Association of Boxing Commissions Considering WADA Marijuana Reform

May 22, 2013 10:44 am by Christopher Murphy

Following the World Anti-Doping Agency’s announcement of a new policy that increases the threshold for marijuana in an athlete’s system, the Association of Boxing Commissions’ medical committee will meet next week to discuss and possibly redraft their own policy toward marijuana.

In an interview with, Dr. Sherry Wulkan, the ABC’s medical chairperson, said that the medical committee will meet on May 28 to, among other business, draft a revision of the policy toward marijuana to be read to the ABC when their annual conference in August.

“In combat sports,” said Dr. Wulkan, “marijuana may be used for purposes of elevating pain threshold.  There is also a concern as to whether reaction time may be altered with use.  Therefore at present, the 15 ng/mL rule still applies.  Whether [therapeutic use exemptions] should be granted for medicinal purposes will be one of the topics for discussion next week.”

Wulkan’s statements reflect the World Anti-Doping Agency’s announcement that it has increased its threshold for marijuana testing.  The level has been raised from 15 ng/mL to 150 ng/mL, which will account for those athletes who use marijuana for medicinal reasons.

The news of WADA’s decision came shortly after the UFC stripped Pat Healy of his Fight of the Night and Submission of the Night awards from UFC 159- a total that came to $130,000.  The submission victory has also been officially ruled as a “No Contest.”

On the other hand, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) lowered its acceptable level from 15 ng/mL to 5 ng/mL as of August 1.

For the World Anti-Doping Agency, the new policy has already gone into effect; and it will subsequently seek to protect athletes in regard to confidentiality.  In a recent press release, WADA officials stated, “All samples received by laboratories post May 11 will be subject to the new threshold level.  As a matter of fairness and to provide consistency, WADA advises not to pursue cases currently in the results management phase where the reported concentration is less than the new threshold (150 ng/mL).  Also, for any analyses conducted from May 11 onwards, laboratories are requested not to report any THC case result below the acceptable threshold, regardless of the sample receipt date.”

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