Marijuana: a medicinal herb, but not for surfing | Photo: Creative Commons

Surfers have always smoked cannabis to enhance the wave riding experience and the connection with the ocean. But the flipside of relaxation might make you think twice before lighting a pre-surf marijuana joint.

In theory, you don't need to smoke pot to experience the thrill of surfing at its purest form. If you need an extra metaphysical sensation, try closing eyes while trimming a wave towards the sun.

In practice, there's nothing more straightforward - smoke is not good for your health. And surfing already is an addiction itself.

With the advent of Weedmaps and the growing movement for the legalization of recreational marijuana, the cannabis culture is quietly leaving the underground world and becoming a trendy lifestyle topic.

Some might say we're about to become marijuana-induced zombies; others prefer to highlight the benefits of cannabis in human health.

Scientists have been studying the properties of marijuana for a long time now. We've been told that cannabis can be used to treat glaucoma, inflammatory bowel diseases, and anxiety, and eases the pain associated with chemo and multiple sclerosis.

Surfing: you don't need pot to get high | Photo: Shutterstock

That's true, and there's more. The medical benefits of weed also include the prevention of epileptic seizures, the killing of cancer cells, the reduction of arthritis discomfort and the tremors for people with Parkinson's disease.

But should we mix marijuana and sports? Is it wise to smoke a marijuana cigarette before going surfing?

In a time when surfing stoned is once again a reality in some of the world's most crowded lineups, we decided to list the negative effects of surfing while high.

The downsides of smoking weed and catching waves should make us think. But, as always, it will end up being a very personal choice. Is it really worth it to surf stoned? Maybe not. Here's why:

1. Balance: THC interferes with the cerebellum and basal ganglia, the brain areas that regulate balance, posture, and coordination;
2. Reaction Time: pot lowers the reaction time, which will impact on wave analysis, and decision-making;
3. Disorientation: make no mistake - Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) will make you lose the sense of reality, and you may feel uncomfortable and disorientated;
4. Paranoia and Fear: if you smoke more marijuana than your body allows you to, the anxiety levels will skyrocket, and the psychoactive constituent of cannabis will rule your ride. In big wave conditions, expect an increase in fear levels and loss of confidence;
5. Heart Palpitations: weed accelerates your heart rate and the risk of suffering a heart attack increases;
6. Coughing and Mucus: cannabis particles, and smoking in general, irritate the throat and lungs, making it harder for you to paddle for waves.
7. Short-Term Memory: smoking marijuana affects the cognitive performance, so how will you remember a great surfing session if you're high?