Medication and prohibited substances

Here you can find information on the latest WADA prohibited list, and all you need to know about Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs). We also have fact files on various prohibited substances including anabolic steroids, recreational drugs and the dangers of contaminated meat.

Cannabinoids (Cannabis)

Substance Information

Prohibited substance category: S8: Cannabinoids (Substance of Abuse)
Prohibited in-competition? Yes
Prohibited out-of-competition? No

The main psychoactive ingredient in Cannabinoids, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) leads to feelings of euphoria and relaxation.

Is use or possession a criminal offence?

Cannabinoid use is now permitted in some countries, but in many others its use can result in criminal charges.

What are the health risks?

There are many long-term health risks of cannabinoid use which can include, nausea and fatigue, mood swings, feelings of anxiety or paranoia, memory impairment, chronic bronchitis and an increased risk of lung, mouth, tongue, and throat cancer.

What are the side effects?

Cannabinoids can negatively affect your body and brain functions.  This can affect balance, co-ordination and concentration, and can slow reaction times.  This creates a high injury risk in training and competition for both the user and their opponents/team mates.

What is the starting sanction for a first offence in rugby?

3 months if used Out of Competition in a context not related to sport performance.

What else should you know?

THC can be detected for several weeks after use (or even longer depending on the amount consumed, frequency of use, the potency of the Cannabinoids and how physically active the person is).

Remember that social drug use is bad for your health as an elite athlete, but also bad for your reputation.  If you are filmed or photographed taking cannabinoids it could be published on social media.

Risk of rule violation

In most cases, passive smoking of cannabis is unlikely to result in an Anti-Doping Rule Violation, but no player should ever take the chance.  If you are in an area where cannabis is being smoked, leave immediately.