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Recreational Drugs in Freediving

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.

Have you ever dived under the influence of drugs?

  • Yes

    Votes: 17 19.1%
  • No

    Votes: 65 73.0%
  • Only Alcohol

    Votes: 7 7.9%

  • Total voters
Not open for further replies.


New Member
Apr 24, 2003
I was reading the thread on performance enhancing drugs in sports, and was curious on everyones opinions of recreational drugs. While in now way do i take anything harder than Weed, i have a few friends in are quite happy to take ecstasy at the weekends. I have taken it upon myself to refuse to dive with them when their on anything.

I m just interested to know everbodys views on this. Has anyone dived while on anything. Ive recently started visulising dives the night before if there going to be deep or somewhere ive been before, and i often find that having a smoke helps with this process.

While i never dive on Alcohol, i often have been drinking the night before, and while a two hour trip on a RIB is probably the best cure for a hangover, a shore dive always makes me suffer.
Drugs & freediving

Alimar7, in my opinion there are two issues with drugs and diving. Safety and performance. I will only comment on performance. First of all, I have never dove under the influence of any substance. I won't even perform certain excersises or eat certain foods the day before a dive. I notice a performance difference with even an hour less of sleep. There are too many natural substances that can generate free radicals in the body, or deplete crucial stores in the body necessary for an optimum dive. Diving is a way of life, that depends on a year round mindset for training for performance, Even in the off season when not diving for months. And I don't mean competition performance, as I have never competed. But unlike scuba divers who can just walk into a shop and buy more performance i.e. a larger tank, we have to struggle, train or condition for every gain.
I guess it depends on what you are striving to experience when freediving, but as for myself, it is comfort at extended time or depth while freediving. Personally, I can't see how drugs can enhance that experience. As for the safety aspect, that's a whole other can of worms.

Safe diving,

Does drinking beer on the bottom of a swimming pool, while freediving, with a bunch of other scuba instructors on vacation count??:confused: :friday

I wouldn't know for sure, but I might have heard about this happening once about 15 years ago.;)
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Since I do most diving on a Sunday, and this is the day after a big saturday night, I have been able to try the effects of substances still in my body 15 hours or so after consumption. The effects that I have discovered are as follows. Note that these are my own experiences, your mileage may vary.

No drugs -- Go to bed at 11pm the night before, and feel normal on the drive and in the water. 100% of benchmark performance.

Alcohol -- You generally feel run down and tired on the drive there. When the cold water hits the top of your head this abates and you feel better for having gone for a dive, although dive performance and bottom time is limited somewhat. 80% of benchmark.

Fatigue -- Go to bed at something like 3am, get ~4 hours sleep. I often start hallucinating in the water, and sometimes start going in the wrong direction when swimming. Difficult to maintain a straight line when swimming unless you constantly poke your head up above the water to re-orient yourself. Not a fun experience. Bottom time severely limited. 50% of benchmark.

Weed -- you generally feel more aware of your surroundings, and tend to notice more fish. Body language becomes very important, and you have more success in luring fish close enough for a good shot (although the shot itself isn't as accurate). You don't feel as if you have to paddle as far. Paranoia can be an issue if taken regularly. Bottom time 80% of benchmark, shooting ability 80%, fish luring ability 120%.

e -- you feel very aware of your surroundings, and a lower heart rate means that bottom time is raised substantially. The whole dive experience is magical, you notice things that you had never noticed before, although you mst be aware that the body's natural breathing urge is repressed somewhat. Taken regularly in large doses you can erode holes in your brain. Bottom time 150%, luring ability 120%, aiming ability 80%.

NOTE that I am not advocating the use of anything, however these are my experiences. Word of warning -- you wouldn't get drunk the first time underwater, just like you wouldn't take recreational drugs for the first time underwater. Like everything, understand EXACTLY what it is that certain substances do, do your research, and make the right decision for yourself. I wait at least 15 hours between taking anything and going in the water, and I suggest you do the same.

Most of all, be safe.
Excluding the whole "safe / unsafe" argument on using drugs/alcohol while diving, I will say this:

Read my profile. I am no prude :eek:. But we all choose which experiences in life are better with a little 'blur' or 'enhancement' and which aren't. When it comes to diving, I want to know that everything my senses sense :) is the real deal. Diving and spearfishing are the ultimate high. Substances could only bring it down.


I'm sure this shows how out of it I am, but what is "e"? (Googling proved unsuccessful due to the high number of nonrelevant hits.)
"E" refers to ecstasy (MDMA) - i refuse to "roll" (take it) because you NEVER know whats in those pills, theyre often cut with all kinds of nasty things....not to mention it melts a hole in your brain!

i do however, smoke weed with occasionaly frequency - i havent noticed any detriment to my apnea, and i think its fine as long as you dont DIVE stoned:duh :naughty definitely not a good idea! but the ganja is ok - legalize!
Recreational drugs in freediving...

is short for ecstasy. Check 'ecstasy' on Google...you'll find plenty of info.

--Anonymous, how do you deal with potential hyperthermia and e while diving?

--BTW; weed stays in the system (detectable in urine) for at least 72 hours. Freediving 15 hours after smoking means you are still high.
Oh, okay, thanks for the explanation. Heavy drug use for me is a second cup of darjeeling in the morning ...

If MDMA is chemically related to stimulants, wouldn't it be more likely to raise heart rate? But Anonymous refers to it lowering heart rate. Have no idea what a hallucinogen would do in that department.
Hi All,
Don't follow the logic on some of the posts here. The only way you could know if a drug did help your performance would be to do a dive or breathold right up to or close to Samba. I could tell you now that 'e' would not boost your bottom time %150 ! :duh

More likely the person is more out of it and feeling happy and pushes harder. Pretty dangerous if doing this out in the ocean.....

