WADA defends stance on cannabis

The World Anti Doping Agency has defended the continued inclusion of cannabis on its prohibited list of substances following criticism that the ban is placing unnecessary strain on sporting federations.

IAAF council member and Spanish athletics federation president Jose Maria Odriozola raised concern about the cannabis ban on Sunday during a round table discussion on "borderline issues" at an international anti-doping symposium organised by the world athletics governing body.

According to Odriozola, federations are "wasting considerable time and money, dealing with what is essentially a recreational non-performance-enhancing drug."

Odriozola's comments were firmly rejected by WADA's director of science, Olivier Rabin.

"We have three criteria for including something on our list of prohibited substances and methods, at least two of which have to be met - performance enhancement, possible health dangers and a contravention of the spirit of sport," Rabin told Reuters.

"We know full well that cannabis can alleviate feelings of fear which can help performance in some sports.

"It is also risky for athletes and others around them as it can cause a distortion of perception and we also believe it violates the spirit of sport even though we understand it is mainly a social drug."

Source: China Daily

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