WADA Easing Marijuana Tests, NCAA Doing the Opposite

WADA - World Anti Doping Agency

Marijuana has not been shown to be a performance enhancer… so should it be banned or not?

The World Anti Doping Agency has announced that starting with all tests given on or after May 11th, a new higher threshold of 150ng/dl for marijuana will be used in all drug tests (up tenfold from 15ng/dl). Additionally, for all open investigations prior to May 11th they advise not pursuing cases that do not exceed the new threshold.

At the same time, however, the NCAA is reducing its threshold for college athletes to 5ng/dl from 15ng/dl.

Changes in Marijuana Use Philosophy

Both WADA and the NCAA acknowledge that marijuana is not a performance-enhancing drug.

The only real room for debate there seems to be in regard to its use as a pain reliever / analgesic, particularly in regard to combat sports where pain is a huge factor.

Professional “Acceptance”?

WADA easing their threshold can be seen as an acceptance that many people use marijuana – legal or not – and it isn’t their place to regulate what people do weeks in advance of an event if it isn’t affecting their performance.

The NCAA tightening their testing is being done not out of performance concerns but because of image issues. They are all about maintaining a good public image, and having athletes get tangled in illegal drug use is very detrimental to that.

What Implications Does This Have?

The changes to WADA guidance will take a while to roll out, as it merely sets the International Standard for Testing, which then has to be adopted by a wide number of sports agencies.

The first to act on these new guidelines will probably be the state athletic commissions, boxing, and MMA organizations that regulate drug testing for combat sports. Marijuana testing has been in the news several times recently as several prominent fighters have seen huge suspensions and fines for their use of the drug.

NCAA Athletes: It’s Here for Fall 2013, and It’s Strict

Ohio State Buckeye Leaves... or NOT?

Ohio State’s Buckeye Leaves have long been questioned for their similarity with marijuana leaves… will this lead to further sanctions for OSU?

The NCAA change goes into effect beginning during the 2013 Fall semester and will probably result in a sharp upturn in the number of suspensions handed down for marijuana initially, as athletes will be failing tests based on consumption up to a month before their test.

Athletic programs will probably be beating the drum very loudly on the issue as a result, because no big school wants to lose a star athlete for a year.

A Word to the Wise Collegiate Athlete…

In short, our recommendations to NCAA athletes – this summer, you better put the joint down sooner than later. Otherwise these new policies will burn you.

About the Author: Mike Roberto

Mike Roberto

Mike Roberto is a research scientist and water sports athlete who founded PricePlow. He is a biohacker with extensive experience in supplementation and dietary modification, whose personal expertise stems from several "n=1" experiments done on himself.

Mike's goal is to bridge the gap between nutritional research scientists and non-academics who seek to better their health in a system that has catastrophically failed the public.

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