Olympians at this year’s Summer Olympics in Rio will worry more about the Zika virus than they will cannabis testing. In 2013, the World Anti-Doping Agency (the agency responsible for drug testing in international sports) decided to raise the acceptable THC levels for Olympic athletes smoking weed.
Don’t light up just yet
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) agreed to raise the acceptable nanogram levels for Olympians from 15 to 150 nanograms. This change, enacted in 2013, was designed to help differentiate between current users and past users. As we know, cannabis can stay in your system for 30 days and in some cases longer.
Now, Olympians who use marijuana during their training, but quit before their arrival at the games will have a much easier time meeting the standards for THC content. Many Olympians, past and present, have either been caught or acknowledged cannabis use. In most cases, Olympians are using marijuana for its medicinal value – rest, recovery, and pain management.
“Our information suggests that many cases do not involve game or event-day consumption. 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. – Ben Nichols, World Anti-Doping Agency”
Olympics and athletes smoking weed
Olympians have been using cannabis for years. One infamous case is that of snowboarder Ross Rebagliati. The Olympic committee attempted to take away his gold medal in the 1998 Winter Olympics when he tested positive for cannabis use. Interestingly, cannabis was not on the WADA banned substances list until 1999, so the committee was instructed to give the medal back.
Focus on dope-ing
With the Olympics set to start off tonight, we have been blasted with stories about doping scandals around the world. The Russian’s are apparently under the microscope for their “state-sponsored doping program”. So far, 118 Russian athletes have been banned from this year’s Rio Games.
Officials are even calling for a further investigation into the 1976 Montreal games, in which the Eastern German Olympic team dominated. Their domination, especially in the women’s swimming events, was determined to be the result of an elaborate doping system that transformed their athletes overnight.
I guess the point is it’s about time we become more concerned about steroids, growth hormones, and elaborate schemes to rig the Olympics than we are about cannabis use. Olympic athletes know their bodies. If they are using cannabis instead of addictive drugs and dangerous performance enhancers, good on them.
If cannabis was really so bad, do you think Michael Phelps would have a World Record 22 medals?
Chances are, Phelps is not the guy to go to for marijuana in the Olympic village, but you could try the Jamaican camp.