Cannabis and Chess – Does Getting High Improve Your Game?

Chess is probably the oldest game to be still played in the modern world, and we’re willing to wager that many royals of yore have spent time smoking up and playing chess in the past. Read on to explore how the combination of cannabis and chess works.

cannabis chess board

Many manufacturers have designed 420-inspired games. Such board games use all the same rules as classic games, just with a little more weed in action.

It doesn’t make any exception whether you are distant from everyone else or with friends, playing a retro game while stoned can be a thrill! Playing games is an extraordinary approach to sink into the feeling of euphoria while high and can stimulate some good thoughts along the way. 

If you are in a gathering, it can give everyone one normal thing to focus on and talk about, which is excellent for reducing social anxiety. You may try busting out some games from decades past like Monopoly, Jenga, Yahtzee, or Candyland. 

You may also make things a little more modern and adult-themed by playing Cards Against Humanity. In all fairness, you can purchase marijuana tabletop games like THC The Game, Weed-Opoly, and Lords of Cannabis. If you are alone with your friend or partner, you can try entertaining your high mind with a strategy game like Chess or Solitaire.

A Brief History of Chess


The history of chess spreads over 1500 years. The most prehistoric prototype of the play was probably introduced in India before the 6th century AD. However, some archivists conclude that the game was founded in China. Nevertheless, the primary source of chess remains unknown.

Furthermore, historians believe that the game spread to Persia from India. Consequently, when the Arabs conquered Persia, they bring the game to the Muslim world and afterward extended to southern Europe. People believe that in the 15th century, chess emerged into its current form in Europe.

Playing Chess While High on Cannabis

Wake bake Chess Repeat
[Wake bake Chess Repeat – T-shirt on Amazon]

Whether you’re a casual or pro chess player, it’s easy to see how the impact of marijuana could make the contest sound even more appealing. Chess can be a great social activity and an intriguing riddle requiring an imaginative solution against a person or a chess-playing algorithm.

Some players may find themselves especially attracted to specific chess styles, such as bullet chess or classical chess, while high. There are limited ins and more outs of playing chess stoned. We will go through each detail about what happens when you mix cannabis and chess.

Cannabis and Chess – Dissecting The Duo

You will find numerous chess forums online with detailed experiences from many chess lovers of all skill levels. They even share the analytics of their sober and stoned scores and explain their experiences of both kinds of games. Some stoners say that they have improved their games while playing high while it’s not the case for all stoners. Here’s a look at two different viewpoints from two users playing chess while high. 

reddit user negative review on playing chess while high on cannabis
[A snapshot of a negative review by a Reddit user on playing chess after high on cannabis.]
reddit user positive review on playing chess while high on cannabis
[A snapshot of a positive review by a Reddit user on playing chess after high on cannabis.]

Is Cannabis Permitted at Chess Competitions?

playing chess while getting high

Players cannot use cannabis in any FIDE (Fédération Internationale des Échecs) tournaments. If caught, the organizers might eliminate them. Since chess is an Olympic sport, chess tournaments are needed to stick to anti-doping laws. The WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) lists all cannabinoids (including non-psychoactive CBD) as banned items. 

Can Chess Players Use CBD-infused Products in Tournaments?

Hemp-determined CBD products are the main assortment that is free from THC, the psychoactive part of cannabis. Cannabinoid CBD is a chemical composite discovered in cannabis. Since CBD doesn’t make you high and has various health benefits, its popularity has grown lately. Individuals use just CBD to improve innumerable conditions. 

CBD is also a highly effective pain reliever. CBD creams or lotions may help chess players who have arthritis or other diseases to play smoothly. Since CBD stimulates the release of an increased measure of serotonin – which reduces feelings of anxiety – it might improve focus.

However, most professional organizers recognize cannabis and CBD products as neurocognitive assistance that can provide players with an unethical competitive edge. Besides, if you play chess in any official tournament, you’ll have to verify CBD’s absence. They could consider CBD a mind-altering substance even if it can’t get you high. 

Advantages of Playing Chess While High

Relaxation from Physical Pain

How do you feel on different weed strains is a personal experience as there is no unique interpretation. There are circumstances where pot could help you get into the correct mind space to play chess. For instance, if you suffer from depression, sitting down to play chess on cannabis is relaxing. 

In this case, weed’s correct dose may help you break out the opposing strategy and concentrate on the game. If you ache from chronic pain or other physical ailments, cannabis may give you a sufficient break from your symptoms to appreciate the game peacefully. However, your sense of focus may blur as the game goes on.

Imaginative Thinking and Confidence

Weed helps numerous users to feel more confident, happy, focused, or ingenious. Any or all of these outcomes can render into a well-played – or well-delighted session. You probably won’t play your best possible match if you use weed, but if you aren’t acquainted with analyzing and scoring your games, you probably won’t even notice the difference.

However, if you intend to play chess in an organized tournament, check the official rules before using weed, as participants cannot use mind-altering substances.

