8 October 2018

Cricketer blames THC positive on mother’s cancer medication

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has sanctioned cricketer Ahmad Shazad with a four month ban, accepting his explanation that a positive test for 11-nor-delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol-9-carboxylic acid (THC), a metabolite of cannabis, was caused by his wife giving him his mother’s anti-cancer medication to combat nausea. As the ban has been backdated to 10 July, it will expire on 10 November.

Shazad returned an AAF on 3 May during the Pakistan Cup at Faisalabad. ‘On the day he was scheduled to play the 3rd May 2018 Match of the Pakistan Cup at Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad, he woke up feeling dizzy and nauseous and asked his wife to give him medicine for treating the nausea who, instead of giving him the medicine he normally ingested i.e. Gravitate, unknowingly gave him a Dronabinol 5mg tablet’, reads the full PCB judgment (PDF below). ‘The medicine Dronabinol that he had taken on 3rd May 2018 was prescribed to his mother who is suffering from cancer. Such medicine is usually prescribed to patients for relief from symptoms of vomiting and nausea and contains the Prohibited Substance THC.’

The PCB said that Shazad had provided it with his mother’s US prescription for Dronabinol, which is not routinely prescribed in Pakistan. It accepted that his wife had given him the medicine upon his request for something to relieve nausea, as well as his explanation that he did not write Dronabinol on the Doping Control Form (DCF), as he could not recall the name of the medicine.

‘The Prohibited Substance ingested by AS was not a performance enhancing drug and, therefore, there could be no intent to cheat’, reads the judgment. ‘Ingestion of one tablet of Dronabinol in the morning on 3rd May 2018 before provisions of a urine sample at 10:20pm on 3rd May 2018 is not inconsistent with the finding of THC in urine at an estimated concentration of 341 ng/ml […] Based on the foregoing evidence, PCB is satisfied to the requisite standard (greater than a mere balance of probability but less than proof beyond a reasonable doubt) that the presence of THC in AS’s urine sample was caused by the ingestion of one tablet of Dronabinol 5mg in the circumstances described above.’

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