This case w @carririchardson_ is so: complex, fascinating, & impt to discuss.
Full disclosure – I’ve never been a consistent cannabis user. Tried a few times in college. Didn’t love it for rec usage. Haven’t used it since. That doesn’t mean a) I don’t respect the plant when used properly, b) I’m not educating myself on the medicinal benefits of the whole plant, in various quantities, in combinations w other healing modalities, to complement my own healing journey. With that out of the way…
By now you prob know the Xs & Os of the story: Sha’Carri finds out abt the loss of her mother, just days before the Olympic Trials in Oregon. She then goes on to win the 100m event at the Trials, only to be suspended (for a month, knocking her out of competing in the 100m in Tokyo) bc she tested positive for Marijuana. But what’s that mean?
In the cannabis plant there’s both THC (w psychotropic effects) & CBD (w/o those effects). THC, at certain levels is banned, CBD is not. This is an impt distinction. Using cannabis (generally) is only banned by WADA (World Anti Doping Agency) & USADA, bc of the THC.
Why’s the THC banned? Bc WADA & USADA believe it 1) is a performance enhancer, & 2) can negatively impact athletes’ health.
I/many find that problematic- from all I’ve researched, there are NO definitive tests showing a downer like that, improves performance. It’s not like a steroid where they can show a direct correlation to things like strength/speed. Additionally, why are WADA/USADA even in the biz of monitoring general athlete health. If they actually cared what athletes ingest, as @darrenrovell aptly put, they’d ban Oreos.
Making matters even more complicated: CBD is legal. There are often trace amounts of THC in CBD products. But what shows in the blood/crosses the line into illegal” amounts is unique to how the THC impacts the individual.
I applaud Sha’Carri’s maturity in saying – she knew the rule & broke it, & so accepts the consequences. But much like the Osaka case – that does NOT mean we shouldn’t NOW amend the rule.
We invited @rileycote32 NHL Enforcer & now plant medicine expert on our WAALC Podcast.
Simply put, Riley knows his stuff, & the hour we spent w him was a true education. He’s a believer in the use of the WHOLE cannabis plant. That said, he believes small doses, in certain ratios of THC to CBD are more effective for medicinal use. Sha’Carri was using bc of a traumatic event coming “out of nowhere” at a time she needed to perform on a world stage. Look, there are many other things/practices athletes can turn to for anxiety that aren’t currently banned. But athletes know their bodies. If in that short period of time btwn hearing abt the tragic loss,
& having to compete, a plant medicine that’s now LEGAL in 19 states/the one that she took it in (& has no definitive tests showing it gives a
performance advantage), helps her cope better than anything else she’s found, should WADA & USADA be suspending athletes for its usage? If as Riley shares, SMALL amounts of THC 1) help more CBD to be absorbed, 2) have their own positive medicinal benefits, 3) don’t get someone high, 4) are seeing restrictions loosened in other sports, should these Olympic suspensions happen? Although I’ve not been a user, I have to say I support a rule change here, don’t think this is a substance WADA should be banning, & think we need a more global convo abt how this plant can be used for so much more than just “getting high” as we’ve thought abt it in the past. I also think we should teach how to use it WITH things like yoga & meditation.