On Friday, the World Anti-Doping Agency announced that marijuana would remain on its banned substance list. This comes after the agency was previously asked to review the status of THC, which is the active ingredient in marijuana, following the case of US sprinter Sha’Karri Richardson.
Richardson was forced to miss the Tokyo Summer Olympics and served a month-long ban after she tested positive in the U.S. Olympic trials. She won the 100m at the national trials to qualify for the Summer Games.
The American sprinter said she smoked marijuana at the time to cope with her mother’s death.
Athletes who use cannabis were interviewed by WADA-appointed officials who concluded that the use of the drug is “against the spirit of the sport,” according to the agency.
“WADA is also aware that several requests to remove THC from the Prohibited List are not supported by careful review by experts.” This was stated by WADA Director General Olivier Niggli.. “We are also aware that the laws of many countries, as well as general international regulatory laws and policies, support keeping cannabis on the list at this time.”
In addition to making a final decision on marijuana, WADA also announced that the opiate tramadol will now be banned for athletes from January 2024 following an executive committee meeting in Sydney.
Tramadol was previously banned from cycling starting in 2019. Following the 2022 Tour de France, Nairo Quintana was disqualified from sixth place after trace amounts of tramadol, a synthetic painkiller, were found in samples. Quintana is currently challenging the suspension in the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The International Cycling Union stated that “commonly reported side effects of tramadol are dizziness, drowsiness and loss of concentration, which are incompatible with competitive cycling and pose a risk to other participants.”
According to a statement from the agency, WADA is waiting until 2024 to ban the use of tramadol to give athletes and team doctors time to educate themselves and “consider the safe clinical use of tramadol.”