UFC officially removes cannabis from banned substances list

ufc fighters no longer tested for cannabis

Mixed martial arts juggernaut UFC has long been considered one of the more progressive sporting authorities when it comes to cannabis. The league is now taking things one step further by formally removing the plant from its list of banned substances.

The UFC previously made headlines in 2021 when it was announced fighters would no longer be penalized for having THC in their systems. The latest news makes the popular sport’s cannabis policy official.

“UFC’s goal for the Anti-Doping Policy is to be the best, most effective, and most progressive anti-doping program in all of professional sports,” said Hunter Campbell, UFC Chief Business Officer, in a press release.

The news was part of a larger announcement regarding UFC’s new anti-doping program, which takes effect December 31. The league ended its partnership with the United States Anti-Doping Agency months ago, opting to enter an agreement with Drug Free Sport International.

UFC was also one of the first professional sports organizations to permit sponsorships and advertisements from cannabis companies. The league entered a partnership with Canadian firm Aurora Cannabis in 2019 and signed Love Hemp to a five-year deal in 2021.

Several of UFC’s biggest stars have openly discussed their consumption of cannabis over the years, from Ronda Rousey to Nate Diaz. Many MMA fighters tout the benefits of CBD, specifically for athletic recovery and pain relief.

The decision by UFC officials comes as more sporting leagues are softening their stances on marijuana. The National Basketball League (NBA) lifted its ban on cannabis use by players earlier this year. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) followed suit, recommending schools stop testing college athletes for THC and other cannabinoids.

As more is discovered about cannabis and stigmas continue to erode, it’s likely these trends will persist. It’s also possible that sports medicine experts will one day look to the plant as a way to protect and heal elite athletes going for the gold.


rachelle gordon

Rachelle Gordon is a cannabis journalist, Emerald Cup judge, Budist critic, and editor of GreenState.com. She began her weed writing journey in 2015 and has been featured in High Times, CannabisNow, Beard Bros, MG, Skunk, and many others. Rachelle currently splits her time between Minneapolis and Oakland; her favorite cannabis cultivars include Silver Haze and Tangie. Follow Rachelle on Instagram @rachellethewriter