US Reporter

Cannabis Use in Sports: US Long Jumper Tara Davis-Woodhall Loses Title and Faces Suspension

US long jumper Tara Davis-Woodhall was recently stripped of her indoor championship title and suspended for a month after testing positive for cannabis.  

The US Hostile to Doping Organization (USADA) reported on Tuesday that Davis-Woodhall had tried positive for THC, a substance tracked down in weed, cannabis and marijuana, from an example gathered during the 2023 USA Olympic style events indoor titles in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on February 17. She had won the title on the same day with a leap of 6.99 meters.

Davis-Woodhall started her suspension on March 21 and has already finished it at the age of 23. Due to the positive test, she has lost her title and all of her competition accomplishments from February 17 onward are void. This includes any medals, points, or rewards she may have won.

According to WADA regulations, cannabis, marijuana, and hashish are prohibited substances. While the utilization of pot in contest is by and large viewed as execution improving, there is progressing banter about whether the substance ought to be restricted, given its broad use and changing lawful status in many areas of the planet.

In response to Davis-Woodhall’s positive test, USADA released a statement calling on WADA to reconsider its rules around marijuana use in competition. “WADA seeks input on each year’s updated version of the Prohibited List,” the statement read. “USADA has advocated and will continue to advocate to WADA, the rule maker, to treat marijuana in a fairer and more effective way to identify true in-competition use.”

Cannabis use in sports is a complicated and multifaceted issue. Cannabis use can, on the one hand, have a number of physical and mental effects that could help athletes perform better in sports, like lessening anxiety, improving sleep, and reducing pain.

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How Can It Affect Someone

On the other hand, cannabis use can also have negative effects on coordination, reaction time and cognitive function, which could potentially impair athletic performance and increase the risk of injury.

Moreover, the legal status of cannabis varies widely across different countries and jurisdictions. While cannabis use is legal for medicinal or recreational purposes in some parts of the world, it remains illegal under federal law in the United States, where many sports organizations are based. 

This means that athletes who use cannabis in states where it is legal could still face disciplinary action under the rules of their sports organizations.

Recently, there has been growing recognition of the need to re-evaluate the rules around cannabis use in sports. In 2020, the US Anti-Doping Agency removed CBD, a non-psychoactive component of cannabis, from its list of prohibited substances. This decision was based on growing evidence of the therapeutic benefits of CBD, as well as its low potential for abuse.

Under World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) rules, cannabis is considered a prohibited substance in competition. However, there are circumstances in which athletes may receive a reduced suspension for testing positive for THC. If the athlete can establish that the substance was taken out of competition and unrelated to sport performance, a reduced three-month suspension may be given.

In Davis-Woodhall’s case, her suspension was reduced to one month due to her completion of a substance abuse treatment program for her use of cannabis. While her suspension has been served, she was disqualified from all competitive results obtained on and subsequent to February 17, including forfeiture of any medals, points, and prizes.

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Cannabis Suspension

This is not the first time that cannabis use has resulted in a high-profile suspension in the world of sports. US sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson had initially secured her spot at the Tokyo Olympics with a victory in the women’s 100 meters at the US Olympic track and field trials in Eugene, Oregon, only to have her title stripped after testing positive for marijuana. 

Richardson was also suspended for a month, and USA Track and Field opted not to select her as part of the women’s 4×100-meter relay pool after her suspension ended, effectively keeping her off the Olympic team.

The issue of cannabis use in sports has been a topic of debate for many years, with some arguing that the substance should not be banned given its widespread use and changing legal status in many parts of the world. Others argue that the use of cannabis in competition is generally considered to be performance-enhancing and should remain prohibited.

In response to these concerns, there have been calls for WADA to reconsider its rules around marijuana use in competition. USADA has been advocating for a fairer and more effective way to identify true in-competition use of the substance.

While the debate around cannabis use in sports is complex and multifaceted, the fact remains that athletes who test positive for the substance face disciplinary action under WADA rules. As such, it is important for athletes to be aware of the substances that are prohibited in competition and to make informed choices about their use of drugs and supplements.

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