The debate “is not straightforward,” WADA director general Olivier Niggli acknowledged Friday.
“WADA is also mindful that the few requests for THC’s removal from the Prohibited List are not supported by the experts’ thorough review,” he 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.”
WADA also noted the high threshold level to register a positive test for THC which is “consistent with a significantly impaired athlete or a frequent user.”
Tramadol has been an issue in cycling which outlawed its use at races starting in 2019.
After the Tour de France in July, Nairo Quintana was disqualified from sixth place when two samples showed traces of the synthetic painkiller. He was not banned and is challenging his disqualification at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
“Tramadol abuse, with its dose-dependent risks of physical dependence, opiate addiction and overdoses in the general population, is of concern and has led to it being a controlled drug in many countries,” WADA said.
The in-competition ban will be enforced in January 2024 giving time to educate athletes and team doctors and “address the safe use of tramadol for clinical purposes,” WADA said.
The International Cycling Union's medical rules state "commonly reported adverse side effects of tramadol are dizziness, drowsiness and loss of attention, which are incompatible with competitive cycling and endanger other competitors.”
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