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Boxing Athlete Nathan Lugo Accepts Sanction for Anti-Doping Rule Violation

two boxing gloves in the shadowsUSADA announced today that Nathan Lugo, of Marietta, Ga., an athlete in the sport of boxing, has accepted a one-month period of ineligibility for an anti-doping rule violation.

Lugo, 19, tested positive for Carboxy-THC, a urinary metabolite of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive constituent of cannabis, marijuana, and hashish, above the urinary Decision Limit, as the result of a sample collected in-competition at the 2023 USA Boxing National Championships on December 9, 2023. Cannabis, marijuana, and hashish are Specified Substances in the class of Cannabinoids and are prohibited in-competition under the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing, the United States Olympic Committee National Anti-Doping Policies, and the International Federation anti-doping rules, all of which have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code (the Code) and the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List.

In the 2021 Code, THC is classified under a special category that allows for a reduced three-month sanction if the athlete establishes that their use of the substance occurred out-of-competition and was unrelated to sport performance. The sanction may be further reduced to one month if the athlete satisfactorily completes a treatment program approved by USADA.

Lugo’s period of ineligibility was reduced to one month because his use of cannabis occurred out-of-competition and was unrelated to sport performance, and because he successfully completed a substance of abuse treatment program regarding his use of cannabis. Lugo’s positive test was caused by oral ingestion of a gummy listing delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as delta-8 THC, on the label. Athletes are reminded that all substances and products containing synthetic and/or natural tetrahydrocannabinols, including but not limited to delta-8 THC and delta-9 THC, are prohibited in-competition. Further, the US FDA has specific consumer warnings on delta-8 THC products as they have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA for safe use in any context.

Lugo’s one-month period of ineligibility is the minimum allowed under the rules and began on February 5, 2024, the date he accepted the sanction. In addition, Lugo has been disqualified from all competitive results obtained on December 9, 2023, the date his positive sample was collected, including forfeiture of any medals, points and prizes.

WADA seeks input on each year’s updated version of the Prohibited List. USADA has advocated and will continue to advocate to WADA, the rule maker, to treat marijuana in a fairer and more effective way to identify true in-competition use.

In an effort to aid athletes, as well as support team members such as parents and coaches, in understanding the rules applicable to them, USADA provides comprehensive instruction on its website on the testing process and prohibited substances, how to file and update athlete Whereabouts, how to obtain permission to use a necessary medication, and the risks and dangers of taking supplements, as well as performance-enhancing and recreational drugs.

In addition, USADA manages a drug reference hotline, Global Drug Reference Online (GlobalDRO.com), conducts educational sessions with National Governing Bodies and their athletes, and distributes a multitude of educational materials, such as a supplement guide, a nutrition guide, a clean sport handbook, and periodic alerts and advisories.

USADA makes available a number of ways to report the abuse of performance-enhancing drugs in sport in an effort to protect clean athletes and promote clean competition. Any tip can be reported using the USADA Play Clean Tip Center, by text at 87232 (“USADA”), by email at playclean@USADA.org, by phone at 1-877-Play Clean (1-877-752-9253) or by mail.

USADA is responsible for the testing and results management process for athletes in the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movement and is equally dedicated to preserving the integrity of sport through research initiatives and educational programs.


For more information or media inquiries, email media@usada.org.