News Headlines     |     


MARIJUANA IN SNOWSPORTS - Katie Bamber, Senior News Reporter
Friday October 19, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

Should cannabis be taken off the list of banned substances in sport? Does it enhance performance?

Now that it's being legalised for recreational use in Canada, should the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) remove cannabis from its banned list of drugs?

Some think so including a Canadian snowboarder who once tested positive.

WADA considers it performance enhancing and the organisation is based in Montreal.

Montreal is where 12 marijuana shops are opening imminently.

WADA continues to ban the recreational drug as Canadians light up without fear of breaking the law.

The Inertia imageThe Inertia image

The drug is not exactly a stranger in the ski world, though it remains illegal in most countries.

Former Canadian snowboarder, Ross Rebagliati, won the first ever Olympic medal in snowboarding in 1998 but he had his gold taken away after testing positive for cannabis - though it was actually returned to him - and he spent a night in a Japanese jail.

Rebagliati, now 47 years old, thinks the drug should be removed from the WADA banned substance list.

"I think it's time, it's overdue actually," he told Reuters.

"If athletes are allowed to consume alcohol and tobacco let them have weed."

"It is the only thing that is good for you of those three things," Rebagliati commented.

Ross RebagliatiRoss Rebagliati

Rebagliati now runs a company called Legacy Brands.

It's a cannabis company focusing on cannabidiol consumables (CBD) - the marijuana extract used for medicinal purposes - and home growing kits.

He was returned his medal as 20 years ago, marijuana was not on the WADA list of banned substances.

In 2013 it was added.

At first the policy just prohibited marijuana use by athletes, banning it only during competition.

However, because of testing issues, in that the tests don't show when an athlete last used marijuana, WADA increased the threshold for a positive test by 1,000 percent, from 15 nanograms of THC per milliliter to 150 ng/ml.

Rebagliati’s has always maintained his positive testing was caused by second-hand smoke, testing at 17.8 ng/ml.

He claims to have not smoked for 10 months prior to the competition, though he had smoked a few joints on the snow.

"I found that I was able to use cannabis to get more in tune with my equipment, the snow conditions, how my wax was running," Rebagliati said to The Inertia. 

Other athletes had said marijuana has helped with their with mental focus.

Not to mention its ability to relieve deep anxiety and nerves around the competition.

The reality is, cannabis is probably not performance enhancing.

But it can aid recovery.

Interestingly, cannabidiol (or CBS) has been removed from the WADA Prohibited List.

CBD is a non-psychoactive component of marijuana and is considered to have powerful anti-inflammatory properties.

Could be a huge hit in the sports world for small scale injuries.

Jorg angeliSnowparks

Many athletes have been outed for using marijuana.

23-times decorated Olympic medallist Michael Phelps served a three-month competition ban in 2008.

"People have stigmatized the term 'performance enhancing,' like it needs to be injected with a needle to be performance enhancing," Rebagliati thinks.

"A banana is performance-enhancing.

"Water is performance-enhancing.

"For me cannabis truly is performance enhancing if it helps you get through your workouts and recover faster, you are going to be stronger and faster and be able to jump higher."

Evan Phillip imageEvan Phillip image

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: Number One for ski news

Related Articles

PLANETSKI GOES TO THE CIRCUS (Friday March 22, 2019)
MARCH NEWS IN BRIEF (Thursday March 21, 2019)
IS IT STILL ARGENTIERE? (Thursday March 21, 2019)
TOURING IN LE TOUR (Thursday March 21, 2019)
WATCH THE BOSS DES BOSSES (Thursday March 21, 2019)
MARCH SKIING SECRETS (Thursday March 21, 2019)

With thanks to our main sponsors...

Platinum partners

Bronze partners