The Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC), the governing body that oversees most of the country’s combat sports, has a long history of coming down hard on any athletes caught using cannabis. This policy drew even more controversy when mixed martial artist Nick Diaz was suspended for five years over his marijuana use. But now that recreational marijuana is legal in Nevada, the NAC is finally being forced to reconsider their strict ban on the drug. Today, the organization is scheduled to discuss completely removing cannabinoids from its list of banned substances.
In 2013, the NAC changed their limit for a positive marijuana test from a strict 50 nanograms per milliliter of blood to 150 ng/ml, matching the standards set by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Despite the higher limit, Diaz still tested positive following his title fight with Anderson Silva.
Silva actually tested positive for steroids, yet received a lighter punishment than Diaz. Although the NAC may well decide to lift their marijuana prohibition, WADA still bans players from using marijuana or any other drug within a window of six hours before and after a competition. And this comes not long before marijuana was legalized for medical reasons in many states – including the state the fight was held is.
Diaz recently appeared at a post-fight press conference puffing on a CBD vape pen, a sensible move considering the mounting evidence that CBD can act as a neuroprotectant, which helps the brain recover from repeated head injuries. As repeated blows to the head are unavoidable in mixed martial arts, the use of CBD could help protect players from concussions and neurodegenerative conditions such as CTE.