THE CORONAVIRUS CONTEXT
I’ve always loved the idea of being an entrepreneur and knew that I wanted to do something that involved the gaming community, so back in early spring 2020 I started working on Smoking Frog – alongside the outbreak of the Coronavirus.
Like many of you, I Locked(down) & Loaded, embracing the government’s clear instructions to “Stay Home and Game”, as it became increasingly obvious that gaming was no longer just a supposedly ‘geeky’ pastime. Today, it is a vital escape from reality and an incredible demonstration of connectivity through times of isolation and hardship.
However, whilst gaming can provide relief from the anxieties of real life, eSports continues to take a toll on our mental and physical well-beings – not least in terms of the amount of sugary, highly caffeinated products we take to boost performance. As someone who already suffers from anxiety (which was now doubled by the stress of a global pandemic) I suffered further as a result of late-night gaming and caffeine all around the clock.
I got introduced to CBD when I was chatting about anxiety on a Zoom call with some of my non-gamer friends. It was recommended as a product that might help regulate my mood and facilitate sleep and I figured I’d give it a try…
Within the first few days I started to notice its effects, not only on my sleeping (this was the first time in years I had managed to get a good eight hours), but also on my gaming. But being a naturally sceptical person, I wanted to check that this wasn’t just psychosomatic or a classic causation/correlation mix-up, so I started to do some research into the relationship between CBD and gaming.
Google this – and it turns out there are tons of online blogs and articles that describe the interaction between CBD and gaming, as well as a whole host of first-person (unbiased) accounts on reddit.
Based on the numerous accounts I found, scientific studies, and most significantly my own personal experience, I decided that (for me) the benefits of CBD and its application for gaming could be loosely grouped into the following 4 categories:
1. Sleep & energy
By “acting on the endocannabinoid system (ECS) which is a key regulator in the sleep-wake cycle”, CBD may support our natural sleep cycle. This means that your base energy level is naturally higher with some long-term energy benefits (unlike crash-inducing energy products). We all know that feeling refreshed and alert has a serious impact on our performance and, as CBD does not have a soporific effect, it is also appropriate for morning use to help kick-start the day and won't make you tired.
2. Calm & anxiety-reduction.
By acting on the ECS it’s also thought that CBD can work as a mood regulator. Gamers that ingest CBD report feeling calmer and more present within the game – which is particularly important in first-person shooter games where you need to keep your cool. Many articles talked about how “eSports players have supplemented CBD to alleviate the negative impact of stress on the brain and body” and that this was shown to have a “net positive impact on performance”. In addition, the reported day-to-day reduction in anxiety is critical to wellbeing as a whole, outside of the gaming context.
Many of the studies, user experiences and articles I came across also strongly indicated that CBD could enhance a person’s focus and cognitive function, with numerous reports of feeling an uptick in mental acuity (both on the short-term level shortly after ingestion as well as across long-term as a result of better sleep). One article spoke of the neurocognitive effects as including “the ability to ignore distractions, [eliminate] worries, [with] improved hand-eye co-ordination” among other benefits.
One of the brilliant things about CBD, is the reputed alleviation of physical pains such as back ache, wrist ache and many other aches & pains that can fundamentally impact one’s ability to play. This was confirmed by my own experience, as the symptoms of my sciatica diminished significantly in a matter of days, which meant I could sit and game without the usual shooting pain in my lower back – and not be punished for it later.
IMPROVING THE GAMING EXPERIENCE IN A MEANINGFUL WAY
I became passionate about the relationship between CBD & gaming, convinced that the age-old association between cannabis & gaming (minus the THC) really had something to it. A natural pairing like peanut butter & jelly, the two elements are built to interact in a mutually beneficial way to provide a healthier form of escapism and immersion (this is of course dependant on the quality of the CBD product. Not all CBD is made equally and there are plenty of ineffective products on the market!).
After months of research, hard-work and the result of brilliant partnerships with leading UK manufacturers, I launched Smoking Frog in September 2020 with the simple philosophy: “where science is serious, but feeling is fundamental”. The overarching objective of the brand is to enhance the immersive gaming experience in a meaningful way with products that actually do something, whilst taking care of the mental wellbeing of gamers.
And we are just getting started! Stay tuned to learn more about our products, our science, our sustainable approach and much more as we continue on this exciting journey together!