UFC Officially Removes Cannabis from Banned Substances List

Effective December 31, 2023, the UFC's revised anti-doping policy, developed through years of collaboration and evaluation, will partner with agencies like Drug-Free Sport International and continuously evolve based on scientific evidence and stakeholder input to protect athletes' rights and sport integrity.

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UFC Officially Removes Cannabis from Banned Substances List

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has announced its decision to formally remove marijuana from its newly modified banned substances list for athletes, significantly deviating from the traditional stance taken by international sports organizations. The announcement is based on historical findings and aims to ensure fair and equal circumstances for all UFC fighters.

Revised Anti-Doping Policy Reflects Progressive Attitude towards Cannabis

The UFC has long been an influential player in combat sports, and this latest policy change reflects its commitment to adapting to changing times and incorporating progressive ideals into its anti-doping program. Although UFC’s list of banned substances is modeled after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), it has chosen to amend its stance on cannabis due to increasing acceptance among professional athletes and the potential benefits associated with responsible use.

While last year, the organization already took a significant step by minimizing penalties for fighters testing positive for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), with the current development, it is now removing cannabis as a prohibited substance entirely. 

New Policy Effective December 31, Further Protecting Athletes’ Rights

Taking effect on Sunday, December 31, the policy change will also involve entering into partnerships with sample collection and shipping agencies such as Drug-Free Sport International. Jeff Novitzky, the UFC’s Senior Vice President of Athlete Health and Performance, expressed that the revised anti-doping policy emerged from extensive feedback and experimental approaches involving the UFC, its athletes, and external collaborators who have contributed to the program’s implementation. He further recognized the policy’s ongoing adaptation, guided by solid scientific data and recommendations from diverse groups dedicated to safeguarding the rights of athletes and upholding the sport’s integrity.

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A Shifting Landscape: The NBA’s Acceptance of Cannabis Investments

The UFC’s stance is not an isolated development; other major sports leagues have begun to revise their policies regarding cannabis. Over the summer, the National Basketball Association (NBA) and its players union signed a collective bargaining agreement outlining rules permitting players to endorse and promote cannabis brands, albeit with certain restrictions in place.

In a partnership that would have been unthinkable just a short time ago, one of the United States’ most well-known hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) companies, Charlotte’s Web Holdings, became the “Official CBD of MLB.” These new arrangements between professional sports organizations and cannabis-focused businesses demonstrate a shift in attitudes towards marijuana within the sports community.

WADA Under Criticism for Maintaining Cannabis Ban

However, international agencies like WADA still uphold strict bans on cannabis use among athletes. While some welcomed these incremental changes made by individual sports leagues, others criticized WADA for its reluctance to relax its rules on cannabis consumption. As more sports organizations begin to embrace progressive attitudes towards marijuana, it becomes increasingly apparent that the time has come for international anti-doping agencies like WADA to reconsider their position on such issues.

A New Era of Tolerance and Progress in Sports

UFC’s decision to remove marijuana from its banned substances list reflects a growing understanding of the potential benefits associated with cannabis, as well as a shift towards more progressive policies in the world of professional sports. By making these changes and embracing new standards, organizations like UFC pave the way for a future where athletes can responsibly explore alternative approaches to managing their health and performance.

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Ultimately, this development signifies the start of a new era wherein sports organizations prioritize progress based on solid evidence, adaptability, tolerance, and fairness for all athletes—ultimately leading to healthier, happier competition environments for generations to come.

Rita Ferreira

Rita Ferreira

Rita is a seasoned writer with over five years of experience, having worked with globally renowned platforms, including Forbes and Miister CBD. Her deep knowledge of hemp-related businesses and passion for delivering accurate and concise information distinguish her in the industry. Rita's contributions empower individuals and companies to navigate the complexities of the cannabis world, and her work remains a valuable resource for those seeking a deeper understanding of its potential.

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