The only thing older than the Olympics is using marijuana is a medical treatment. Attitudes toward the use of medical and recreational marijuana are rapidly changing all over the world. The complicated history of marijuana at the Olympics is taking a more positive turn as of the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Back in 2013, the World Anti-Doping Agency raised the bar of acceptable levels of THC in Olympic athletes. The acceptable level of THC in the body used to be 15 nanograms for Olympic athletes, but now they bumped that number up to 150 nanograms. This change helps differentiate between current and past users since marijuana can stay in the system for up to 30 days or longer, which prevents athletes from lighting up during competition days, but they won’t get in trouble for having used it before competition or during training.
One famous incident of Olympic marijuana use was when snowboarder Ross Rebagliati won gold at the 1998 Winter Olympics but tested positive for cannabis use. The Olympic committee attempted to take away his medal and was nearly successful in stripping the Olympian of his prize. The committee had to return the medal when they discovered marijuana was not on the official banned substance list until 1999.
Today, the Olympic committee is much less concerned with marijuana use and much more concerned with doping drugs. This is made clear by the fact that they could care less about Michael Phelps smoking weed after the 2008 Olympics, but they have a microscopic focus on the Russian athletes who participated in a “state-sponsored doping program.”Now, Olympians who use marijuana during training for medicinal purposes but quit before the games won’t have to worry so much about passing a marijuana drug test. Olympians have been using cannabis long before these new rules were put in place because marijuana provides Olympic athletes with pain management and bodily rest and recovery. The benefits of cannabis are free from the harmful side-effects and addictive qualities in pain medications.
Cannabinoids currently appear on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)’s list of prohibited substances. The Olympics have been fostering an increasingly more reasonable treatment toward cannabis consumption since 2016. Olympic athletes must keep less than 150 nanograms per milliliter of carboxy-THC in their urine tests.
WADA and its American counterpart US Anti-Doping Agency give athletes therapeutic exemptions as of September 2017. The agencies completely removed restrictions on CBD, as its mostly used for therapeutic reasons. WADA warns athletes consuming CBD could accidentally lead to THC consumption and a failing urine test.
The Olympic committee is currently less concerned with athletes occasionally toking up before the games begin instead of using addictive prescription painkillers. The main concerns continue to focus on steroids, growth hormones, and elaborate doping schemes.
The 2018 Olympic athletes were allowed a fair amount of leniency with their marijuana testing. The acceptance of cannabis consumption has taken great strides over the last few years and will continue to become more acceptable as more countries and US states legalize it. Stay up to date on all the marijuana news by visiting our blog.