The World Anti-Doping Agency - WADA - is a foundation created in 1999 through an initiative led by the International Olympic Committee.

Its mission is to obstruct and monitor the illegal or dubious use of sports-enhancing drugs. Cannabis has long been included in the list of forbidden substances, primarily due to its federal prohibition. This is in spite of cannabis’ known therapeutic benefits in regard to muscle recovery, inflammation, and chronic pain management.

This will, however, change as of January 2018. Cannabidiol (CBD) has officially been dropped from the list of controlled substances. Now, top athletes from across the globe need not fear about experimenting with CBD-rich oil extractions, infusions, and edibles.

CANNABIS AND SPORTS

Cannabis has a very close relationship with sports, more than you would expect. In a 2015 WADA study, out of 300,000 athletes screened worldwide, 4% tested positive for cannabinoids (or their metabolites) in their system.

Numerous athletes lost their titles and reputation due to admitted cannabis use.

Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time (28 medals) was suspended three months for cannabis use. Spanish gymnast Gervasio Deferr lost all the titles he conquered between mid-2002 and early 2003. Eugene Monroe, an NFL retiree at the mere age of 29, openly speaks about how he found relief for his chronic pain due to head trauma.

Nate Diaz, boxer and mixed martial arts champion for the UFC, is an open advocate of CBD as an analgesic. He was interviewed while vaping a CBD pen at the post-fight press conference at the Ultimate Fighting Championship Las Vegas 2016. When questioned about it, he said “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.”

Former NFL quarterback Jake Plummer became so impressed by the relief he found in CBD for his ten-year-old injury that he went on to become a public spokesperson and advocate of CBD use.

Kyle Turley was diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy after ten years of sustained injuries. These were so grave that he began to have suicidal and violent thoughts. That all stopped when he started taking medical cannabis, even going so far as to say it saved his life.

Ross Rebagliati, Canadian snowboarding gold medalist at the 1998 Winter Olympics, did not receive his medal because his blood tested positive for weed. He was disqualified, but managed to eventually get his medal because cannabis was not on the official list of Olympic banned substances. Had it been a year later when WADA was created, he would not have been so fortunate.

Micheal Phelps Cannabis

TIMES ARE CHANGING

When an organisation like WADA openly declares that CBD is ok to use by top athletes in the world for the prestigious Olympic games, you know we are on the cusp of significant change in the fabrics of society.

Governments across the globe will have to sit back and digest this information. How can you legitimately deny an Olympic athlete, or a regular citizen for that matter, a CBD oil extract to treat their muscle recovery pains when the world’s top anti-doping agency says it’s not dope?

Athletes from China, South Africa, and Mongolia (amongst many others) are now at a disadvantage, as CBD is still prohibited. This is a shame because, in so many cases, CBD can be more effective (and with fewer side-effects) than traditional pharmaceuticals.

World Anti-Doping Agency

DOPING AT THE OLYMPICS

If some athletes are privileged to a faster recovery and reduced pain while others are not, are these athletes competing on equal grounds?

This becomes an instant paradox, very similar to the relationship between steroids and the Olympics, only inverted.

The history of steroids and other drugs and the Olympics is very much like a Tom and Jerry cartoon. A literal cat and mouse game. Ever since the first tests dating back to 1968, the Olympics have been plagued with positive screenings for all sorts of sports-enhancing drugs.

Every year, new tests come out, and every year, new chemical analogs are created to fool the labs. The cat and mouse game continues to this day.

But the paradox is clear. Using drugs to super-charge one’s performance above their max potential is one thing - cheating; consuming natural plant derivatives to recover from the intensity of athletics is another thing entirely.

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