WORLD ANTI-DOPING AGENCY REMOVES CBD FROM BANNED SUBSTANCES LIST
World Anti Doping Agency policy on CBD
The World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) has removed CBD from its list of prohibited substances effective January 1, 2018. WADA, which regulates prohibited substances for athletes, announced the move in a September 29th update.
WADA stated that cannabidiol was being removed because it is not a cannabimimetic and does not mimic the effects of THC. WADA further clarified that THC is still a prohibited substance and that CBD extracts can contain THC.
A number of professional athletes have reported using CBD as an alternative to narcotics including former Baltimore Raven, Eugene Monroe and UFC star Nate Diaz.
“This pain is never going away. My body is damaged,” Monroe, 30, stated in a Washington Post article. “I have to manage it somehow. Managing it with pills was slowly killing me. Now I’m able to function and be extremely efficient by figuring out how to use different formulations of cannabis.”
The WADA decision is further recognition that CBD should not be considered a controlled substance.
All other compounds in cannabis including THC remain prohibited, and in its new list, WADA warns athletes that CBD extracted from cannabis plants “may contain varying concentrations of THC”, a factor that could result in unknowingly failing a drug test.
(For a substance to be included on WADA’s list, two of the following three statements must be true: It has the potential to enhance sport performance, it represents an actual or potential health risk to athletes, or, it violates the spirit of sport.)
While the Schedule 1 classification of cannabis in the United States has made it difficult for researchers to produce double blind placebo-controlled studies on the effects of CBD on the body, preclinical trials suggest that CBD is not only a good pain reliever, but also an effective anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, neuroprotectant, and anxiolytic.
Anecdotal evidence supporting the idea that CBD compliments athletic recovery has become increasingly easy to find, as more and more athletes admit to using it and other compounds in cannabis—but what we find most exciting about the lifting of the ban on this powerful cannabinoid is that it will allow athletes prone to concussions and repeated head traumas an opportunity to try a new method of treatment.
While some professional leagues aren’t governed by WADA, the agency’s choice to allow it could also have big implications at other organizations.
Former NFL players like Jake Plummer, Eben Britton, and Jim McMahon are just a few that have spoken publicly about their use of CBD—not just as an alternative for pain relief, but also to protect against degenerative brain diseases like chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. (Animal trials have shown that CBD is neuroprotective, meaning that it has the ability to protect against cell death while increasing the viability of existing cells.)
The disease is most prominent in individuals with history of repetitive brain trauma, and causes irritability, aggression, motor impairment, headaches, and early onset dementia.
In a recent study where researchers examined the brains of deceased NFL players, 99 percent were found to contain signs of CTE.
In addition, it doesn’t mean a whole lot for American athletes either. The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) tests most athletes in the country, and they continue to list CBD as one of their prohibited substances. But if one of the largest anti-doping agencies changes their rules on CBD, it’s only a matter of time before others begin changing their minds as well.