The World Anti-Doping Agency has removed CBD from the 2018 list of prohibited substances.
“Cannabidiol is no longer prohibited,” WADA said in a statement on September 29. They warned, however, that THC remains banned.
“Cannabidiol extracted from cannabis plants may contain varying concentrations of THC,” WADA said, urging precaution before imbibing CBD products. Marijuana use is still prohibited and testing positive can result in suspension.
In HuffPost earlier this year, David Bearman, a pioneer in the medical marijuana field, wrote that “CBD is a powerful anti-epileptic, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, anti-nauseate, sleep aid, muscle relaxant, sedative and anti-proliferative.” While there may not yet be a lot of peer-reviewed studies to back up Bearman’s claim, there is a plenty of anecdotal evidence, including Nate Diaz, who explained what he was inhaling after his loss to Conor McGregor at UFC 202 last year.
“It’s CBD,” said Diaz, to whom the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency issued a public warning last year. “It helps with the healing process and inflammation, stuff like that. So you want to get these for before and after the fights, training. It’ll make your life a better place.”
Several NFL players have also touted the benefits of CBD, and more generally, medical marijuana, including Ebenezer Ekuban and Eugene Monroe, who began calling for legalization of medical marijuana while still playing with the Baltimore Ravens in 2015, though he was released from the team shortly thereafter.
Speaking to The Post’s Rick Maese earlier this year, they offered similar claims as Diaz about CBD and medical marijuana’s effects, plus an added benefit, which resonates with many — hemp-based compounds could help athletes avoid having to take addictive opioid pain relievers for long-term pain relief.
“This pain is never going away. My body is damaged,” Monroe, 30, said. “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.”
Isolating CBD specifically eliminates the euphoric “high” associated with marijuana use. Bearman calls that distinction “the big selling point for the surging popularity” of CBD.
The new list will go into effect January 1. Until then, CBD remains prohibited under the parameters established under the 2017 list.