The World Anti-Doping Agency on Friday rejected calls to change marijuana’s status on the list of prohibited substances at sports events. Following the absence of United States sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson from the Tokyo Olympics last year, the agency was asked to review the status of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. As a result of testing positive at the national trials meet where she won the 100 meters, she served a one-month ban. During Richardson’s grief, due to the passing of her mother, she smoked marijuana to cope.
At a meeting in Sydney, Australia, the WADA executive committee decided to ban tramadol when athletes compete from January 2024. Cannabis use was deemed against the spirit of sport by WADA-appointed experts who consulted athletes. WADA director general Olivier Niggli, released a statement saying that the conversation “is not straight forward.” Niggli also stated, “WADA is also mindful that the few requests for THC’s removal from the Prohibited List are not supported by the experts’ thorough review. We are also conscious that the laws of many countries — as well as broad international regulatory laws and policies — support maintaining cannabis on the List at this time.”
During the Tour de France in July, Nairo Quintana was disqualified from sixth place after two samples tested positive for the synthetic painkiller. In addition to not being banned, he is also challenging his disqualification in court. When asked about the use and abuse of Tramadol, WADA said, “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 it will enforce the in-competition ban in January 2024, giving time for athletes and team doctors to learn about tramadol’s safe use.