FanPost

MMA and Medical Marijuana - TUE's Are the Key

The use of marijuana in MMA is in the news again now that it is reported that the Nevada State Athletic Commission has raised the testing threshold of marijuana metabolites from 50 ng/mL to 150 ng/mL. This move is in line with the World Anti Doping Agency's current policies who adopted the 150ng/mL standard as of May 11, 2013. This change in policy, while perhaps a reflection of the times, does nothing to take away the penalties for athletes who test positive. It simply creates a higher test threshold for a failing result. A combatant who uses marijuana in the days approaching a bout can still face a positive test even with this higher threshold.

If you are a medicinal marijuana user and don't want to run afoul of the law what is the safest course of action? Obtaining a Therapeutic Use Exemption is perhaps the most sensible choice. This is an option which should be available depending on the laws of the specific licencing jurisdiction.

I reached out to BC's Athletic Commissioner who confirmed to me via e-mail that TUE's for marijuana "would be looked at when brought forward and dealt with on an individual basis". Below is the breakdown of why its possible to obtain a TUE in this and many other jurisdictions.

BC adopts WADA standards with respect to doping with section 21(2) of the BC Regulation reading as follows:

"For the purpose of this regulation, the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of prohibited substances and methods applies as amended from time to time"

WADA's current list of prohibited substances include cannabinoids which are defined as follows "Natural (e.g. cannabis, hashish, marijuana) or synthetic delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabimimetics (e.g. "Spice", JWH018, JWH073, HU-210) are prohibited". Interestingly these are only prohibited "in competition" as opposed to the broader "out of competition" standard which outright bans the use of certain substances at any time.

Complying with this distinction is difficult if a medical marijuana user discontinues use prior to competition because the industry standard urine test searches for the presence of marijuana metabolites which can be detected many days after discontinued use. This is possible even with WADA's and the NSAC's higher standards. As illustrated by the Nick Diaz Marijuana experience , a combatant's word that they discontinued use prior to competition may not be sufficient to get around a failed test.

The solution with medical marijuana is the same as with all prohibited substances, applying for a Therapuetic Use Exemption. The WADA criteria for gaining a TUE are as follows:

The four criteria that must be fulfilled before a TUE is granted are set forth
in the International Standard for TUEs:
1. "The Athlete would experience a significant impairment to health if
the Prohibited Substance or Prohibited Method were to be withheld in
the course of treating an acute or chronic medical condition." (Article
4.1 a. of the International Standard for TUEs.)

2. "The Therapeutic Use of the Prohibited Substance or Prohibited
Method would produce no additional enhancement of performance
other than that which might be anticipated by a return to a state of
normal health following the treatment of a legitimate medical
condition.

3. "There is no reasonable Therapeutic alternative to the Use of the
otherwise Prohibited Substance or Prohibited Method." (Article 4.1
c of the International Standard for TUEs.)

4. "The necessity for the Use of the otherwise Prohibited Substance or
Prohibited Method cannot be a consequence, wholly or in part, of
prior non-Therapeutic Use of any Substance from the Prohibited
List." (Article 4.1 d. of the International Standard for TUEs.)

With the correct medical evidentiary foundation there is no reason why TUE's cannot be granted for medicinal marijuana. Applying for an exemption is the safest course of action an athlete who uses medical marijuana can take if they don't want to run afoul of athletic commission doping laws.

\The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bloody Elbow readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloody Elbow editors or staff.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Bloody Elbow

You must be a member of Bloody Elbow to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bloody Elbow. You should read them.

Join Bloody Elbow

You must be a member of Bloody Elbow to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bloody Elbow. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_5349_tracker