College athletes may soon earn a reprieve against anti-cannabis policies that prevent athletes from consuming cannabis and penalize those who do. Much like the federal government, most sports organizations have banned cannabis consumption among their respective athletes. However, the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports is urging the National Collegiate Athletic Association to remove marijuana from its drug testing protocols and list of banned substances.
After decades of federal criminalization and millions of lives changed, a wave of cannabis reform is sweeping across America, leaving dozens of states with either medical or recreational cannabis markets, sometimes both. America’s state-legal cannabis industry is now one of the fastest-growing sectors in the country, responsible for employing hundreds of thousands of people and providing states with billions of dollars in tax revenue.
However, marijuana is still controlled at the federal level and is classified as a Schedule I drug with no medical applications. This is despite the fact that numerous studies have found cannabis to be effective against several medical conditions and more than 30 states allow medical marijuana use. This means that certain classes of employees, including professional athletes, can be penalized for using cannabis as per state regulations. For example, American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson recently lost her spot in the Tokyo Olympics after testing positive for cannabis before the race.
If the NCAA panel is successful, drug testing will be limited to substances that can enhance performance, which cannabis cannot. The NCAA panel said in a recent statement that its committee would collect input on the move to remove cannabis from the list of banned substances over the summer before taking action in the fall.
At a meeting in mid-June, the committee requested that the NCAA pause cannabis testing among athletes until the matter is finally put to rest. According to committee members, the association should approach cannabis as it did alcohol and eliminate punitive measures for cannabis use in exchange for education on the health risks posed by using the drug.
If the NCAA agrees, this wouldn’t be the first time it has stepped back on some of its punitive cannabis policies. In 2022, the association increased the maximum threshold of THC, the main psychoactive agent in cannabis, and recommended a restructuring of the penalty structure for athletes who fail THC tests via the Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports.
The National Football League (NFL) has also stopped testing its players for cannabis during the off-season while the MLB announced in 2019 that it would remove cannabis from its list of “drugs of abuse.”
Companies such as IGC Pharma Inc. (NYSE American: IGC), which are focused on developing FDA-approved therapeutic formulations from marijuana compounds, are likely to help athletes and other groups of patients benefit from the medical effects of marijuana without taking the risk of running afoul of any existing laws, whether federal or state level restrictions.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to IGC Pharma Inc. (NYSE American: IGC) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/IGC
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