What we know about PGA Tour's drug testing policy and marijuana use

Trevor Hughes-USA TODAY NETWORK

What we know about PGA Tour's drug testing policy and marijuana use

PGA Tour

What we know about PGA Tour's drug testing policy and marijuana use

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The PGA Tour announced before the 2017-18 season players would be blood tested as part of its revised anti-doping program.

At the time, the PGA Tour also updated its list of banned substances to fall in line with the World Anti-Doping Agency.  And in another change, the Tour said it would announce suspensions publicly to be transparent about the process.

Following the news of Robert Garrigus’ suspension for what he says is for marijuana use, here’s a look at the Tour’s policy:

Why is marijuana banned?

The Tour notes that marijuana is illegal under federal law and in most other countries. “Involvement with illegal substances goes against the spirit of our sport,” the policy states.

How can marijuana be considered as performance enhancing in golf?

The Tour says it’s unlikely golfers would use cannabinoids to improve their performance. But some athletes have used marijuana “to decrease anxiety before a competition,” the policy says.

When does the PGA Tour test its players?

The Tour’s policy says athletes can be tested through the collection of blood or urine samples. It tests athletes in and outside competition and all testing is done without prior notice to the players.

Drug Free Sport administers the Tour’s anti-doping program and also the programs for the NCAA, MLB, NFL, NBA, LPGA and NASCAR.

Can a person test positive from inhaling second-hand smoke?

The Tour says the testing threshold is set at a “high level to avoid detection of second-hand marijuana smoke.” It also notes that studies have been done to determine if second-hand inhalation will result in a positive test. “According to the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), even in studies where the marijuana smoke was so thick the participants had to wear goggles to protect their eyes, the testing threshold prevented a positive test for marijuana. USADA reports that inadvertent exposure to marijuana smoke by passive inhalation is not going to cause the test result to exceed the threshold.”

How long does marijuana stay in the body?

The policy notes that THC can accumulate in fatty tissues of the user during long periods of heavy use. However, the time it takes to clear a user’s system is variable and can depend on the person’s “metabolism, body fat, THC content of the marijuana, and how frequently and how heavily the marijuana was used.”

What are drugs of abuse in the policy?

The tour lists cannabinoids (hashish and marijuana), cocaine, methylenedioxymethamphetamine (Ecstasy), phencyclidine (PCP) and meth among others.

 

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