NCAA Weeding Out Cannabis from Banned Drug List

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The NCAA is reconsidering changing their tune on cannabis and removing the plant from their banded drug list.

Cannabis over the years is beginning to lose its stigma. Both recreational and medical use have risen in popularity and become legalized in various states across the US. A National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) panel is voicing their opinion for the association to remove cannabis from the NCAA banned drug list and testing protocols (1). The group trying to update the NCAA policies regarding cannabis is called the Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports (CSMAS). They believe that testing should be classified to performance-enhancing drugs. Cannabis has been shown to not enhance performance which is why the CSMAS is working on having this plant removed.

In order for cannabis to be removed from the organization’s banned drug list, all three of the NCAA divisional governance bodies would need to introduce, as well as adopt the rule change (1). CSMAS has reportedly asked the NCAA to stop testing for cannabis at championship events while the rules involving cannabis are reviewed.


This coming fall, the NCAA is planned to provide a final decision on whether cannabis will be removed and no longer tested.

CSMAS feels that the NCAA should handle cannabis similarly to how alcohol is handled. Instead of banning the substance, the organization should instead target educating student-athletes on the health risks of using cannabis.

Change may be coming for the NCAA. The organization increased the threshold of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) needed to trigger a positive drug test last year (1).

The entire sports community is starting to rally around cannabis and changing their policies. The NBA, MLB, NHL, and NFL are either dropping cannabis from their banned substances lists or stopped testing. There is hope that cannabis will soon be viewed as something positive rather than something that can cause harm.


  1. Kim, J. The NCAA Looks to Weed Out Marijuana from its Banned Drug List (accessed Jun 29, 2023).