NCAA removes Cannabinoids from banned drug list

The major rule change by the NCAA decided that cannabinoids do not provide a competitive advantage.

NCAA Division I Council voted to remove cannabinoids from the banned drug class for NCAA championships and postseason football, effective immediately.

Driving the news: This decision marks a major change to a rule that previously had significant consequences, affecting high-profile athletes.


  • The NCAA emphasized that the focus of the drug testing program is on the integrity of competition, and cannabinoids do not provide a competitive advantage.
  • The change in the NCAA’s policy on cannabinoids reflects the evolving landscape of marijuana legalization across the United States.

The backstory: Previous cases, such as the suspension of Michigan basketball star Mitch McGary in 2014, highlighted the strict penalties for marijuana use in NCAA events.

  • Over the years, the NCAA has adjusted its policies regarding marijuana, including reducing penalties and raising the THC threshold.
  • The NBA removed marijuana from its drug-testing program in 2023, aligning with the trend of shifting attitudes towards marijuana in sports.
  • While the NCAA will no longer penalize athletes for cannabinoids during championships, schools will retain their individual drug testing policies.
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