American Professional Baseball League (MLB) has decided to no longer screen any
of its players for cannabis.
The league had already stopped testing its major league cannabis players in 2006, with an agreement appropriately called the Joint Drug Agreement. The league still randomly tested players for drugs such as amphetamines and steroids, resulting in admission to drug treatment programs, rather than fines, in the event of a violation.
The new agreement in fact , concerns minor leagues that bring together promising young players or injured professional players.
This year, 13 players suspended for “abusive drugs”, a classification that includes cannabis. Sanctions are strict: players have suspended 25 games for their first positive test, 50 games for a second test, 100 games for a third test and are banned for life for a fourth test.
Major leagues are only tested if there is a “probable cause”. A THC test therefore, must exceed 50 nanograms of THC per milliliter of urine to be positive, resulting in a $35,000 fine and a treatment plan, but no suspension.
The agreement also includes opiate testing and a treatment plan. Players in minor leagues testing positive for opioids would thus be a treatment program rather than suspension.
CBD an alternative
On July 1, a famous Los Angeles Angels player, Tyler Skaggs, died of an overdose of fentanyl, oxycodone, and oxymorphone. Which he was taking to relieve his pain. The MLB then announced a reconsideration of the place of opiates in its sport and decided that opiates were a much greater concern than cannabis. And that allowing players to use cannabis-based products to manage pain could reduce opiate use.
Other sports leagues are also considering removing cannabis from their lists of prohibited substances. The NFL is currently conducting a study to assess whether cannabis can be an effective pain treatment. The NHL is conducting a similar study for CBD products. Also, a former NBA commissioner called on the pro basketball association to abandon its restrictions on cannabis.
Anti-Doping Agency removed CBD from the banned substances in 2017.