World Anti-Doping Agency Changes Pot Rules

The World Anti-Doping Agency has changed its rules on marijuana testing, raising the threshold for a positive test far higher in order to only catch those smoking pot during competition, not in between competitions. It’s a good start, but still not far enough:

WADA recently amended its rules on cannabis, raising the threshold for a positive test from 15 nanograms per milliliter to 150 ng/ml. In 1998 at the Nagano Games, Rebagliati recorded a level of 17.8 ng/ml, and argued the test resulted from second-hand smoke, which he still says. Ben Nichols, a spokesperson for WADA, said the raising of the threshold is meant to catch only athletes who smoke during the period of a competition. The drug isn’t prohibited out of competition.

“Our information suggests that many cases do not involve game or event-day consumption,” Nichols said. “The new threshold level is an attempt to ensure that in-competition use is detected and not use during the days and weeks before competition.”

Raising the threshold level to 150 nanograms per milliliter means that an athlete would have to be a “pretty dedicated cannabis consumer” to test positive, according to Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

But why bother testing for it at all? It’s not a performance-enhancing drug, not unless first prize is a box of Twinkies. The only reason it’s even an issue is because of anti-drug hysteria that treats all substances alike. Michael Phelps smoked — in all likelihood smokes — pot. It did not help him win more than 20 medals, of course, but it didn’t hurt him either. It should be completely irrelevant to WADA, the IOC and everyone else as well.

Comments

  1. Synfandel says

    This issue came up at Nagano in 1998 when Canadian snowboarder Ross Rebagliati (the “g” is silent) won the first ever Olympic gold medal for snowboarding. He tested positive for pot use—Duh! He’s a snowboarder—and was stripped of the medal. It was later restored when it was pointed out that marijuana was not a banned substance. Of course, they’ve since closed that loophole by banning the drug.

  2. Artor says

    To be fair, pot certainly does help one get “into the groove;” that state of single-minded focus that is necessary for high-level competitions. But I assume all competitive athletes have learned how to find their groove just fine with or without pot. If you can’t get there without toking, you shouldn’t be competing at that level in the first place. But the pot ban as it is now is not supported by the evidence or the reasoning offered.

  3. Anthony K says

    It’s not a performance-enhancing drug, not unless first prize is a box of Twinkies.

    You know what would be really awesome? A service that delivers a box of Twinkies. Like, you just, like, call a number, and twenty minutes later, like, you’ve called a number right? and then twenty minutes later, or maybe fifteen, or thirty if there’s traffic on the bridge…Hey: why aren’t there more bridges? They should totally make more bridges. Man, I could go for some Twinkies right now.

    (Fun Munchies fact: while I have consumed more than my share of BC’s finest, I think I’ve only once ever eaten a Twinkie, and then only to absorb New York’s psychokinetic energy.)

  4. CaitieCat says

    Yeah, Twinkies suck as weed-feed. You want something with different textures like creamy and crunchy, with hot and cold, salty and sweet, it’s about the contrasts, which tend to feel heightened.

    For this reason, I favour regular salted crisps/chips, and sour cream dip with onion soup mix. The soup mix brings the tanginess of onion, the sour cream is both sour and smooth/creamy/cold, the crisps/chips are crunchy/salty. Some favour Doritos with a similar dip. A Middle-Eastern platter of tzatziki, hummus, tabbouleh, and baba ghanouj, with a mixture of dry/crunchy and moist/chewy pita is also a nice substitute.

    Or, y’know, I would if I ever used such a thing. Or I’ve heard it said. Or something.

    *shifty eyes*

  5. R Johnston says

    Certainly the risk of injury, to oneself and others in interactive sports, goes up when competing while high. Not as much, perhaps, as when competing while drunk, but enough to merit disqualification from competition regardless of whether or not there remains a hypocritical treatment of alcohol.

    There’s absolutely nothing wrong with testing for performance under the influence of any drug that limits judgment or reflexes.

  6. says

    Yeah, Twinkies suck as weed-feed. You want something with different textures like creamy and crunchy, with hot and cold, salty and sweet, it’s about the contrasts, which tend to feel heightened.

    Not an expert in this sort of thing, but it sounds like pizza with the right combinations of toppings would be good for this. Which, I suppose, is a contributing factor to empty pizza boxes being considered “drug paraphernalia.”

  7. IslandBrewer says

    What about competitive eating contests? Cannabis is, like, totally a performance enhancing drug in those, dude.

  8. CaitieCat says

    Definitely pizza, especially served with a dipping sauce (cold and creamy is a nice adjunct to the various others).

    So I’ve heard. Isn’t it a Bible verse?

