In 2021, Sha’Carri Richardson, one of the top contenders for the United States Olympics, was barred from participating in the Tokyo Olympics after testing positive for THC. This event put WADA’s cannabis ban on the spot. Following Richardson’s suspension and a flood of demands from international stakeholders, WADA announced that it would begin a review of the cannabis ban.
In recent years, there has been an increasing emphasis on the mental health and well-being of famous athletes, including Naomi Osaka, Simone Biles and Michael Phelps. How do you think this may affect WADA’s approach to drug control and attitudes towards the use of prescription drugs by athletes to combat stress, anxiety, depression and other conditions?
Simone Biles, Naomi Osaka and many other athletes played an important role this summer in opening the conversation about athletes and mental health. Conversations about athlete wellness are crucial in establishing policies that put the athlete first, while maintaining the true competitive spirit.
Coming back to Sha’Carri Richardson, it is quite possible that a new emphasis on mental health, as well as an understanding of the substances used to treat related conditions, motivated WADA’s decision to reconsider its policy. on cannabis. The issues surrounding Richardson’s cannabis use were linked to mental health, as she said she used it to deal with her grief over her mother’s death.
Do you have any advice for athletes who are considering applying for a TUE or who are having difficulty accessing medication?