, and a group of close friends who have formed bonds over adrenaline rushes. The experience is described by many as nothing short of euphoric.


Red-eyed olympians

Perhaps the most publicity the link between cannabis and snowboarding has ever received occurred as a result of Olympic controversy. The year was 1998, and professional snowboarder Ross Rebagliati had become the first gold medallist within the history of the sport.

However, the praise for his success was short-lived by many due to testing positive for cannabis after the event. Despite rustling some feathers, Rebagliati was allowed to keep his gold medal due to cannabis being absent from the list of controlled substances at the time.


The combination of cannabis and snowboarding is now largely accepted and mostly viewed as a casual affair. Legalization within snowboarding meccas like the state of Colorado has vastly normalized cannabis use within the adrenaline-spiking activity. The abundance of dispensaries is a draw for snow-seeking tourists who also enjoy the herb, and is certainly enough to tempt them to visit the state over many other mountainous destinations.

Although marijuana is still considered a drug by the World Anti-Doping Agency, the level of allowed THC in an athletes system has been raised in 2013 to 10 times it’s prior amount and any athlete is now allowed to have up to 150 nanogram per milliliter in his or her system.


The use of cannabis in extreme sports such as snowboarding spans beyond that of just its psychoactive effects. CBD has risen in popularity within the world of sports due to its anti-inflammatory properties and potential to help athletes recover more effectively. The cannabinoid is also non-psychoactive and is not considered a controlled substance by the Olympics, allowing athletes in many sports to utilize it without the risk of being penalized.

The fact that they offer seemingly opposite effects could be the exact reason why they go so well together. Using a substance that helps to calm the mind whilst speeding down slopes at fast pace and attempting aerial tricks may offer more mental room to focus and react.


  1. ^ NCBI, A Brain on Cannabinoids: The Role of Dopamine Release in Reward Seeking, retrieved October-17-2018

Adam Parsons
Adam Parsons

As a professional cannabis journalist, author, and copywriter, Adam has been writing about all things psychoactive, CBD, and everything in between for a long time. In an ever-changing market, Adam uses his BA (Hons) Multimedia Journalism degree to keep in stride with contemporary research and contributing worthwhile information to all of his projects.