In a strong step forward for cannabis, a traditionally strict drug-testing agency is now allowing cannabidiol, or CBD, the non-psychoactive kind of weed.
The World Anti-Doping Agency is responsible for governing drug testing in the Olympics, Ultimate Fighting Champion and other major sports events. But from when the agency created the list in 2004 up until the start of October, all types of cannabis were prohibited. Now, the agency is removing CBD from its list of banned substances.
The agency has determined that CBD does not have the potential to enhance sport performance, represent a health risk to the athletes or violates the spirit of sport—the criteria for listing drugs on the prohibited list.
"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," said Director General Olivier Niggli in a statement.
The decision marks a major step forward for cannabis-friendly athletes like Nate Diaz, an MMA fighter who vaped cannabis at a press conference last year, risking a one-year suspension.
"It helps with the healing process and inflammation, stuff like that," Diaz told the assembled media. "So you want to get these for before and after the fights, training. It'll make your life a better place."
Other outspoken athlete cannabis activists include former NBA players Jay Williams and former Blazers player Cliff "Uncle Spliffy" Robinson. Williams told Fox Business he estimates that 80 percent of NBA players are already smoking pot.
"I know so many athletes that play on Percocet. Have you ever taken Percocet by the way? It makes you way more groggy than rubbing cannabis oil into your skin," Williams told Fox. "It's demonized in society too. 'Oh, he's a pot head.' No, I actually just use cannabis oil because it helps with inflammation and takes away some anxiety."
"I used it as a way to calm down. I had a little anxiety sometimes. I definitely didn't like pharmaceutical drugs, as far as how they made my stomach feel, so I would use [marijuana]," Robinson told WW last year.
Robinson was suspended for cannabis use three times during 18 seasons in the NBA. After his retirement in 2007, he became an advocate for cannabis. He now has a line of pot products, which he debuted in Portland earlier this year.
The World Anti-Doping Agency's new rule will take effect in 2018.