    PAUL’S LETTER TO THE RASTAFARIANS 18:12-13:
    12. And shalt thou then dry the herb given unto thee by God for thy pleasure; for when dried, and immersed in the fat of the lamb*, it shall make a substance by which wonders to behold;
    13 But ensure in this that before all things thou preparest in thy house a cornucopia, being of the type of breads and meats and vegetables and stoats and otters’ noses and (“Skip a bit, brother…”)…orangutans, lest thy hunger overcome thy nature, and thou mayest thereby lie with someone, yea, even just for a Dorito.

    Here endeth the lesson.

    * The Aramaic word says “or corn or any fatty food, really,” but Tyndale was a purist.

  9. says

    ‘There’s absolutely nothing wrong with testing for performance under the influence of any drug that limits judgment or reflexes.”

    People who are chronic stoners aren’t like, COMPETITVE AS A RULE, dude.

    I think that they should test for all drugs in competitive athletes systems and if the use of said drugs has been in a time frame that means they have affected the competitor, then disqualify them. This goes for smack, pot, X, caffeine, nicotine and alcohol.

    it’s been pretty conclusively proven that both nicotine and alcohol are far more damaging and addictive than marijuana, oddly neither of the those other two is proscribed for athletic competitors.

  10. Abby Normal says

    Loving the Google ads for this article: two for vaporizers, one for groovy t-shirts, and one for GNC workout supplements.

  11. zenlike says

    Well, I mostly agree that pot should be overall not tested for, but I can imagine exceptions for certain sports.

    Keep in mind that in certain sports, additional substances are banned, plus that not only performance enhancing drugs are banned, but sometimes also substances that can give other unfair competitive advantages, like for example raising the pain threshold, so I can totally imagine that in for example some fighting sports pot stays prohibited, just like alcohol etc (I’m thinking about certain fighting sport in particular).

  12. zenlike says

    … and the above happens when you make last-minute adaptations to your post…

    Are there any commenting-enhancing drugs available on the market?

  13. otrame says

    @11,

    Yep, the ads are often hilarious and occasionally infuriating.

    As far as throwing a munch is concerned, pizza has always been popular because it was easy to get without actually leaving the house. Those of us* who had some sense did not like to drive while impaired.

    *people who have smoked a fair amount of pot in the past and who wish it was legal now, but who are no longer willing to risk the bullshit of getting caught with it.

  14. kingoftoasty says

    @#3 I can’t tell if you are joking or not, but the assertion that marijuana helps people get into the zone is laughable at best. Acute THC consumption actually impairs sustained attention as well as the ability to rapidly process complex visual stimuli, which seems pretty necessary to competitive athletics.

  15. says

    kingoftoasty “Acute THC consumption actually impairs sustained attention as well as the ability to rapidly process complex visual stimuli, which seems pretty necessary to competitive athletics.”
    1. Synchronized bonfire.
    2. 100m Accoustic Guitar.
    3. Beanbag Chair Toss.
    Consider yourself refuted.

  16. eric says

    R Johnson:

    There’s absolutely nothing wrong with testing for performance under the influence of any drug that limits judgment or reflexes.

    When an athlete gets seriously injured or injures others, and they find a mind- or performance- altering drug in their system, THEN your argument will have some merit. But right now, you are proposing a personally intrusive fix for a non-problem.

  17. Pieter B, FCD says

    Loving the Google ads for this article: two for vaporizers, one for groovy t-shirts, and one for GNC workout supplements.

    One detox center, three vapes, two weird tricks, and “One-A-Day Joint Relief.”

  18. cottonnero says

    Couple of vapes, a t-shirt store, and a motorcycle repair training institute. If that’s what my interests would be if I started smoking pot, count me out.

  19. Captain Mike says

    “it’s been pretty conclusively proven that both nicotine and alcohol are far more damaging and addictive than marijuana, oddly neither of the those other two is proscribed for athletic competitors.”

    They sometimes are during actual competitions. I seem to recall that the Olympics have a smoking/alcohol ban for athletes during the games.

  20. Doug Little says

    Might be hard to find Twinkies soon, Hostess went out of business… click click Google click….

    Holy crap they have just been released back onto the US market. Apparently the rights were bought out by another company and they have revived the Twinkie. I guess they really do last for ever.

  21. says

    I was a pretty serious, though not elite, distance runner in my day (14:58 5K, 2:24 marathon). I admit that I dreamed of reaching the U.S. Olympic Trials, and I wasn’t far off. In my darkest hour, I considered gaining that extra edge by blowing a shitload of bongs the morning of a race, followed by a five-pound ball of hash. I thank my Heavenly Father for granting me the resolve to resist using banned substances to attain a level of aerobic power not granted by God alone.
    (By the same token, I never slit my wrists before a major competition.)

  22. says

    @20:

    Capt. Mike:

    I was thinking more along the lines of “within a week” etc.,.

    I’m not sure what the IOC or AAU do but an alcohol ban is notoriously difficult to enforce, given that it’s not only legal but ubiquitous.

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