INDIANAPOLIS – The NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports has recommended removing cannabis from the NCAA’s list of banned substances. This landmark decision, debated this week in Indianapolis, indicates a pivotal move toward a harm-reduction strategy, accentuating education over punitive measures at the collegiate level. Inspired by the consensus at the December 2022 Summit on Cannabinoids in College Athletics, it’s recognized that cannabis doesn’t boost performance. Instead, managing its use is better handled at the school level.
James Houle, committee chair lead sport psychologist at Ohio State commented, “We are recommending a big shift in the paradigm when it comes to cannabinoids. We want to modernize the strategy with the most up-to-date research to give schools the best opportunity to support the health of student-athletes.” The committee had previously shown support for this change in June, with the NCAA Board of Governors guiding it legislatively just last month.
The committee also endorsed updates to concussion protocols and is set to review further enhancements for the NCAA Mental Health Best Practices, underscoring its commitment to safeguarding student-athletes’ well-being.