The Winter Olympics are just around the corner. This is an exciting time for those who follow athletes and support their country with hopes of them winning gold. Although it’s a competitive sports event, the Olympics unifies the world for several days as they come together and cheer for their people. With all of this, it may be hard to remember to think about marijuana policies and Winter Olympics 2022. While on the surface, they may seem irrelevant, marijuana policies play a crucial role in who can participate in the Olympics. 

As we saw last year with Sha’carri Richardson, athletes can be banned from participating due to positive THC tests. This reflects the current state of the Olympics’ stand on cannabis. Or does it? Although they stood their ground against Richardson, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics also served as a platform for some athletes to promote cannabis products. 

Marijuana Policies And Winter Olympics 2022

The International Olympics Committee also referred to as IOC, has strict regulations when it comes to substance usage. The IOC adheres to the World Anti-Doping Code. Through them, they follow the International Standard Prohibited List. This document lists the conditions in which athletes can or can not use substances. 

On page 17, it covers the topic of Cannabinoids. It states that athletes can not use tetrahydrocannabinol, which is THC. Both natural and synthetic THC is prohibited, along with any synthetic substance that mimics the effects of THC. 

The International Standard Prohibited List also makes a distinction amongst the substances it covers. It separates substances from “in competition” usage and “out competition” usage. The difference between these two terms is pretty straightforward. Substances that are prohibited “in-competition” means that they are only prohibited when an athlete is actively competing for anything Olympic-related or the surrounding period. If they use a substance under this category during a time that they are not competing, then it does not hurt them. 

On the other hand, substances that are prohibited during “out-competition” are completely prohibited. This means that these substances are never to be used by athletes. If done so, it could result in violation of the world anti-doping code, and have them banned if not worse. 

Marijuana Policies Affect Athletes

Athletes, especially Olympic athletes, go through intensive physical training. Although they have professional trainers, an injury can still occur. Due to the type of training these athletes go through, the injuries can be severe. Depending on how serious their injury and pain are, doctors prescribe them strong pain medication. 

This can be a slippery slope for some people. Pain medications for pain management can sometimes come in the form of opioids. Opioids are usually prescribed to patients suffering from severe pain. Unfortunately, opioids can become an addictive substance to abuse. Cannabis research results suggest that it could be an effective way of treating and avoiding opioid addiction

Additionally, cannabis consumption can aid athletes in other ways. For example, cannabis can help with muscle relaxation. This can help with the strain on the body from intense physical training. Moreover, it can help athletes treat their anxiety and depression.  

Last year, Sha’carri Richardson broke a track record while competing in trials to participate in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Unfortunately, after the trials, it was discovered that her drug tests displayed positive signs of THC. As previously explained, this is prohibited. Thus, Richardson received a one-month suspension. The timing caused her to miss out on the Olympics. 

Richardson consumed cannabis in Oregon, where it’s legal. After interviews about the matter, Richardson shared why she smoked weed. She explained that she was experiencing severe anxiety after hearing that her mother passed away. Cannabis helped her ease her anxiety during such a difficult time. 

As time goes on, the public view of marijuana is shifting. It’s important for our marijuana policies and regulations to reflect the modern view and opinions. Many argue that marijuana can be considered a drug enhancer, so it should be prohibited. It’s doubtful that everyone who smokes weed will suddenly become “enhanced” enough to break a track record. 

Olympic Athletes That Endorse Cannabis 

Richardson is not the only Olympic athlete who used or discussed cannabis. In fact, there’s an extensive list of athletes who admit to using cannabis. For example, Michael Phelps smoked cannabis before. Phelps is a former American swimmer and an Olympian with 28 medals. Due to cannabis being an “in-competition” substance, and the timing of his consumption, Phelps was not affected. 

On the other hand, some athletes are more adamant about their usage. Megan Rapinoe is an American soccer player. Rapinoe used the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as a platform to promote cannabis. She used the opportunity to promote Mendi CBD Products. She explained how it became an essential component of her recovery process.