A closer look at the fine print of cannabis

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Last week, a couple of developments took place at both the state and global levels regarding the regulation of cannabis in regards to it being something that humans put into their bodies.




The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board issued a policy statement last week clarifying the rules surrounding structure or function claims made about cannabis-infused products. Those are essentially claims about what a product does. For example, a bottle of daily multivitamins may say something about maintaining heart health, or a vitamin C supplement could mention that it supports the immune system. What could not be said, however, is that either product is meant to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

As a matter of fact, when it comes to cannabis, products making structure or function claims — like a CBD tincture formulated for pain relief — must explicitly state on the product's packaging that it is not meant to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Any packaging that includes a structure or function claim must include this exact phrase, "this statement has not been evaluated by the State of Washington. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease."


In early July, just prior to the start of the Tokyo Olympics, a rising star in the world of track and field made headlines for something that happened off the track. American sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson was issued a one-month suspension after testing positive for THC. Richardson said she had consumed cannabis after learning of the death of her mother; Richardson is of legal age and was in Oregon, where cannabis is legal, at the time.

Cannabis is not considered legal in the eyes of the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA), however. As a result, Richardson was forced to miss the Olympics.

The backlash was massive. Even President Biden, who has not come out in support of cannabis legalization, questioned WADA's rules. Now, WADA is questioning them as well. Last week at a meeting in Istanbul, WADA's executive committee approved initiating a scientific review of cannabis to determine whether or not it should remain a prohibited substance.

Any potential changes to cannabis's status, according to WADA, will not take place ahead of the next Olympic games, however, which are now less than five months away. ♦


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