In what can be considered a huge step forward, the World Anti-Doping Agency has announced that they are removing CBD from the list of banned substances, effective in 2018. WADA is responsible for drug-testing in the Olympics and anti-doping guidelines in numerous sports leagues including Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Under current guidelines for the UFC cannabis and all related cannabinoids are prohibited.
CBD was brought to light for MMA fans by Nick Diaz in 2016. After falling to Conor McGregor by majority decision in the main event of UFC 202, Diaz was seen using a vape pen at the post-fight press conference. When asked about it, Diaz said he was vaping CBD.
"It's CBD," Diaz said. “It helps with the healing process and inflammation, stuff like that. So you want to get these for before and after the fights, training. It'll make your life a better place.”
Diaz was given a public warning by USADA, the UFC’s anti-doping partner because he admitted the use of cannabinoids in competition. At the time, USADA’s in-competition window ended six hours after the fight. That, too, has changed. Earlier this year, the UFC and USADA changed the UFC’s anti-doping policy to make it so the in-competition window closes after the post-fight drug test is taken.
If Diaz vaped CBD now in a post-fight press conference, he would not be flagged by USADA if he had already taken his post-fight drug test. Beginning Jan. 1, Diaz could vape CBD in the pre-fight press conference if he wanted to since it will no longer be prohibited at all.
“Cannabidiol is no longer prohibited,” WADA wrote on its website. “Synthetic cannabidiol is not a cannabimimetic; however, cannabidiol extracted from cannabis plants may also contain varying concentrations of THC, which remains a prohibited substance.”