On September 29, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) published the List of Prohibited Substances and Methods for the coming year, 2018. As always, the new list will take effect on January 1. This gives athletes and anti-doping organizations three months to learn about the changes, and adapt to them.
According to WADA’s website, a substance or method must meet two of the three following criteria to be on the prohibited list:
1. It has the potential to enhance or enhances sport performance
2. It represents an actual or potential health risk to the athletes; or
3. It violates the spirit of sport.
What’s the difference between the 2017 and 2018 List of Prohibited Substances and Methods?
Besides some name changes and revised definitions, some substances have been removed while other have been added. The thing that might interest The Sugar Leaf readers is this line: “Cannabidiol is no longer prohibited."
But don’t start jumping in the air right away. Even though CBD has been removed from the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list, THC is still on it. And let’s not forget that some CBD extracts also contain varying concentrations of THC. It's a small, yet profound step, in the right direction. Enough of one that the optimist might hope in a couple of years THC will no longer be on the prohibited substances list either.
Go ahead, cross your fingers.
What changes for athletes now that the use of CBD is allowed?
Now that CBD is no longer on the prohibited substances list, athletes will be allowed to use CBD products in and out of competition after January 1, 2018. They must be careful not to use any products that contain THC, since it’s going to be prohibited for at least another year.
CBD might help a lot of athletes to alleviate pain from injuries in a more natural way. Strong painkillers often come with negative side effects, whereas cannabidiol doesn’t. Moreover, it might help them to sleep better, which decreases their recovery time, without possibly less sleep medication.
In the United States, CBD is still illegal under federal law. Several states allow it (for medical use), as well as some other countries. Even though the World Anti-Doping Agency won’t exclude athletes if they use the substance, it might be impossible to get it legally depending on where they live.
What will happen in the future?
We can’t be sure about what will be on the 2019 list, but it’s likely CBD won’t be added again. Of course, studies will be done all year, and might indicate CBD does influence the performance of athletes. If that happens, there is a chance the WADA will reconsider its decision. For now, athletes can enjoy CBD products without being afraid of testing positive on doping tests and missing competitions because of it.
Not everybody will be happy
Of course there’re still people against the use of CBD in sports. The substance allows athletes to heal faster, and feel less pain from long lasting injuries. Because of this, athletes using CBD, some might argue, have an advantage over their competitors. But others say that having a cup of coffee full of caffeine before a competition will also improve your performance, so...we'll keep our eye on this development.