Nate Diaz made headlines when he lit up a joint at a Wednesday open workout for UFC 241 in Anaheim, Calif.

You might be wondering: “Can he do that?”

Here’s a short explainer from MMA Junkie to separate the smoke from the fire.

Diaz’s history

Diaz (19-11 MMA, 14-9 UFC), who on Saturday faces ex-champ Anthony Pettis (22-8 MMA, 9-7 UFC), claimed the joint he was smoking contained cannabidiol, or CBD, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid in the plant. Diaz said he was promoting a new company, Game Up Nutrition, that sells CBD products online.

It’s not the first time Diaz has used the cannabinoid in public. He drew from a vape pen following his rematch against Conor McGregor at UFC 202 and was later sanctioned by the UFC’s anti-doping partner, U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). The sanction – a public warning – was the lowest level of punishment.

Later, USADA amended its policy on post-fight drug testing. UFC Senior VP of Athlete Health and Performance Jeff Novitzky said Diaz’s case brought about the change.

Diaz has never failed a drug test while competing in MMA, though his older brother, Nick Diaz, has been suspended for marijuana on three occasions. The third drew a five-year term that prompted widespread outcry – and a White House petition – before being reduced to 18 months.

Regulations on CBD

CBD is not prohibited at any time in competition per the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which removed the cannabinoid from the prohibited list in 2018.

Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana, is prohibited in competition, which USADA defines as the time period 12 hours prior to an event to immediately after the fight, or within a reasonable amount of time.

Under current guidelines, a positive THC test is triggered by 150 ng/ml of THC in the urine. The threshold was raised from 50 ng/ml by the World Anti-Doing Agency (WADA) amid increased recreational use of marijuana.

Virtually all CBD products contain a trace amount of THC to activate the therapeutic effects of CBD. But the standard amount, .03 percent, would make it very, very difficult to run afoul of regulators.

Game Up Nutrition’s website says its products contain less than .03 percent, so it would be nearly impossible for Diaz to pop positive with just a few puffs.

The law and the commission

In Anaheim, where Wednesday’s workout for fans and the media was held, recreational marijuana and CBD is legal, though technically, Diaz could’ve been cited for violating the state’s clean indoor air law by smoking inside the venue.

The California State Athletic Commission, which regulates Saturday’s event at Honda Center, has no jurisdiction over open workouts, so it had no power to sanction Diaz.

Even if Diaz did test positive for marijuana, the standard sanction is a one-month suspension, a $100 fine and a fee for the tests.

CSAC executive director Andy Foster declined comment on the situation.

Free plug

There’s nothing in the UFC’s outfitting or conduct policies about lighting up a joint, so Diaz’s camera time was essentially free publicity.

Several fighters, including UFC 241 headliner Daniel Cormier, are sponsored by CBD companies. The UFC has even partnered with a CBD company, Aurora Cannabis, to conduct research on the cannabinoid.

On Thursday, Nielsen predicted sales of products containing CBD will hit $6 billion by 2025.

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