States that legalize cannabis often end up embracing its use beyond merely adult recreation. And Nevada is no exception. After legalizing recreational marijuana last November, Nevada is already considering changing the rules for athletes who want to use cannabis. And if those rules do change, Nevada will become one of the few states to allow athletes who use cannabis to compete. In fact, the Nevada State Athletic Commission is meeting to talk about those changes. The Nevada State Athletic Commission is setting their sights on removing cannabis from the list of banned substances for athletes.
A Welcomed Move For Boxers and MMA Fighters
Athletes who compete in Nevada have to follow the strict guidelines set by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. And in light of the state’s vote to legalize recreational cannabis, those guidelines could change significantly.
According to Damon Martin for Fox Sports, the agenda for today’s meeting indicates that the commission will focus on reviewing policies related to banned substances. Since cannabis is legal for adults in Nevada, the review will look into making it legal for professional athletes, too.
The move is a welcome one for athletes, but especially for boxers and mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters. In the past, the state stripped boxers and fighters with major fines and penalties for failing drug tests due to cannabis.
In fact, the issue came to national attention when the UFC banned legendary ultimate fighter Nate Diaz for five years after his “third strike” testing positive for weed. Diaz, of course, decided to fight back. His various appeals ultimately reduced his suspension to 18 months. However, Diaz has only recently returned to the ring.
Nevada State Athletic Commission could set a Worldwide Trend
The Nevada Athletic Commission’s discussion of removing cannabis from the list of banned substances is a big deal. And that’s because the World Anti-Doping Agency (the WADA) is strongly committed to keeping the ban on cannabis.
And that means that the United States Anti-Doping Agency is also on board with the ban. First, the USADA gets their rules directly from WADA. Secondly, the USADA is responsible for enforcing the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s rules on banned substances.
So since the USADA considers cannabis a no-no, competition would be a no-go for UFC athletes who test positive for it. If Nevada, a major locale for MMA, UFC, and boxing competitions, removes cannabis from the list, it could lead to a larger impact on worldwide rules for athletes.
Is Marijuana a performance enhancer?
For many athletes, there’s one major problem with keeping cannabis on a list of banned substances. And the problem is that many athletes use the drug for pain relief and healing, not for getting the edge on the competition.
Nate Diaz, the ultimate fighter who once again made headlines back in August after vaping CBD oil on camera during a press conference, has been an outspoken advocate of cannabis healing powers. “It helps with the healing process and inflammation and stuff like that,” Diaz explained to a group of bewildered journalists. And the science backs him up. Many studies have shown the positive effects of CBD on inflammation and pain.