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CBD for Golfers: See What's Taking the PGA by Storm

CBD for golfers


As of the beginning of 2018, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed CBD from the list of prohibited substances, whether athletes are involved in a competition or not. The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) followed suit and did the same. That means that both Olympic athletes and PGA golfers—because both organizations take their direction on drug enforcement from the WADA—are able to consume CBD while playing their respective sports.

The reasoning given by Ben Nichols, a spokesperson for WADA, in 2016 in anticipation of the change in policy was, “Our information suggests that many cases do not involve game or event-day consumption. The new threshold level is an attempt to ensure that in-competition use is detected and not use during the days and weeks before a competition.”

The Potential of CBD for Golfers and Other Athletes

This is exciting news for any athlete who is looking for an alternative to traditional means of dealing with sport-related soreness or pain. Currently, there aren’t many options when it comes to dealing with post-workout recovery discomfort or with injury-related swelling and inflammation. Essentially, athletes can either turn to over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or, in more serious cases, be prescribed a dose of some type of opioid.

Although they can be effective, these really aren’t the best methods for dealing with inflammation, muscle soreness, or injury-related pain. Daily or consistent ibuprofen consumption can have detrimental long term effects on various organs in the body, while opioids run the risk of short and long term negative side effects, including potential overdose, dependence, or abuse.

What Golfers Think about CBD Products

If you were watching this year’s Masters Tournament, you may have seen Phil Mickelson do something a bit curious. In between holes, he pulled out a small vial from his golf bag, used a pipette to squirt a liquid into his mouth, and then tucked the vial back into his bag without comment. Although he didn’t confirm it, there was and is wide speculation that he was consuming CBD.

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If he was consuming CBD, then he’s not alone on the PGA Tour. According to tour players, caddies, and coaches interviewed by Golf Digest, perhaps 15 to 20 players, or more, routinely use a CBD product. Additionally, several pros, including Bubba Watson, Scott McCarron, Brandt Jobe, Charley Hoffman, and Morgan Hoffmann, have endorsement deals with CBD manufacturers, and golfers of all skill levels are swearing by its effectiveness in improving their game.

“I haven’t had any injuries, my body feels good, and my brain is clear,” Charley Hoffmann says. “I’m more stable and calm on the course.”

"Just because of, I'm getting older," Bubba Watson told The Street. "The inflammation in my body, waking up with better sleep. That was the two things I focused on.”

The Potential Benefits of CBD for Golfers

There are many potential benefits of CBD that make it especially appealing to golfers and other athletes. Among these are reduced inflammation, anxiety relief, better sleep, and decreased stress levels. The mechanism by which CBD may help golfers and others is through the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

The way it works is by CBD binding to both CB1 and CB2 receptors found throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems. Binding to these receptors allows CBD to affect and help moderate bodily responses like inflammation and cortisol.  This is where the potential for fighting muscle soreness and pain associated with physical activity, as well as stress and anxiety, comes in.

Why CBD Is Used by Golfers

Although golf is not typically thought of as a physically grueling sport, CBD is used by golfers of all skill levels nonetheless. As anyone who has played golf, especially multiple days in a row of golf, understands, this sport can take a toll on your muscles. Your wrists, elbows, shoulders, back, and all the muscles in between can become sore and inflamed. Beyond the physical tolls of the sport, golf is primarily a mental game. At the end of the day, you’re playing against yourself and your own head.

Golfers endure an immense amount of mental and physical strain while practicing and competing day after day, year after year. Even the PGA is starting to take notice of the potential benefits of CBD—even to the point where they have begun allowing CBD companies to become official sponsors of the tour.

Many golfers who use CBD have noted that they have seen improvements in sleep, recovery, anxiety and focus. These testimonials are spreading fast throughout the PGA Tour, especially among older players. Golfers of all ages would benefit from the potential positive sleep, anxiety, and focus effects of CBD, but older players have even more to gain through the potential relief of joint pain.

CBD and the PGA

Although CBD for golfers is quickly picking up steam within amateur and pro golf circles, the PGA organization has expressed some concerns. These do not really have to do with CBD itself, but with the fact that some unscrupulous companies who purport to sell pure CBD actually have some products that contain more than trace amounts of THC.

“CBD in its pure form is not prohibited,” Andy Levinson, executive director of the PGA Tour’s Anti-Doping Program, told Golf Digest, “but the use of CBD in any of its currently available forms would be at a player’s own risk.” That risk arises from the fact that THC is still prohibited by the WADA and also the PGA and other sport organizations, and there is a chance with some CBD companies’ products might contain more THC than they report.

This supposed risk, however, is not scaring many golfers away from trying CBD. “I’ve had doctors involved to do my research and see what companies out there make a product that’s safe for me and safe for my family. It was a no-brainer,” Bubba Watson says. “There’s no bad stuff in it, there are no chemicals in there that will mess you up or make you fail a drug test. There are certain companies we trust.”

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Conclusion: CBD for Golfers

Ultimately, whether the pros or you as a golfer want to give CBD a try to see if it improves your game is a personal decision for each individual. But the fact that more and more pro golfers are giving it a try should be evidence enough that there is something to combining CBD and golf.

In addition to aiding with soreness relief, muscle recovery, and their mental state, the main reason why CBD for golfers is exciting is because it has the potential to free them from harmful anti-inflammatory and highly addictive opioid drugs.

There is still a lot to learn about CBD and golfers and about CBD in general. However, since there are no reported negative side effects and because it has been given the okay by the WADA, USADA, and PGA, golfers can feel confident that they can experiment with it and see if it helps them feel better and improves their game.

To try effective CBD products without having to fear them containing THC or other substances, take a look at Urban Roots tinctures or capsules. Both allow you to easily control dosage and are perfect for giving CBD a try for the first time.