The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is removing cannabidiol (CBD) from its list of banned substances. As of 2018, the pain-relieving, non-psychoactive cannabis compound will be allowed, while the THC products will remain prohibited.
The international anti-doping regulator that supervises the drug testing in the Olympics is also responsible for setting standards for anti-doping guidelines in many international sports events, including the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
In its annual list review, WADA examines scientific researches, expert opinions, insight data and trends to address the changes in the medical world and update the banned substance list.
“Cannabidiol extracted from cannabis plants may contain varying concentrations of THC,” WADA warns, reminding the athletes to be careful when using CBD products. Cannabis use remains restricted and any positive result may lead to lasting suspensions.
WADA’s decision is a small victory for athletes and players who have been calling for a change in cannabis policy for years. Many marijuana-friendly sports professionals are already using cannabidiol products for pain relief and recovery, even though this has led to their suspension.
The UFC player Nate Diaz, who received a public warning by USADA after declaring the use of CBD during a press conference last year, has discovered the health benefits of CBD after fights and training. His brother Nick, and a handful of former NFL players, too, have also admitted using CBD for its medicinal qualities and have been advocating for legalization of medical cannabis.