As the eSports world continues to grow in popularity and legitimacy, so comes the red tape we’ve all come to love about traditional sports. ESL Gaming has announced that they are working with international drug testing group NADA (who oversee drug testing policies and implementation for many popular sports) to mimic their drug testing program.
They will use saliva tests to check for the presence of a large list of performance enhancing drugs, including testosterone and Adderall, the infamous focus-enhancing ADHD medication. Those with a prescription will be allowed to use the performance enhancer as long as they have a prescription.
It’s unclear whether medicinal cannabis will be tolerated. The next major event will take place in Germany, so it’s unlikely that competitors from US states with medical marijuana programs will be given a free pass to consume during the event. They’re not allowed to bring marijuana legally as it stands. Adderall, however, travels fine with a doctor’s note.
Some argue that cannabis shouldn’t be included in such tests because it’s not a performance enhancer. Though marijuana can slow reaction times, it’s also very effective at increasing focus and encouraging a creative perspective – something that could prove very useful in team-based games. Those are just generalizations as well; everyone reacts differently to cannabis, so it’s not completely ridiculous to claim that it’s a performance enhancing drug.
That said, the double standard with Adderall – and even alcohol, which can enhance video game performance – still stands as something that needs to be addressed.
They’re not being completely intolerant, though. Recreational or medicinal use that occurs before the event will not be held against eSports competitors. A reddit post by ESL’s Anna Rozwandowicz confirmed that punishment would occur only if marijuana is used by pro gamers during the event.
Gamers are sure to be split on the issue. On one hand, anti-PED regulations are good for the health of the sport, at least from a legitimization perspective. On the other hand, video games and marijuana have always gone hand in hand. We’ll see how the split works out in the long run.