THC Testing Threshold Increases

THC Testing
Jim Quist @ACCTheQ –

In contemporary history one of the more infamous quotes regarding use of marijuana comes from former President Bill Clinton. Asked if he had ever smoked he answered in the affirmative and added, “but I didn’t inhale”. Now the NCAA has come to a realization that plenty of student-athletes may not smoke but passive inhalation, i.e., secondhand smoke may be skewing tests. As a result, the THC testing threshold is getting a bump.

The NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports made a similar move in 2017 when they moved the threshold. The increase was from 5 to 15 nanograms per milliliter then. Now, the increase jumps to 35 nanograms per milliliter.

A quick snapshot of just the states where ACC schools are located finds a variety of laws regarding use. *Complete map

  • Legal
  • Massachusetts
  • Legal – Medical Use
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Florida
  • Legal – Medical Use (limited THC)
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Virginia
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Georgia

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THC Testing

As more and more states move toward the legal recreational use of marijuana the odds of athletes being exposed to second hand smoke is greater.

An increase in THC is also being seen as a result of commercially produced plants.

THC Testing

Committee chair and Creighton team physician Doug Ramos commented on the decision. “The committee wanted to be fair and to eliminate, as best as we could, penalizing students who receive passive smoke. The decision is based on the science that pertains to passive inhalation.”


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Times They Are A Changing

Though the committee voted to move forward with the change they noted that it was not an endorsement for use. A number of members noted mental health risks among young adults who use marijuana. They also pointed to the dangerous effects seen in higher concentration THC edibles.

The move to the higher THC threshold also reflects a standard currently in use by the NFL, NBA and WNBA.


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