The World Anti-Doping Agency announced that marijuana will remain its banned substances list on Friday. This comes after the agency was previously asked to review the status of THC, which is the active ingredient in marijuana, following the case of United States sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson.
Richardson was forced to miss the Tokyo Summer Olympics and served a one-month suspension after she tested positive at the United States Olympic Trials. She had won the 100-meter event at the national trials in order to qualify for the Summer Games.
The American sprinter stated that she had smoked marijuana as a coping mechanism to deal with her mother's death at the time.
Athletes that use cannabis were interviewed by WADA-appointed officials, who concluded that the use of the drug was "against the spirit of sport," according to the agency.
"WADA is also mindful that the few requests for THC's removal from the Prohibited List are not supported by the experts' thorough review," WADA director general Olivier Niggli said. "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."
In addition to making a final decision on marijuana, WADA also announced that the opiate tramadol is now going to be banned for athletes beginning in January 2024 following an executive committee meeting in Sydney.
Tramadol has been previously banned in cycling beginning in 2019. Following the 2022 Tour de France, Nairo Quintana was disqualified from sixth place after samples showed trace amounts of tramadol, which is a synthetic painkiller. Quintana currently challenging the disqualification in the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The International Cycling Union stated that the "commonly reported adverse side effects of tramadol are dizziness, drowsiness and loss of attention, which are incompatible with competitive cycling and endanger other competitors."
WADA is waiting until 2024 to ban the use of tramadol in order to allow time for athletes and team doctors to become educated and "address the safe use of tramadol for clinical purposes," according to a statement from the agency.