Marijuana and other substances that can lead to doping bans for athletes

Marijuana and other substances that can lead to doping bans for athletes

Eric Munene • 17:16 - 21.05.2024

Pulse Sports takes a look into some of the prohibited substances that can get athletes banned by the Athletics Integrity Unit.

Athletes around the world compete under stringent rules and regulations to ensure fair play and to maintain the integrity of their respective sports.

The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), the independent body responsible for safeguarding the integrity of track and field, enforces strict anti-doping measures to uphold the principles of clean sport.

Pulse Sports takes a closer look at the substances that can lead to athlete bans by the AIU.

Anabolic Steroids

Anabolic steroids are synthetic variations of the male sex hormone testosterone, and they are among the most commonly abused substances in sports. These substances promote muscle growth, strength, and endurance, giving athletes a competitive edge. However, their use is strictly prohibited by the AIU and other anti-doping agencies due to their performance-enhancing effects and potential health risks.


Stimulants are substances that increase alertness, attention, and energy, making them appealing to athletes seeking to enhance their performance. Common stimulants include amphetamines, ephedrine, and cocaine. While some stimulants may be found in over-the-counter medications, athletes must be cautious to avoid inadvertently consuming prohibited substances that could result in sanctions by the AIU.

Narcotic Anaglesics

Narcotic analgesics, such as codeine and morphine, are powerful pain-relieving medications that have the potential to mask injuries and allow athletes to compete while impaired. While these substances can provide relief from pain, their use without proper medical justification is strictly prohibited by the AIU due to their potential for abuse and adverse health effects.


Cannabinoids, including marijuana and hashish, are psychoactive substances that can impair cognitive function and coordination. While some athletes may use cannabinoids for recreational purposes or to manage pain and anxiety, their use is strictly prohibited by the AIU during competition due to their potential to enhance performance and pose safety risks to athletes and others.

Diuretics and Masking Agents

Diuretics are substances that increase urine production and are sometimes used by athletes to rapidly lose weight or mask the presence of other prohibited substances in urine samples. Similarly, masking agents are substances that interfere with drug testing procedures, making it difficult to detect prohibited substances. The use of diuretics and masking agents is strictly prohibited by the AIU and can result in severe sanctions for athletes found in violation of anti-doping regulations.

By expanding the understanding of the substances prohibited by the AIU, athletes can make informed decisions to uphold the principles of clean sport and compete with integrity and fairness. It is essential for athletes to familiarise themselves with anti-doping regulations and seek guidance from medical professionals to ensure compliance and avoid the consequences of sanctions imposed by the AIU.