Drug Free Sport Staff Writers

Drug Free Sport Staff Writers

Monday, August 7, 2017

Top 10 NCAA-Related Questions: Drug Free Sport AXIS™

Athletes and athletic administrators are likely gearing up for the beginning of the 2017-2018 academic year. To smooth the transition and boost education efforts on campus, Drug Free Sport has created new learning platforms and tools to engage student-athletes. Recently, we conducted a webinar covering the Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions we receive from affiliates of NCAA membership schools.
  1. What dietary supplements are "legal" for NCAA atheltes?
  2. How do I get my supplements approved by the NCAA to allow athletic programs to purchase it for their athletes?
  3. Why is caffeine a banned substance? How much is safe?
  4. My son/daughter wants to take ____ supplement.  What do I do?
  5. How do I log in to Drug Free Sport AXIS™ to check products for banned substances?
  6. What does a Risk Level 1 mean?
  7. My athlete has been prescribed a medication for ADHD that is banned by the NCAA. What should I do?
  8. My athlete has been prescribed a non-ADHD medication that is banned. Can s/he still compete within the NCAA?
  9. What is the medical exception process for athletes with a medical marijuana card or prescription?
  10. What education resources are available to me as an athlete/school?


Watch the full video to get your questions answered.


If your question was not answered, please email axis@drugfreesport.com or call us at 816-477-8655 Ext. 129.


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Friday, June 9, 2017

Weight-Loss Supplements: Warnings for Athletes

Contributed by: Anna Filardo, Education Program Manager, Drug Free Sport


As summer approaches, there has been an increase in weight-loss/thermogenic supplement (WLT) inquiries in Drug Free Sport AXIS™.  These types of supplements come with increased risks and dangers to athlete health and safety. It is important for athletes to know the risks associated with taking any dietary supplement. Lacking regulation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the FDA does not review or test supplements before they are available for consumer purchase. Read on to learn more about the dangers associated with WLT supplements.

One of the Top Three Supplement Categories Recalled by the FDA (1)
WLT supplements are regularly recalled by the FDA, due to undeclared pharmaceutical ingredients present in the bottle. Recalled WLT products often contain sibutramine (an ingredient found in a drug called Meridia), which was removed from the market in October 2010 by the FDA due to causing heart problems and strokes (2). Not only can products with undeclared pharmaceutical ingredients cause a positive drug test, but they can also create serious harm to the body.

Often Contain Banned Stimulants (3)
WLT supplements often list ingredients that are banned under the “Stimulants” drug class by sport organizations. Look out for synephrine, AMP citrate, bitter orange, ephedra, hordenine, in particular. These ingredients are likely to cause a positive drug test in most sports organizations testing for performance-enhancing substances. Athletes may also experience adverse health effects from taking these stimulants, especially when they are combined into one product formula, or consumed with energy drinks and other secondary stimulant sources.

Harmful and Dangerous Side-Effects (3)
Users may experience harmful or dangerous side-effects after taking a weight-loss/thermogenic supplement. Side-effects users have experienced when taking these supplements include liver failure, anxiety, nervousness, increased blood pressure and heart rate, chest pain, and heart attacks(4). Additionally, these products have been cited to react adversely to prescription medications by increasing or minimizing the prescription drug’s intended effect. (5)

Product Marketing Often Contains False Claims (2)
Dietary supplements are not tested for efficacy or safety; therefore, many claims made by dietary supplements are false and not proven by reliable scientific research. Beware of products making claims such as “promotes weight loss,” “scientific breakthrough,” “incinerates fat,” and “significantly reduces BMI.” These claims are often unsubstantiated and may cause more issues than assistance.

Solution: Use Nutrition to Reach Weight-Loss Goals
Eating whole foods, following a balanced eating plan, and getting regular physical activity is the best and most effective way to lose and maintain weight. Athletes are recommended to work with a sports dietitian to evaluate their meal plan and find the best solution to reach their weight-loss and performance goals. Check out Drug Free Sport AXIS™ for athlete-friendly recipes in our Athlete Recipe Box.

Bottom Line: WLT supplements are commonly contaminated or adulterated, may cause adverse health effects, and are not as effective as a balanced meal plan accompanied with regular exercise.
Learn more about dietary supplement safety by viewing our short video on YouTube.
Athletes that are part of subscribing member organizations can have your dietary supplement(s) reviewed by submitting a dietary supplement inquiry on Drug Free Sport AXIS.

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Thursday, May 4, 2017

What's the deal with CBD Oils and Creams? Do they contain THC?

Contributed by Anna Filardo, Education Program Manager


Cannabis|noun|can•na•bis|\’ka-nә-bәs\: any of the preparations (as marijuana or hashish) or chemicals (as THC) that are derived from the hemp plant and are psychoactive.1

Essentially, marijuana is a species of cannabis, specifically named Cannabis Indica or Cannabis Sativa. There are more than 100 different cannabinoids that make up the marijuana plant; the most widely known are Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC) and cannabidiol (or CBD). THC is commonly attributable to the psychoactive or euphoric side effects, while CBD is known for its more medicinal effects. Marijuana (specifically THC) is banned by a majority of sports organizations and is not eligible for medical exceptions or therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs). So what about CBD?

Recently, CBD oils and creams available for purchase in stores or on the internet have been growing in popularity, as seen in an increase of Drug Free Sport AXIS™ inquiries for these products. CBD has been cited for having some medicinal benefits, and homeopathic doctors are prescribing CBD oils and creams for treatment. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies CBD extract as a Schedule I Controlled Substance, which means it is illegal in states that have not passed medical marijuana laws.2

Manufacturers may claim their products are “pure CBD” and do not contain THC. However, there is no way to be certain the products do not also contain THC. The DEA asserts that it is “not aware of any industrially-utilized methods that have achieved this result [of 100% CBD].” 2  In February of 2016, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tested the composition of 22 CBD tinctures, oils, and creams. A majority of the products were marketed to be “100% Pure CBD.” Upon testing, the FDA found that almost all of the products tested did not have the amount of CBD claimed; some products did not contain any CBD, while others contained far less. THC was also present in measurable amounts in most of the products.3

CBD products are not approved by the FDA for marketing or distribution as safety and effectiveness have not been proven, and the federal government classifies marijuana as an illegal substance. Therefore, the FDA does not test these products before they are available to consumers. Since the FDA does not test CBD products before becoming available to consumers, there is no way to tell the amount of CBD (or THC) in each product. Therefore, AXIS classifies CBD oils and creams as high risk products. 

Dr. David Kuntz, Ph.D., Executive Director of Analytical Toxicology for Clinical Reference Laboratories, affirms 
“Plants are being specifically developed to have high concentrations of CBD to maximize the compound in the bud.  It is my understanding that there are no 100% pure CBD products on the market, and these products will contain minor to significant amounts of THC in the oil depending on their purification steps.”

Bottom line: The use of CBD oils, creams or tinctures may cause adverse health effects and/or a positive drug test.

To learn more about the difference between THC and CBD, view this short video and check out the new Marijuana tab on Drug Free Sport AXIS™


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