WADA To Review Cannabis Ban

Lots has been written about CBD and sports and that CBD is legal for use by sportspeople. However, reports of banning Sha’Carri Richardson, one of the top contenders for 100 m, have re-ignited the fear among the athletes. Furthermore, news that the world anti-doping agency (WADA) will review the cannabis ban added to the concern.

Those worried about CBD products being on the WADA banned list need to understand that WADA did not ban natural CBD. However, WADA clearly states that all other cannabinoids, including THC, are banned. Further, only natural cannabidiol (CBD) use is permitted, but it’s synthetic analogues are banned.

So is that Sha’Carri Richardson case? She has been found positive for using cannabis. As per the reports, she used cannabis to overcome the loss of her biological mother. She did not use illegal cannabis, rather legal cannabis. However, at that time, she was in a state where recreational use of cannabis or marijuana is permitted. Simply said, she used legal recreational marijuana to relax, and not just any CBD supplement.

Does it mean that CBD products pose a risk of a positive drug test?


Since the news spread fear among many athletes, it is vital to understand that most CBD products are relatively safe. Nevertheless, not all CBD products are equally as good. WADA only permits natural CBD; it does not permit the use of other cannabinoids. And it’s especially against the use of THC.

People use cannabis due to its mind-altering effect. However, THC is either absent or present in small amounts in legally sold CBD products.

THC, Cannabinoids, and full-spectrum CBD products

Though any CBD product is low in THC and other cannabinoids, one should be careful with full-spectrum products. These are CBD products rich in cannabidiol (CBD), other cannabinoids, and small amounts of THC. Their THC content is generally below 0.2%.

However, since these products may have many other cannabinoids and THC in traces, such products may result in positive drug tests.  Generally, full-spectrum products are not recommended for those in competitive sports.

Broad-spectrum CBD products

These are generally products that are almost THC free, but they may contain other cannabinoids. WADA only allows the use of cannabidiol (CBD), not other cannabinoids. Additionally, these products may contain other beneficial compounds not in WADA banned substance list like terpenes. Thus, there is some marginal risk that these products may cause positive drug tests. However, these products may still fall into the banned products list.

CBD isolate products

CBD isolate is 99% pure cannabidiol (CBD). Products generally using CBD isolate are free from THC and other cannabinoids and are legal to use by athletes. They might contain other cannabinoids in traces but generally in very small amounts to cause positive blood tests.  Nonetheless, it is a good idea to use products that were certified to be THC-free.

There is further good news for professional athletes. WADA will review its ban on cannabis, though it still remains on the banned substance list. It means that in future, there may be some other changes to the existing WADA rules. 


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