Toronto Based Fighter Receives the First MMA Medical Marijuana Exemption

Elias Theodorou is the first professional to be permitted the use of therapeutic cannabis in professional MMA. The exemption was granted to him by the British Colombia Athletic Commission. It’s also the first of its kind in the world. Theodorou is to continue using the herb under strict doctor’s prescription. Such a measure protects him from the penalties that previously applied if he tested above the in-competition threshold. The fighter also has to adhere to strict athletic commission guidelines, especially during fight-weeks.

Previous Attempts

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) had denied the Toronto native’s prior request. They ruled it could encourage the miss-use of the drug. However, this time his advocacy was based on medical use and strong backing from his doctors. Theodorou hopes that his fight will eliminate the negative stigma around the use of this alternative therapy. He’s not only doing this for himself but for every athlete that faces the same challenges.

Recurring Condition

The Toronto native suffers from bilateral neuropathic pain. This condition causes a lot of pain in his elbows and wrists, which puts him at a severe disadvantage when competing. The use of medical marijuana has proven to be the most effective method of treatment for the condition. This puts him on an equal footing with his rivals. His doctors and other advocates share this point of view. The drug offers more benefits when compared to conventional pharmaceuticals. It’s also less harmful and addictive than opioids, which have ended many careers and lives.

A Determined Advocate

In 2018 Theodorou sent out an open letter after the legalization of cannabis in Canada. In the letter, he explained how he had expended other treatment options. It’s been a long and hard fight, but he’s finally done it for himself. However, the fight is still on, and the fighter hopes to help other athletes going through the same struggle.