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  • Jennifer Betz

Marijuana Banned From Use in Olympics: Is THC a Performance-Enhancing Substance?

is cannabis a performance enhancing drug?

Medical marijuana is legal in Missouri. Can athletes Use it to Enhance Performance?

Athletes hailing from Kansas City, St. Louis, Nixa, Ballwin, O’Fallon, Moscow Mills and Marshall are representing the US at the 2021 Summer Olympic Games, and we couldn’t be prouder at Missouri Marijuana Card.

With the Women’s Olympic 100-meter dash (the event from which Sha’Carri Richardson was disqualified due to THC showing up in her system) scheduled to air July 29th at 8PM Eastern/7PM Central, we think this is the perfect time to address some sports-related misunderstandings about our favorite plant!

Views About Marijuana Are Changing For Missouri and the US, But Not So Much For the World Anti-Doping Agency

In Missouri, it is legal to purchase and use medical marijuana that comes from state licensed dispensaries, as long as you have a condition that qualifies you for treatment, a recommendation from a doctor, and you have registered with the DHSS medical marijuana program.

A total of 36 US states have legalized the use of medical marijuana, and 19 states also have adult-use marijuana as well. However, the World Anti-Doping Agency has banned marijuana for all athletes competing in WADA-regulated events.

WADA’s ban comes into focus about every four years, when at least one Olympic athlete is bound to get disqualified or penalized for their use. This time, Sha’Carri Richardson was suspended for just long enough to keep her out of the competition, even though she is the fastest runner the United States had for representation in the 100-meter dash.

WADA does not go into specifics about why any single substance is banned from use during competition, but the criteria for prohibition are as follows:

  1. They enhance performance.

  2. They pose a health risk.

  3. They violated the spirit of the sport.

According to WADA’s website, marijuana is a “substance of abuse,” and its use among athletes is only monitored during competition.

Does Marijuana Enhance Performance for Athletes?

While there are no clear indications about why marijuana is banned from use for all sports during Olympic competition, there has been some recent speculation that it is because THC can enhance an athlete’s performance.

This is one of the more favorable explanations for marijuana, but the fact is that it just isn’t true. Yes, marijuana can be a great help to athletes who strategically utilize cannabinoids while training, but banning THC is like saying that athletes can’t use protein shakes and vitamins to support their health while they perform.

Though study after study has concluded that marijuana is not a performance-enhancing drug, it can help athletes recover faster and train harder. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of using marijuana for better physical fitness.

Marijuana Can Help Reduce Recovery Time

Marijuana is effective at helping athletes reduce the amount of time they need to rest in between training sessions. One reason is that it can increase pain thresholds, allowing athletes to push through and get back on the treadmill the next day, or even to do that extra rep during the session.

Major sports institutions are recognizing the value of cannabis for pain relief and recovery as well. The NFL is paying for research into the therapeutic benefits of cannabis, the NBA has put a temporary hold on testing for THC during its regular season (which will likely be made permanent), MLB removed marijuana from its banned substance list, and the UFC announced earlier this year that it will no longer punish players for testing positive for THC.

Cannabis for Better Sleep

Sleep time is recovery time, and cannabis can help athletes get the rest they need to get up and do it all over again. According to the Sleep Foundation, “CBD can help with a number of sleep disorders, including insomnia, REM sleep behavior disorder, and excessive daytime sleepiness disorder. Additional preliminary research suggests CBD can also help patients improve sleep and reduce anxiety.”

Adding a little THC into the mix can reduce inflammation, which in turn results in a better night’s sleep and more healing overnight. These effects feed off of each other, with healing happening faster with better sleep, and better sleep being possible when there is less pain to keep athletes tossing and turning.

More Focus Through CBD and THC

Anxiety disorders are on Missouri’s qualifying conditions list, and with good reason.

The right combination of CBD and THC also helps users “get in the zone,” through reducing anxiety and helping athletes focus on the task at hand. Better focus means decreased risk for injury, and better rehabilitation practices during the healing process.

Can THC Improve Your Fitness Routine?

Marijuana is not a performance-enhancing drug, but it can improve your fitness routine, no matter if you have the athletic prowess of a cat that just ate too much lasagna or if you are the next Olympic hopeful.

Unfortunately, Missouri has not yet legalized adult-use cannabis, but getting a medical marijuana card is simple and straightforward. As long as you’ve been diagnosed with one of the many qualifying conditions, or your doctor is of the opinion that your condition would improve by using cannabis, then the rest is easy.

Just give Missouri Marijuana Card a call at (877) 303-3117, or schedule an appointment with one of our doctors today, and you can start incorporating cannabis into your fitness program as soon as your registration with the DHSS is cleared!


Doctors Who Care. Relief You Can Trust.

At Missouri Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.

Call us at (877) 303-3117, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!

Check out Missouri Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join the medical marijuana conversation in Missouri.

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