For the hell of it I tried doing some dry breatholds after I was already drinking Alcohol. It seemed contractions started a bit earlier then normal but it was easier to hold and stay relaxed. So didn't affect much either way. Only did it once so not real conclusive.

how do you deal with potential hyperthermia and e while diving?

Be aware of your surroundings. Diving after e isn't something I do often, in fact I've only done it twice. Since e suppresses a number of natural reflexes you need to take conscious control of things like drinking when dehydrated, and remembering to surface when you run out of air. In other words, the reflex that makes your lungs burn and makes you panic your way to the surface is suppressed.

The only way you could know if a drug did help your performance would be to do a dive or breathold right up to or close to Samba.

Wrong. I know what differences these substances made to my performance, for whatever reason, and I stick by them. As I said, your mileage may vary.
btw I consider getting close to samba when straight to be FAR more dangerous than anything I've ever done. But that's fine, we've all got different ways of appreciating the underwater world. For the moment I'll stick to diving without any form of drug, as someone pointed out above it's the best high you can get. Dealing with the stereotypes, hang-ups, stigmas, judgements, double standards, and plain ignorance of other people is more trouble than it's worth.
This is becoming a bit of a silly thread, but anyway ;)

talk to any competition freediver. You can't judge a performance increase by how easy it feels. Take hyperventilation for example. On your comment regarding Samba's they are not dangerous if you are closely supervised. Even comp divers that are really careful will get them on occasion. The best comp divers will know how to do a breathold that's 5-10 seconds short of a Samba.

The only other way I know to compare performance would be if you had an oxygen analyzer. ie do a breathold and see your oxygen level after X minutes.

There are definitely drugs that do boost performance. Has been a previous thread on this. It's possible that 'e' might, I would have thought not. In any case it would not be %150. Otherwise just about anybody could easily break a world record with it !

Caffeine and nicotine. If I have a cold I'll pop a Hall's cough drop before I go. The menthol in them seem to open my head up fairly well. Other than that, nada.
more dope on dope

I'm just a newbie, but I've found that a martini and a big cigar in the evening knock 10 -15% off apnea pushups the next morning. I even skip the coffee on the mornings I dive. Course, I'm older than a lot of yall.

Hallucinagins have complex effects on the body. Light doses of LSD are stimulents, larger doses are seditives. They often make people feel "at one with the universe"- this may relax a diver. Or they may cause panic. Better have a good observer if you want to mess with this stuff in a potentially lethal envirnment.

Weed is detectable in the urine for 6 weeks, but that doesn't mean you're stoned. The length of its effect varies tremendously from person to person . This stuff may be the safest of all recreational drugs, but I wouldn't want to dive around a stoney with a speargun, or ride while they drove on the way to the beach.

Can someone tell me the definition of "samba"? It's not in the index of my Terri Maas books.
It's the loss of control of the voluntary muscles, due lack of oxygen, just before blackout. The legs twitch like their dancing, hence the term Samba.:)
Okay gang its time I chimed in here. First of all I have tried a whole lot of redreational drugs and I can tell you one thing: it is all bad. You can argue with me all you want. Bring it on! Yeah some of the comments in this thread has really pissed me off. Dock karma if you want, at this point in time I really don't care. Some of what I read is just plain ridiculous. Why would you want to dive under the influence of something? When I was a teenager, I would surf all the time while stoned, and a couple of times while tripping on mushrooms. While this was fun and games, hold downs were maybe a few seconds at the most. I believe someone said it earlier that being under the influence of some of these drugs supresses your urge to breathe. Hello! That urge is a natural warning from your brain to your body that it is time to breathe. True that experienced divers can supress this or even overcome it for short lengths of time; but, these guys are sober and have all of their senses working how God designed it to work. We read articles about people who drown while diving and I am willing to bet money that some of these guys had drugs in their bloodstream. Sorry if I'm harsh but diving is something that I am very passionate about and I do advocate the sport to those who ask me why I dive. I put in hours of diving, spend the time training on land, look up info on techniques and technology and when I hear about people who mess around with recreational drugs, dive, and say that it helps them . :vangry. You wanna play Russian Roulet, go right ahead. Just don't advocate it.

Brad :martial
I started this thread, and i think weve had views from every angle. I think its time to bring it to a close. In no way was i encouraging the use of recretional drugs when diving but i was interested in peoples points of view. The way i see it is if ur just going to ponder around about 5 down its not a problem, but if ur going to dive deper than that u aint diving with me on something. I live in a city and im a student i go out and drink on a regular baisis and come back in and have a joint or two. The reason i started this thread was to see how it affected people, and i appreciate all of ur views.


"Fall seven times, stand up eight."
I don't see any reason to close this thread.

Personally I don't drink any alchohol before doing anything outdoors, not even fishing. But that's not because i'm some holyer than now person. It just doesn't work for me.

However I was drinking quite heavily last night, and I really had the coolest experience. When I got home (hammered) I sat down and visualised a dive. I have had a problem with diving in deep places where I dive along a cliff side with about 500 feet of water beneath me(Norway), and only about 30-40 feet vis. It's the same sort of fobia a person with fear of height has.

Well I visualised the dive and felt completely at ease with it, I think it was like if I had been hypnotised. And today while thinking about it I have no fear of that kind of dive anymore. :) Pretty cool if you ask me.
"The reason i started this thread was to see how it affected people, and i appreciate all of ur views."

Are you talking about the subject matter, or the drugs themselves? Either way, I hope your getting high from the responses.
It doesnt take much more than a puddle to drown in if your passed out face down in it. Id recommend enjoying the undersea world just the way it presents itself. It is beautiful enough just the way it is.

Dive safe
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