Major League Baseball (MLB), in conjunction with the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) has announced a huge and welcomed change to their drug testing policy.
All cannabis-derived compounds are removed from the banned substances list, and opioids have been added to it. These changes are effective for this upcoming 2020 season.
This is a much needed change for several reasons. Players have been clamoring for CBD and other cannabinoids for the past few years. Retired MLB All-Stars David Wells and Goose Gossage are among several former players who have come out in support of CBD use to help players manage the body hurt, stress, and anxiety that can accompany the rigors of a 162 game season.
Last year the unfortunate and untimely death of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs was found to be the result of a bad combination of opioids and alcohol. His highly public passing increased the call to reform drug policies in the MLB, and other professional sports. Many insiders have reported that other major professional sports leagues will soon follow in an effort to do more for the long-term health of their players. The NFL’s collective bargaining agreement ends after the 2020 season, with the NBA potentially ending after 2022 if either side opts out. Many speculate that a similar approach to the new MLB stance will be followed, though current and former players are pushing for sooner, as the MLB has done. The NHL already allows its players to use CBD and other forms of cannabis drugs and supplements with positive results from many of its players, coaches, and trainers.
It will be interesting to see how players react with spring training only a couple of months away.