THG REPLACES THC AS NEW DRUG OF CHOICE
On your mark, get set, grow! A January study performed at the Georgia
Institute of Technology and UC Irvine linked the effects of smoking
marijuana with those of running or biking about an hour. Scientists,
eggheads and sprinters alike are calling this the "runner's high."
Had this report come out about 40 years earlier - say, in the '60s -
an entire generation may have been shaped (literally) much
differently. What do you think Jerry Garcia would have looked like in
a tie-dyed jogging suit? Jimi Hendrix could have played the National
Anthem for the opening of the first annual Woodstock Marathon.
For years, the idea of the runner's high has been linked to the
release of the magical chemical endorphin: the same chemical that has
even been linked to the high felt after ingesting eye-watering,
palm-sweating spicy foods.
But before you go dashing off to condemn those running in the next
"gran maraton Pacifico of Mazatlan, Mexico," as high-seeking hippies,
you must consider this: The most dangerous drug to affect the
modern-day athlete is not grass, habaneros or the pre-dawn run. It is
THG (Tetrahydrogestrinone) has replaced THC. The bong no longer
belongs; steroids are the new sheriffs in ganja town, and all the
reefer-endums in the world don't seem to be slowing its growth.
For a majority of these athletes, drug use has gone from being
recreational to being, well, recreational.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the NFL, where getting caught
with a green, leafy substance will get you a one-game suspension.
That's after failing not one, but two prearranged drug tests. Getting
pinched while getting juiced? Well, that will send the gridiron guru
on a four-game hiatus the first time he tests positive for steroids.
What's Major League Baseball's answer to a player failing a drug test?
Treatment, not suspension. To date, only one player has tested
positive, ever! Derrick Turnbow may very well have made himself a
trivia question a month ago when he became the first MLB player ever
to fail a banned steroid test.
Under baseball's new rule change, a player has to fail a drug test
five times before he is suspended for a year! Granted, the landscape
of steroids is changing as we speak. It changes almost every day.
Whether it is THG, androstenedione, creatine or ephedra, substances
fall out of style and legality as fast as they come, keeping the
vicious cycle spinning.
Slipping under the radar are college sports and the kids who are most
susceptible to trying steroids. Campus may be the very place where the
gate swings open and invites the soon-to-be-not-so-fresh-faced
youngster into the dangerous world of steroids.
Steroids' biggest market may not be in between the hash marks or foul
poles. It's on the track. It's on the field.
"History will show you that your biggest culprits have been your
sprinter-type individuals," said UA track and field head coach Fred
The need for speed may be most prominent in the world of track and
field. Just ask Britain's 100-meter champion, Dwain Chambers. He' ll
be sitting out this year's Summer Olympics in Athens after testing
positive for THG.
But if you're looking for a juiced-up Wildcat running laps out at
Drachman Stadium, you might be waiting awhile.
"I've never in my entire time of coaching had an athlete use steroids
or any kind of performance enhancing substance," Harvey proudly
states. "I make it very clear right from the very start that is just
not something I am going to tolerate, and there is no exception, no
excuse, why it's going to happen."
If anyone would know, it would be Harvey. After all, he's been
coaching for over 17 years after a successful career as a sprinter. At
Arizona, he's had some of the best athletes in the world train under
his tutelage, including Brianna Glenn and five-time NFL Pro Bowler
Harvey sees today's quick-fix society as the reason athletes reach out
"You can get the same level of strength, speed, power if you're
willing to put the time and effort into it," he said.
Although he is in just his second year as head coach of Arizona track
and field, Harvey has never had a player fail one of the NCAA' s
random tests given throughout the on- and off-seasons.
Before prospective athletes can lay their Nikes on the campus of
Arizona, they are forewarned by Harvey.
"If you're doing that, it's not by accident. You chose to do that,"
Harvey warns of steroid abuse. "Consequently, you're going against
everything I believe in and I think the program stands for. I have
zero tolerance for an athlete who's going to do that."
People are going to abuse steroids, however. For as long as there are
sports, someone will be looking for the edge to make them better than
the rest. Tragically, some forms of steroid use will never go out of
fashion. Other drugs will filter in and out with trends. Steroids are
here to stay.
Have you ever heard of cannaboid-rage? No one has. That doesn't mean
it's right, either.
So next time you're out jogging, be safe and remember: Always pass to