Disadvantages of Playing Chess While High

Cannabis-induced Anxiety Disorder

For some users, marijuana causes raised levels of anxiety. If you are prone to stress when you use weed, playing chess probably won’t be a cup of tea for you. 

Usual twinges of performance anxiety or the stressful sensation of playing with a clock could cause excruciating discomfort. Even feelings of fear or suspicion could make it difficult to focus on playing the game.

Concentration While Playing High on Weed

Some cannabis users find that it improves their sense of focus, provoking a condition known as “limited focus,” – in which you put all of your attention on only a single task. It would seem that this influence would turn into the ideal mindset to play chess. 

For some users, it does feel accommodating as they can focus more on the game. However, you may lose this insight of focus as the match continues. If you get distracted by an external factor, or the THC begins to hit you more, you may “break the spell” and lose your concentration. If you’re playing chess in the last part of a cannabis session, your sense of bearing may blur away with that ‘high.’

The Effects of Cannabis on Short-term Memory Function

Your short-term memory works well after the high makes out of your system – typically returning to standard capacity within 24-48 hours. Forming and recalling new memories is more challenging when you’re high. It does appear that some users may develop a tolerance to this cannabis-affected short-term memory suppression. 

Short-term memory (STM) is essential in planning your tactics as you play chess. However, science suggests that short-term memory may vary when you’re stoned. Your long-term memories will probably not fluctuate, but forming and recalling new memories is more challenging when you’re high.

As the brain becomes habitual to cannabis exposure, it’s not sensitive to these effects. However, your chess strategy could permanently alter if you consistently overdo it. Substantial, long-term marijuana use is associated with permanent damage to short-term memory function, even when you’re sober. We need more research to pinpoint which factors are the genuine causes of this relationship.

Altered Perception of Time After Getting High

It’s normal when you’re high on weed; you experience time at a different pace. That could cause playing a coordinated chess game to feel conflicting. You may wind up taking three minutes to choose your next best move, but feel like it’s just been one minute. 

If your opponent takes much time for the next move, they may experience a different time variation. As you can expect, waiting that long for your opponent could make it challenging to refocus when your turn comes up again.

Chess Tournaments for Stoners

With the social idea of chess and cannabis, it’s natural that individuals who love both would feel attracted to combining them. A handful of stoner-specific chess events are there around North America and Canada. If you live in a city where recreational cannabis is legal, a similar event may spring up in your region soon. 

#1 – Canna-Blitz Chess Tournament

The Peace House DC, a non-profit alliance from Washington D.C., organized one such cannabis-friendly chess tournament in 2017. The Canna-Blitz Chess Tournament was a seven-round Swiss-system style competition where players could use weed, get high, and play chess in this one-day competition.

#2 – Cannabis Consumer Chess Competition

Edward Forchion (aka NJ Weedman), a newspaper columnist and New Jersey cannabis promoter, arranged an informal chess tournament for stoners in 2015. After relocating to New Jersey, Weedman saw how mainstream chess was among its citizens, and then he started planning for the contest. He could host this event at a nearby restaurant, provided participants didn’t smoke weed on restaurant property. 

#3 – 2019 Cannabis Chess Championship

420 Consulting and set up a cannabis-friendly chess tournament in Victoria, British Columbia, in April 2019. Moreover, there were $1620 of cash and rewards for the winners, which they donated to cancer charities.

Cannabis-friendly Lounges

A place where cannabis and chess may naturally meet up is in cannabis-friendly lounges. Just as in bars and coffee shops worldwide, it’s essential to find buddies striking up a chess game to spend the time while enjoying their joint. Cannabis lounges – the cannabis version of traditional alcohol pubs – turn into a rising model in the U.S. states where recreational weed is legal.

Apart from that, California is a base for many cannabis lounges. A couple of other states, such as Alaska, Colorado, Michigan, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, are applying this model. Presently, these lounges are usually not permitted to sell marijuana. So you’ll need to bring your own or use it before you arrive.

Chess and Cannabis – A Tricky Fusion

Whether you’re a recreational cannabis user or a medical marijuana patient, getting high is becoming a self-care trend. Smoking weed can help you in many ailments, takes a gander at a problem in your life with a different perspective, or add an inventive approach to life’s tough jobs. 

Despite how convinced you are that cannabis can improve your chess tactics, it doesn’t! However, marijuana has the power to reduce pain and stabilize focus to assist you in getting into a play-ready mindset. You may play your moves with creative thinking, but your concentration may stumble as the match continues.

However, smoking weed can sometimes land you stuck on the couch, playing video games, or binge-watching Netflix for hours. As long as you’re not playing your best game – and you’re not participating in a match with anti-doping practices – a contest of chess could be a fun and thrilling addition to your next cannabis session. Whenever you’re high, try playing chess — and see what the results are!

Christopher Andrews
I am Christopher Andrew, the owner of 420 Expert Adviser. I have been in cannabis cultivation for more than ten years, and I'm sharing my experience with you guys using this blog!

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