An athlete’s life is never easy because of all the training, workouts, and possible injuries. Pain and muscle ache is an inevitable factor and part of the process, but most medications pose a higher health risk overall, especially if taken continuously. That’s why athletes are searching for an approved substance that can relieve pain and inflammation without the possibility of addiction and overdose.

WADA Removes CBD From ‘Prohibited’ List

On the 1st of January 2004, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) introduced a code that aimed to fight against the tradition of doping athletes before competitions. Along with this goal, the agency produced an official List of Prohibited Substances and Methods that all participants should follow. It classifies the substances into different categories like steroids, gene doping, stimulants, and many more.

All marijuana strains have initially been part of the Prohibited List because the agency believed that it satisfied the three main criteria. However, at the start of 2018, WADA has decided to pull out Cannabidiol (CBD) alone from the said list because a lot have protested that CBD is non-addictive and can naturally address pain and inflammation without the risk of getting addicted.

Other marijuana strains, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), remain prohibited due to the users’ psychoactive effects. Note that all marijuana strains, whether natural or synthetic, are still not allowed for consumption, no matter the circumstances.

On the other hand, the U.S. Anti Doping Agency says that the only exception they will make for therapeutic THC usage is if the substance is FDA-approved combined with other prescription products like Dronabinol and Marinol.

Cannabis (Marijuana)
Can athletes use marijuana while training? WADA removes CBD from ‘Prohibited’ list

Are Athletes Allowed To Use CBD?

The general answer is yes. While initially, the list contained all marijuana strains, athletes and organizations worldwide protested in unison that CBD does not, in any way, violate the code. The substance is a known powerful anti-epileptic, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory agent, effective pain reliever, sleeping aid, and muscle relaxant. Also, there are other benefits, such as helping the heart improve or reducing acne.

According to WADA, CBD is a non-intoxicating and non-psychoactive substance, so they remain firm on their decision to remove it from the Prohibited List. However, athletes should be aware that some CBD formulations still have a bit of THC in it and might test positive on their drug tests when in competition. In their Prohibited List, it is stated that “cannabidiol is no longer prohibited. Synthetic CBD is not a cannabimimetic; however, cannabidiol extracted from cannabis plants may also contain varying THC, which remains a prohibited substance.”

You don’t have to worry about the last line stated in WADA’s Prohibited List, because the agency has released a fixed amount for THC urinary threshold. In the previous years, the athletes were only allowed to continue with their competitions when the THC levels were below 15 nanograms per milliliter. However, WADA has set the threshold to 150 nanograms per milliliter to lower the chances of getting a positive drug test due to the athlete’s usage outside of the competition.

According to Ben Nichols, the new threshold levels were made to help the management evaluate whether players and athletes consumed substances on the event day itself or during the weeks before a competition. To further clarify, Nichols said that cannabis is not prohibited outside of competition. Also, according to the information that Nichols and his team gathered, it suggests that “many cases do not involve game or event-day consumption,” which led to the agency increasing the threshold overall. Ben Nichols is a spokesperson for WADA.

Take note that threshold levels only apply to THC. Other types of cannabinoids (except cannabidiol) are strictly prohibited in any form or amount, be it in synthetic or natural form.

CBD Does Not Go Against WADA’s Code

Before anything else, people must know the three main criteria that WADA states are the reason for a substance and drug to be included in the Prohibited List or not. If a particular drug fulfills 2 out of 3 criteria, then it’s considered as part of the list.

  1. It has the potential to enhance or; enhances sports performance.
  2. It represents an actual or potential health risk to the athlete.
  3. It violates the spirit of sport.

CBD is often confused with giving users a sensation of getting “high,” but that’s not true. CBD is not psychoactive but still has the same benefits as THC does. Aside from having numerous benefits as stated above, the substance is a natural product that also has the same effects as pharmaceutical drugs but without the adverse effects. Users don’t suffer from overdose or toxicity.

With enough research and information gathered regarding the background of CBD, WADA has officially removed it from the Prohibited List of substances. This decision is a form of compromise, especially to the individuals and organizations that use CBD in training, practices, and workouts.


Overall, athletes are allowed to use CBD in their training, so you don’t have to worry much about it. WADA only focuses on substance consumptions done days or weeks before the competition itself. To avoid complications and possible positive tests, make sure you invest in high-quality and safe CBD sources. Visit Weekendgardener to know more information about the best products in the market.


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