Oregon Ducks and Doobies: When Cannabis Meets Collegiate Sports

I DON’T CARE much about sports. I completely understand those who do, bless their hearts, but sports have never held much appeal for me.

When cannabis gets involved, however, any form of sportsball has my attention.

I’m writing this the morning after the Oregon Ducks lost to Ohio State.

Some of my Duck-centric friends have emailed me grumbling that the loss was largely because two players, Darren Carrington and Ayele Forde, were suspended after failing drug tests. Sports Illustrated writes that a source says it was for marijuana use.

This column is only 500 words, so I will refrain from delving into how fucked the players are treated in the NCAA football program, and the sickening disparity between, for instance, paying Michigan’s head coach more than $5 million a year with the potential for millions in bonuses, while players are forbidden from making a single cent for 60-plus-hour workweeks.

What does it mean to fail a drug test for marijuana within the NCAA football program?

(Warning: Science stuff ahead.)

According to the NCAA, if your blood test comes back with five or more nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood (ng/ml), you have failed.

How does that compare to other standards?

The NFL recently raised its limit from 15 ng/ml to 35 ng/ml.

For an airline pilot, that level rises to 50 ng/ml. (No matter how passionate you are about the Ducks, we can agree someone flying a goddamn plane has more responsibility than a college football player.)

Even the World Anti-Doping Agency, which sets rules that are used by the Olympics, has a limit of 150 ng/ml.

THC enters your blood when you inhale or eat it.

Or—and this is pretty important—when you are around others who smoke it in a confined space with poor ventilation, which is where college students spend 95 percent of their free time.

It stays there for a varying amount of time—days or even weeks—based on a number of factors, including weight and body type.

From what I have watched on my ‘lectric storybox, playing football looks like it hurts a great deal.

I should think the NCAA’s head honchos would want their players pain free, and we have solid evidence that cannabis treats pain very effectively, even if consumed recreationally.

But according to Ducks Offensive Coordinator Scott Frost in a Sports Illustrated story, “Any time you put something in your body that doesn’t belong there, it’s a bad decision.”

Well, Scotty, perhaps someone can explain to you how there are receptors in all human brains that bind to THC, how those receptors took million of years to evolve, and how you may not be qualified to determine what does or does not “belong” in a person’s body.

At least, not as someone whose team just lost the national championship by 22 points, which speaks to more than just one bad decision.

Josh Taylor is a well-known and successful entrepreneur in the legal cannabis space, producing B2B and B2C cannabis events, "Backstage Budtending" and upscale concierge services through his companies OregonCannabisConcierge.com and CaliforniaCannabisConcierge.com. His weekly syndicated newspaper column and features about cannabis ran for five years until March 2020.

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