Since 1968, professional athletes have been tested for the use of performance enhancing drugs and banned substances. Up until recently, cannabis was deemed a banned substance. Cannabis’s reputation as a banned substance is rapidly changing. Today, we will discuss five professional sports that permit the use of cannabis.
In the NFL’s current collective bargaining agreement, sanctioned in March 2020, the threshold amount of THC required to trigger a positive test was raised from 35 nanograms to 150 nanograms. Furthermore, players can no longer be suspended for positive tests and testing can only be conducted during the first two weeks of training camp (instead of from April to August). Thus, players are free to participate in the limitless consumption of cannabis after the first two weeks of training camp.
Mixed Martial Arts (UFC)
In January 2021, the UFC announced a major modification to its anti-doping policy: A positive test for the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, carboxy-THC, now no longer constitutes a violation unless there is evidence that an athlete used it intentionally for performance-enhancing purposes. UFC fighters can now kick back and relax with a joint after an intense training session or fight.
As of December 2019, MLB no longer classifies cannabis as a “drug of abuse” and instead treats it the same as alcohol. However, players may not show up high to games or practice sessions, nor can they be sponsored by a cannabis company, dispensary, or similar corporate entity. Hence, players can enjoy cannabis on their own time but cannot partake in the profitable partnerships realized by athletes in other sports.
The NBA declared that its random testing policy for cannabis would remain suspended for the 2020-2021 season, as it was for the conclusion of the previous season in the “bubble” at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. It seems that the NBA is in the process of revising its cannabis policy and is assuring players that they do not have to worry about random tests that could hinder their chances of competing.
While cannabis was never on the banned substances list of the NHL, it was still historically tested for in random tests conducted throughout a season. As of early 2019, the NHL became the first professional sports organization to stop testing its athletes for cannabis entirely. While the NHL does not recommend the use cannabis, its players are free to indulge in cannabis products as they see fit.
The universal view of cannabis in sports is changing rapidly. Moreover, the benefits of its use in recovery has led to the creation of many cannabis-related products for athletes. How do you see cannabis further disrupting the world of sports? Let us know in the comments down below and don’t forget to follow us for more info!