No more cannabis drug testing for Canadian student athletes

Oct 1, 2020

Canadian student-athletes who are connoisseurs of cannabis now have a reason to celebrate. They will no longer be ousted from sports teams for its consumption.

Two years after cannabis became legal in Canada — now for both recreational and medical purposes, the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport has made a change to how cannabis anti-doping rules are applied to university student-athletes.

However, it’s important to remember that this rule only applies to student-athletes related to U Sports or the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA). Student-athletes will still be subject to any conduct or sport-related codes put in place by their institutions.

This revised protocol does not apply to athletes who are included in their sport’s national athlete pool. Those competing in other organizations’ national championships or international events will still be subject to the anti-doping rules put forth by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

The fact remains that THC, the mind-altering substance present in cannabis, is still considered an illicit drug by the World Anti-Doping Agency and other organizations that test for this substance.

The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CESS) has long advocated for the removal of cannabis from the WADA’s prohibited list of drugs as cannabis cases in U SPORTS and CCAA have been unrelated to performance enhancement. They’ve been unintentional violations caused due to the fact that cannabis is only prohibited in-competition and can take 30 days (and in some cases even more time) to clear from a human body.

The changes in Canada reflect a paradigm shift in societal perception of how cannabis education and harm reduction are managed. These views are slowly beginning to echo world-over too, as people are growing to accept the benefits of the substance. As a result, it is slowly but surely being legalized and decriminalized in many parts of the world.