Former UFC fighter Elias Theodorou has made history after becoming the first professional athlete to receive a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) for cannabis.
The Canadian fighter, who last fought to a TKO win at a PFC event in December, has long been an advocate for medical cannabis, but his petitions to get a TUE when fighting for the UFC were denied by USADA. Now, though, the British Columbian Athletic Commission has granted him the exemption, meaning he won’t be penalized for testing above the standard threshold for cannabis. He will, however, have to follow the guidelines for fight week use of the substance.
Theodorou celebrated the milestone in a post on social media:
“First Medical Cannabis Athlete 🇨🇦
I am honoured and humbled to announce that after years of laying the groundwork, my recent application for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE), for medical cannabis in competition, via the athletic commission of British Columbia, was granted, based upon my well-documented medical issues, for bilateral neuropathy pain management. This historic ruling in favour of medical cannabis is the first of its kind in all of professional sports and the first-ever sanctioned TUE approved by a governing athletic/provincial body. As a patient, this historic TUE will allow for continued medical cannabis use, as prescribed by my doctor, and afforded to me by the fundamental Canadian right to medicate without discrimination, via Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. As an athlete, this TUE allows for continued medical cannabis use — to compete at a level playing field, essentially — without fear of penalty for testing above the WADA thresholds for athletes in-competition. As an ardent believer in a clean sport, I am ecstatic to have helped remove cannabis’s outdated status as a “prohibited substance,” on par with actual performance-enhancing drugs, even if it’s currently only in my medically-approved case. As this TUE will set a precedent for all athletes in BC, moving forward, and I stay committed to #FIGHTtheSTIGMA in every jurisdiction I plan on competing in, I will continue to knock down the barriers surrounding medical cannabis, inside the cage and out. #togetherwegrow
I also want to send a special thank you to all those that have helped me along the way, both as a patient and athlete; including @sabrinaresearchslayer , @drmikehart , The Toronto Poly Clinic and my counsel Erik Magraken amongst many others.”