Combined martial arts promoter Final Combating Championship and the US Anti-Doping Company introduced on Thursday that marijuana would not be banned for fighters typically. UFC and USADA officers mentioned that they’ve made vital adjustments “within the dealing with of hashish and its naturally occurring cannabinoid compounds.”

Below the brand new coverage, optimistic exams for carboxy-THC, a metabolite of the cannabinoid, would not be a violation “until further proof exists that an athlete used it deliberately for performance-enhancing functions.”

“Whereas we wish to proceed to stop athletes from competing underneath the affect of marijuana, we have now discovered that blood and/or urine ranges of carboxy-THC have little to no scientific correlation to impairment,” UFC senior vp of athlete well being and efficiency Jeff Novitzky said in an announcement. “THC is fat-soluble, that means that after ingested, it’s saved in fatty tissues and organs within the physique and might be launched again into the blood or urine, typically lengthy after ingestion.”

“The underside line is that with regard to marijuana, we care about what an athlete consumed the day of a battle, not days or even weeks earlier than a battle, which has usually been the case in our historic optimistic THC instances,” he added.

Novitsky mentioned regardless of the time THC spends within the physique, the consequences of hashish are felt for hours, not days. He additionally famous that there is no such thing as a correlation between the extent of THC in an athlete’s physique and impairment.

“Why the hell will we care what somebody did every week earlier than, not to mention an evening earlier than, when it doesn’t have any impact on their means to battle,” Novitzky said to ESPN.

Excessive Burden of Proof

The coverage units the burden of proof for the USADA to sanction a fighter for a optimistic THC take a look at very excessive, basically eliminating punishment for marijuana use. Novitzky mentioned the USADA must show a fighter was impaired by hashish instantly earlier than a battle as a way to impose a punishment.

“I can’t consider one occasion in any historic instances the place that proof has been there,” Novitzky mentioned. “It could in all probability require visible indicators if the athletes present up at an occasion stumbling, smelling like marijuana, eyes bloodshot, issues like that. And that’s … one thing you not often, if ever, see. I actually haven’t in my six years with the UFC.”

Novitzky famous that based mostly on discussions with athletes, a big share of fighters use hashish, many for medical slightly than leisure functions.

“Many use it for ache management, anti-anxiety, to sleep, in lieu of extra harmful, extra addictive medicine, he mentioned, including “it has no impact in any way on a contest on Saturday night time, so it’s the correct transfer, and I’m actually enthusiastic about this revision and that particular coverage change.”

“This variation is designed to prioritize fighter well being and security by not punishing fighters who might have therapy for substance abuse, which can result in a fighter being impaired and jeopardize his or her security within the Octagon,” the USADA mentioned in a press launch.