Athletes and cannabis advocates alike were pleasantly surprised to discover that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has officially removed cannabidiol (CBD) from their list of prohibited substances for 2018. The WADA, which was created by the International Olympic Committee, sets the anti-drug regulations for Olympic and other international athletes participating in a wide number of global sports competitions.
CBD has many well-documented medical benefits for professional athletes, including the reduction of chronic pain symptoms and inflammation. However, usage of the drug has heretofore been prohibited, because the drug is derived from cannabis, which is prohibited in most countries. CBD has no psychoactive effects, so its usage has little effect on an athlete's performance other than helping them recover from injuries.
CBD was brought to the attention of many sports fans when MMA fighter Nate Diaz used a vape pen during a post-fight conference in 2016. "It's CBD," Diaz told the press. “It helps with the healing process and inflammation, stuff like that. So you want to get these for before and after the fights, training. It'll make your life a better place.”
“Cannabidiol is no longer prohibited,” the WADA wrote. “Synthetic cannabidiol is not a cannabimimetic; however, cannabidiol extracted from cannabis plants may also contain varying concentrations of THC, which remains a prohibited substance.”
The usage of CBD is still prohibited by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, however, but athletes are hopeful that the WADA's decision will set a positive precedent for the use of medical cannabis among athletes.