Nick Diaz May Have Changed The Way MMA Sees Medical Marijuana
The governing body that oversees most fighting sports seen in America — including the UFC — has stuck to their guns in regards to punishing athletes caught using cannabis. They have stuck to the outdated rules despite little scientific justification for denying an athlete this particular medicine.
Nick Diaz’s five-year suspension for cannabis use was a shock to the MMA community and suggested the Nevada Athletic Commission, or NAC, was at least nominally serious about its weed ban. Now that recreational marijuana is legal in Nevada and Las Vegas, which is planning to add cannabis to its long list of tourist attractions, the NAC has no choice but to accept the inevitable shift in public opinion.
On Friday, the NAC is scheduled to discuss dropping “cannabinoids” from its list of banned substances entirely
In 2013, the NAC upped the level for a positive marijuana test from 50 nanograms per milliliter of blood to 150 ng/ml, standards set by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
When Diaz tested above 150 ng/ml, he received a five-year ban. This occurred after a UFC title fight with Anderson Silva. Anderson ended up testing positive for steroids and received a lighter punishment than Diaz.
Marijuana As Medicine
There are scientific studies that show CBD is a neuroprotectant, helping the brain recover from trauma. Repeated blows to the head are a common occupational hazard in mixed-martial arts. The UFC hasn’t yet faced the negative publicity that the NFL has in regards to TBI’s and CTE , a neurodegenerative condition caused by head trauma, yet. A 25-year-old former UFC fighter was diagnosed in October with CTE. Since CTE is diagnosed only by a post-mortem examination (i.e. an autopsy), the full extent of the problem in a relatively new sport is yet to be seen.