Frequently when the world of sports and cannabis cross paths a certain level of curiosity arises as to the realities of the relationship between the two. Fans and critics alike have their perceptions and assumptions as to how much weed players smoke, but no one knows for sure. Players are often asked their individual opinion on how many of their fellow players smoke marijuana and often the players throw out numbers like Martellus Bennett did not too long ago, guessing 89 percent of the league smoked pot.
While it would be difficult to verify these numbers, if they are accurate or even close to being accurate, how exactly do we have so many players smoking yet very few getting caught?
Players at all different levels of sports are tested for marijuana from high school to college, to the pros, and all have ways to get around urine testing for marijuana. The type of testing is key because none of these measures would do you any good if an organization used hair or blood samples.
Keep It Basic
A college football player used a detox drink found at a local head shop, consumed it with 2 gallons of water and tested clean.
Another college athlete used the combination of salt pills, a multivitamin, and a gallon plus of water to beat the NCAA tests on three separate occasions.
Bring in Reinforcements
For men there is the fake penis that’s worked for more than one athlete in different sports when it comes to beating tests for weed. It’s fairly straight forward, you pick up a latex strap-on fake penis with a reservoir for either synthetic urine or someone else’s urine that is presumably clear of cannabis metabolites. You strap up and use the fake penis to take the test. Depending on how close the test administrator is required to be to the process you may want to make sure you get something that is at least close to your skin tone. Can’t imagine it would be a good idea for Chris Simms to use something that would match Ricky Williams’ skin tone.
There have been reports of players going as far as having their urine removed from their bladder and replaced with a clean sample of urine. This is incredibly dangerous and impractical, but shows the length players with a great deal to lose will go to protect their eligibility to continue to participate in their respective sports and continue smoking marijuana.
In 2004, a college football player got wind that he’d be tested for cannabis the next day. The player and his roommate drove to a head shop and bought a detox drink that they figured would help clear his system.
The player drank an entire bottle, plus two gallons of water. He peed all of it out, and when he submitted his urine the next day, it came up clean. (This was in spite of his school testing for hydration levels and purporting to fail anyone who was too hydrated.) He continued playing, having used the same lo-fi trick any high schooler would think of.
Colleges and all major pro leagues make their players submit to drug tests of varying types. Weed is a banned substance in most of those leagues, and there’s no reason to think athletes are smoking or consuming it any less than the rest of us (which is to say, quite a lot). In that light, sports leagues’ tests for cannabis can look somewhat like a charade: After speaking with several current and former athletes, it became clear that many of them weren’t really scared of getting caught for cannabis use, because they believed the people who mandate the testing didn’t really want to catch them.
If you’re a male athlete, a fake penis filled with synthetic urine is one approach. What improbably worked for Vincent Chase in the last, terrible season of Entourage has also worked to beat tests mandated by sports’ governing bodies.
We’ll never get a full count of how many athletes have strapped one on to pee one out, but the number is well above zero. Mike Tyson is among the most famous athletes to admit to using the ploy, having filled a fake member with clean urine to beat drug testing “really effectively.”
(The makers of The Whizzinator, the country’s preeminent non-sex-toy fake penis, insist that their product isn’t meant for this purpose. “We do not endorse or promote our product for any testing purposes, please follow all state and federal laws while using ALS products,” a customer service rep wrote to me when I asked about their product.)
A simpler approach is just to drink enough water to fill up an aquarium tank and hope you pee out something that’s pure enough for fish to survive in it. Whether other things work is a point of scientific contention, if not outright derision, but players have tried plenty.
“Salt pills, multivitamin, and water,” a former D1 soccer player tells SB Nation. “Beat three NCAA tests and one MLS preseason.”