The World Anti-Doping Agency removed Cannabidiol, CBD, from its list of banned substances at the start of 2018. This alteration has caused many to revisit regulations regarding CBD as a banned substance.
But what exactly is CBD? CBD is a compound that occurs naturally in the cannabis plant. when CBD is derived from the hemp form of cannabis it contains no more than 0.3% of the psychoactive THC. THC is the cannabinoid that is responsible for creating the ‘high’ that is often associated with cannabis. It is important to understand that CBD does not contain any substances that cause you to become high. Hemp derived CBD oil is legal in the United States, as long as it contains less than 0.3% THC. The following are the CBD rules and regulations for the top six sport organisations in the United States;
Nate Diaz, a UFC fighter, was an instrumental athlete to change the course of cannabis in sports when he openly spoke about using CBD during a conference after a fight. The USADA (the United States Anti-Doping agency) issued Diaz a warning since the substance was still declared as prohibitive. However athletes are able to be as open as they choose to be regarding CBD use since January 2018 when WADA removed CBD from the prohibited substance list. WADA released a statement saying this in September 2017 and was the first sports association in history to have done this. Athletes are now free to use CBD as an alternative health medicine without fear of backlash. WADA was created by the International Olympic Committee. WADA does caution athletes to ensure CBD products are in compliance with the low THC rates which is still the prohibited substance.
The THC allowance for WADA is as follows:
150 nanograms per milliliter (compare this number to 2013’s limit of 15 nanogram per millilitre).
The NCAA, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, is the regulator for athletes for more than a thousand different sport institutions and organisations. The NCAA is renowned for being amongst the strictest in testing for cannabis. CBD is not listed as a banned drug for the NCAA however the document does state that even if a substance or chemical compound is not listed on the banned drug list but is related in any chemical way to a drug on the banned drug list is also banned. It is safe to assume that CBD is chemically related to the banned THC and is then also banned.
The NCAA’s threshold for THC isn testing is as follows:
5 nanogram per milliliter.
The NFL is the National Football League and the players in the sport of football put their bodies through painful experiences in the name of the sport. Often the sport can come with many injuries and many players need to use anti-inflammatories and opiates (pharmaceutical drugs) to deal with injuries, both recent and old injuries.
Headlines were made in 2017 when one thousand eight hundred former NFL players used the National Football League for breaching the FDA drug laws so that players could be kept to play. Attention has since been brought to the issue of painkillers and opioid substance abuse by NFL players.
There are many who are pushing for CBD to become an alternative in order to avoid an epidemic of opioid addiction.
The current NFLPA (NFL Players association) regulations on CBD are as follows:
THC is banned at a limit of 35 nanograms per milliliter (as apposed to the 2014 threshold of 15 nanograms per milliliter). CBD is not currently listed as a banned substance however it is related to THC and is therefore banned as well.
David Stern, the former NBA commissioner, actually enforced stricter regulations when it came to cannabis during his time as NBA commissioner. However, the former commissioner made heads roll when he stated in a documentary that medical marijuana should be removed as a banned substance.
Cannabis has been banned in the NBA since the year 1999 and the NBA conduct randomised testing a total of four times during the year. If a player is found to fail the test then the player has to undergo treatment and testing. Further violations results in harsher fines and suspensions.
The NBA’s current cannabis threshold is the following:
15 nanograms of THC per milileter
There is no specifics for CBD.
The MLB has been more lenient towards cannabis use in the past decade and is more focused on regulating the use of performance enhancing drugs.
The MLB’s current regulation and limit on cannabis is as follows:
50 nanograms of THC per milliliter. There is no specific amount decreed for CBD.
However these testings are only carried out if there is a “reasonable cause of use.” The MLB does not carry out random testing or scheduled marijuana testing.
Hockeys players also undergo extreme physical strain and there are many players, both current and retired, that rely on opioids or anti-inflammatories to treat injuries. Cannabis is not on the list of banned substances, daily due to the fact that it is not seen as a performance enhancing drug. Players are, however, still tested for cannabinoids. There is no disciplinary action for levels of cannabinoids found in the results however if high levels are found then these results are then sent to the NHL committee to use to design testing procedures in the future. However- these results are sent anonymously.