NCAA Committee Recommends Removing Marijuana From Prohibited Drugs List


INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – An NCAA panel calls for marijuana removal from the organization’s list of banned drugs, suggesting that testing should be limited to performance-enhancing substances.

The proposal, released Friday by the Committee on Competitive Protection and Medical Aspects of Sport, would mark a big change for the NCAA, which has administered drug testing at championship events since 1986. Committee members recommended suspending cannabis testing at such events pending a final decision, likely in the fall.

Legislation would still need to be passed and approved by all three NCAA divisions to become effective. Administrators from Divisions II and III had asked the committee to investigate the matter.

The recommendation comes as there are more and more states in the US Permitting the medicinal or recreational use of marijuana.

Earlier this year, the committee increased the THC threshold required for a positive test and recommended revised penalties for athletes. The limit for THC – the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana – has been raised from 35 to 150 nanograms per milliliter, matching that of the World Anti-Doping Agency.

The committee determined last December that marijuana and its by-products are not considered performance-enhancing substances. Instead of focusing on penalties for cannabis use, the panel suggested focusing on policies that focus on the potential threats of marijuana use and the need to reduce the harm and consumption of cannabis products.

It was also recommended that schools that conduct testing should use these results to identify ‘problem’ cannabis use. The committee would also like to provide schools with additional guidelines on cannabis.

Separately, the committee proposed setting a trace level threshold of 0.1 nanograms per milliliter for the hormone GW1516 to prevent athletes from being disqualified from participating due to unintentional ingestion of the substance via contaminated dietary supplements.

The substance was originally intended to treat diabetes, but was discontinued in 2007. It has been linked to positive doping tests in endurance sports.

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