The confusing world of CBD and sports banned substance testing – podcast

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) OK’d CBD for athletes under its testing scheme, but many involved in sport are still unsure who can take what form of cannabis.

Steve Myers, Senior Editor

December 18, 2019

From dietary ingredients to drugs, athletes face a dizzying array of rules and lists governing what they can and cannot ingest. However, these resources, as well as guidance from governing bodies, can be incomplete and/or non-specific which leaves a lot to interpretation. Banned substance testing of sports supplements is smack in the middle of this confusion, especially when it involves the cannabis plant and new supplement darling CBD (cannabidiol). THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis, has long been prohibited from sport (and recreation in most places), but CBD was recently OK’d (to some degree?) by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which covers many international sports such as the Olympics and FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association, aka world soccer). However, many domestic leagues make their own anti-doping rules and lists, sometimes a hybrid of WADA.

INSIDER’s Steve Myers dove into these issues with Oliver Catlin, president of the Anti-Doping Sciences Institute and the Banned Substance Control Group (BSCG), at the recent SupplySide West show in Las Vegas in October 2019. Catlin also detailed BSCG’s new CBD testing program and highlighted other ingredients that present tough challenges to anti-doping management ad banned substance testing.

Some highlights of this podcast include discussion of:

  • Confusion in the world of anti-doping management in worldwide and domestic sport leagues.

  • The intricacies of CBD banned substance testing for THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis.

  • How interpretation of generic banned substance list entries, such as with myostatin inhibitors, can leave all those involved scratching their heads over what it allowed and what is banned.

Got feedback? Email Steve at [email protected], or tweet to @NatProdINSIDER using the hashtag #INSIDERpodcast.


About the Author(s)

Steve Myers

Senior Editor

Steve Myers is a graduate of the English program at Arizona State University. He first entered the natural products industry and Virgo Publishing in 1997, right out of college, but escaped the searing Arizona heat by relocating to the East Coast. He left Informa Markets in 2022, after a formidable career focused on financial, regulatory and quality control issues, in addition to writing stories ranging research results to manufacturing. In his final years with the company, he spearheaded the editorial direction of Natural Products Insider.

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