The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Executive Committee has approved the 2023 List of Prohibited Substances and Methods which will come into force on 1st January 2023.
The two most notable points from the approval are that the painkiller tramadol has been added to the Prohibited List and cannabis remains on the list following a review. Tramadol will come into effect on 1st January 2024 so that there is time for adequate communication to be made to athletes and their support teams explaining why tramadol is now prohibited In-Competition. A research project funded by WADA found that tramadol can enhance physical performance.
Following a review in relation to cannabis the Executive Committee confirmed that it should remain on the Prohibited List. In order to be included on the Prohibited List a substance must meet at least two of the following three criteria:
- It has the potential to enhance sport performance;
- It represents a health risk to the athlete;
- It violates the spirit of sport (as defined by the Code).
The review found that cannabis does meet the required threshold and should therefore remain on the List but is only prohibited In-Competition when the urinary concentration exceeds a threshold of 150 ng/mL. If athletes can prove that the drug was taken Out-of-Competition and was solely for recreational purposes rather than relating to sporting performance then the period of ineligibility can be reduced to only one month.
WADA Director General Olivier Niggli said “The question of how THC (cannabis) should be dealt with in a sporting context is not straightforward. WADA is aware of the diversity of opinions and perceptions related to this substance around the world, and even within certain countries. WADA is also mindful that the few requests for THC’s removal from the Prohibited List are not supported by the experts’ thorough review. We are also conscious that the laws of many countries – as well as broad international regulatory laws and policies – support maintaining cannabis on the List at this time. WADA plans to continue research in this area in relation with THC’s potential performance enhancing effects, its impact on the health of athletes and also in relation to perceptions of cannabis from athletes, experts and others around the world.”
Compliance with the WADA Code, RUSADA and other points were also discussed during the meeting.
You can read the WADA article on the Executive Committee meeting here.