Olympic Anti-Doping Agency Will Remove CBD From Prohibited Substances List

In 2018, Olympians will be able to toke up (on CBD).

You may not have heard of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), but the organization was created by the International Olympic Committee to monitor drug use among Olympic athletes, and professionals of sport competing at the international level. WADA provides drug-related guidelines for a number of athletic associations beyond the Olympics, such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship. And now, as a result of some recent changes, CBD (cannabidiol, or THC’s non-psychoactive counterpart) will be dropped from the agency’s list of banned substances.

According to a summary WADA released last month, “Cannabidiol is no longer prohibited. Synthetic cannabidiol is not a cannabimimetic; however, cannabidiol extracted from cannabis plants may also contain varying concentrations of THC, which remains a prohibited substance.” 

In a statement obtained by online strain database and cannabis info hub Leafly, Director General Olivier Niggli said, “Annually, the Prohibited List review involves a very extensive stakeholder consultation process over the course of nine months. In reviewing the list, experts examine such sources as: scientific and medical research; trends; and, intelligence gathered from law enforcement and pharmaceutical companies in order to stay ahead of those that endeavor to cheat the system.”

CBD's acceptance by WADA is a big move for a world-renowned agency that has so far followed in step with every other sports association in flatly prohibiting any and all marijuana use among athletes. 

But just because international athletes can now test positive for CBD without being disqualified from competition, that doesn’t mean they should go about puffing on CBD vapes at random. While most manufacturers claim their CBD-only products contain just that, it’s fairly easy for a little THC to slip into any such oil blends during the process. Moreover, if athletes want to be extra careful—or paranoid, depending how you look at it—they might even be so keen as to test their CBD goodies before indulging. 

While this doesn’t affect American sports associations in any tangible way, hopefully it will influence them in the right direction—AKA allowing professional athletes legally treat pain as they see fit.