ABC to consider new WADA marijuana standards

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Last week UFC officials announced lightweight Pat Healy would lose $130,000 in performance bonuses after testing positive for marijuana metabolites. There is a general feeling in the sport that while the rules are the rules and must be enforced, stringent prohibitions on marijuana are not in keeping with sweeping changes in the way sociey views marijuana use.

“Society is changing, it’s a different world now,” said UFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner on March. “States are legalizing marijuana and it’s becoming more and more of a problem with fighters testing positive and the metabolites.”

Right now I just cannot believe that a performance enhancing drug and marijuana can be treated the same.  It just doesn’t make sense to the world anymore and it’s something that has to be brought up.”

One quick solution to the problem, was presented by the The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which recently upped the standards for a positive test, to prevent fighters from competing while high, but not penalizing those fighters that choose to engage in marijuana on a recreation, or prescription basis. Under the new standard, the marijuana testing threshold will be raised from 15 ng/mL to 150 ng/mL.

Now, the Association of Boxing Commissions plans to consider the new WADA standard.

The ABC’s medical committee will convene for a teleconference on May 28, during which the regulatory body will discuss, among other topics, WADA’s new stance on cannabis. According to Dr. Sherry Wulkan, the ABC’s medical chair, the committee will draft a policy statement to be presented to the ABC during the group’s annual conference this August in Texas.

“In combat sports, marijuana may be used for purposes of elevating pain threshold. There is also a concern as to whether reaction time may be altered with use,” Wulkan told “Therefore, at present, the 15ng/mL rule still applies. Whether [therapeutic use exemptions] should be granted for medicinal purposes will be one of the topics for discussion next week.”

Meanwhile, the NCAA has cracked down on its marijuana testing, lowering the threshold from 15 ng/mL to 5 ng/mL as of Aug. 1. While the NCAA’s Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sport also decided that the penalty for testing positive for cannabis should be decreased from a full-season to a half-season suspension, that amendment will not take effect until August 2014 at the earliest, according to

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