Puff, puff, pass. Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports (CSMAS) has officially recommended to the NCAA to remove marijuana from its banned substance list.
This doesn’t mean that weed is now legal for NCAA student athletes. But the recommendation is a step to getting violations based on marijuana, which isn’t a performing enhancing drug, from the list.
NCAA, marijuana, and wrestling
Soon, NCAA wrestlers may be able to partake in the Devil’s lettuce without reprisal and utilize the benefits for anxiety, inflammation reduction, and other benefits. This could help students deal with the day to day challenges of being a student athlete.
The NCAA started drug testing student athletes in 1986. With marijuana being on the banned substance list, many athletes were suspended for the drug. In 2020, Arizona State wrestler Zahid Valencia was suspended for marijuana and lost nine months of competition.
Earlier in the year, the NCAA raised the threshold for marijuana from 35 to 150 milligrams per milliliter.
The thing comes down to what is the purpose of NCAA drug testing. If it’s to stop performance enhancing drugs be used by athletes, then marijuana is neither performance enhancing nor does it mask PED usage. If the NCAA wants to police what their athletes do every day, then marijuana will remain banned.
In recent years, thoughts around marijuana has shifted in the minds of the American public. As several states have legalized the drug for recreational and medicinal use, federal legalization is on the way. This creeps into the NCAA’s and the rest of the combat sports world.
Last year, the UFC and USADA announced that they will no longer be punishing athletes for failed drug tests for marijuana.
While not changed yet, the recommendation for the NCAA to remove marijuana punishments from their drug testing is a step in the right direction.