The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has retained its ban on cannabis in sports after a review, despite calls to change its status on the list of prohibited substances.
WADA's executive committee made the decision after a meeting in Sydney on Friday, in line with the recommendations of the watchdog's advisory group.
WADA agreed to review the status of THC — the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis – after the issue came into focus with the suspension of American sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson for testing positive for chemicals found in marijuana.
However, the agency decided to maintain the cannabis ban as its use "violated the spirit of sport." The debate "is not straightforward," WADA director general Olivier Niggli conceded.
"WADA is also mindful that the few requests for THC's removal from the Prohibited List are not supported by the experts' thorough review," he said.
"We are also conscious that the laws of many countries — as well as broad international regulatory laws and policies — support maintaining cannabis on the List at this time."
In another decision, WADA has added the painkiller tramadol to the banned substance list for athletes in competition from 2024.
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The decision comes at a time when cannabis use is on an upward trend as more and more U.S. states clear the legal hurdles for its recreational use despite a federal ban.