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By Max Sargent

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 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 experimenting with CBD-rich oil extractions, infusions, and edibles.


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 his use of cannabis.

Nate Diaz, boxer and mixed martial arts champion for the UFC, is an open advocate of CBD. He was interviewed while vaping a CBD pen at the post-fight press conference at the Ultimate Fighting Championship Las Vegas 2016. 

Former NFL quarterback Jake Plummer became so impressed by CBD 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. He too is now a staunch supporter of cannabis.

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


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.

In a move that should hopefully increase the availability of CBD to people worldwide, the World Anti-Doping Agency has concluded that the consumption of CBD and CBD products does not constitute doping, and that athletes are therefore allowed to use them. This is but one more piece of mounting evidence in favour of CBD.

Unfortunately, access to CBD will not be equal among all athletes, despite this decision. Athletes from countries such as China, South Africa, and Mongolia are still unable to (legally) take CBD, as it is prohibited in these countries.

World Anti-Doping Agency


If some athletes are allowed to take CBD 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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