Sept. 23 (BP) — Marijuana will remain on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned substances list for athletes, the organization’s executive committee announced Friday.
The decision was announced during the group’s second meeting of the year in Sydney, Australia. It was based on a recommendation by an advisory group of experts who considered whether THC has the potential to enhance sport performance, poses health risk to athletes and violates of the spirit of sport.
The global sports body was asked to review the status of THC, the psychoactive substance in marijuana, after U.S. sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson was disqualified from her first-place finish at the Olympic trials after testing positive for marijuana.
Richardson was suspended for 30 days and was ineligible to compete in the Tokyo Summer Olympics.
The advisory group reviewed scientific and medical publications, testimonials from athletes and published surveys.
WADA Director General Olivier Niggli said requests to remove THC from the banned substances list weren’t supported by the experts’ review. The WADA will continue to research the use of THC in sports.
“The question of how THC should be dealt with in a sporting context is not straightforward,” Niggli said in a statement. “WADA is aware of the diversity of opinions and perceptions related to this substance around the world, and even within certain countries.”
The committee also ruled to prohibit the narcotic tramadol in competition effective Jan. 1, 2024.
WADA said the delay in implementation will allow athletes, their entourage and medical personnel to understand the prohibition and give sports authorities time to develop educational tools.
“Tramadol abuse, with its dose-dependent risks of physical dependence, opiate addiction and overdoses in the general population, is of concern and has led to it being a controlled drug in many countries,” WADA said. “Research studies funded by WADA have also confirmed that potential to enhance physical performance.”