It’s almost impossible to go five minutes without hearing about CBD. Everything from lotion to sports drinks seems to have some hemp or cannabidiol integration, but what really is CBD?
For starters, let's get one thing clear: CBD does not get you “high.” It has been said to promote relaxation, relieve pain, and assist in post-workout recovery. It might even help your golf game.
Cannabidiol or CBD is a property of cannabis known for its healing properties. CBD is extracted from the cannabis or marijuana plant and is just one of the several chemical compounds in the plant. THC is the intoxicating property from the cannabis plant and is not a component of commercial CBD products.
CBD has risen to popularity in both pop culture and alternative medicine circles. It's not unusual to see a coffee shop boasting CBD coffee while a senior citizen uses a CBD cream to treat arthritis. CBD has been said to reduce anxiety, inflammation, sleeplessness and alleviate chronic pain. Athletes have begun using CBD to assist with muscle recovery and pain management, and the product is also said to help regulate the immune system and suppress inflammatory responses, which can both help prevent and treat injuries.
Despite varying opinions on its actual effectiveness, acceptance of CBD is growing. Colorado-based Functional Remedies even signed up PGA Tour Champions player Scott McCarron as an endorser in 2018.
“Functional Remedies EndoSport hemp oil helps my mind stay focused and my body recover, so I can always play my best,” McCarron said in a press release announcing the partnership. “Most people don’t realize the incredible level of mental stress and anxiety that comes with pro golf. In order to continue playing and performing at the highest level, I need to take care of the one body I have.”
Since the World Anti-Doping Agency removed CBD from its banned substance list in 2018, the PGA Tour Anti-Doping organization does not list CBD as a prohibited substance for players. Its focus instead is on the illegality of THC.
According to the Executive Director of the PGA Tour’s Anti-Doping Program, Andy Levinson, CBD has become a popular topic among PGA Tour players and his department has seen an increase of inquiries regarding its legality on the PGA Tour.
"CBD in its pure form is not prohibited," Levinson said. "But the use of CBD in any of its currently available forms would be at a player's own risk."
CBD is sold and marketed as a supplement, which generally have very poor regulation when it comes to the U.S. and the FDA, Levinson said. The lack of regulation has led to issues in the marketplace. Products are often mislabeled or include very little CBD. Companies are able to make large claims with little supporting evidence.
"People have a tendency to trust labels and if it something says 'all-natural' or 'safe for athletes' or something like that, there is really no recourse for that to be put on a label and it not be true," Levinson said. "So if players want to take supplements, and a supplement can be anything from a multivitamin to CBD oil, we strongly suggest that they only use supplements from the NSF Certified for Sport List."
Among the organizations researching CBD further, the World Health Organization has published a report clearing the safety of the property, stating, “To date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.” The University of Miami has been conducting studies on how CBD may be an effective treatment for concussions; and the FDA approved one CBD product called Epidiolex, which is a treatment for childhood epilepsy.
More reliable consumer-based products will come with certificates proving its purity and true CBD level. Don't be afraid to ask questions about purity, taste and dosages before you purchase a CBD product. With prices starting at $50 per 30 ML bottle of tincture or bag of gummies, it's worth a few extra minutes of research.
There are several ways to take CBD or hemp oil. Topical oils and lotions, which take the longest to be absorbed but have longer-lasting effects, are the easiest to start with and are known for calming skin and muscles, reducing redness and relieving pain. CBD has also become extremely common in beauty products with claims to treat acne, have anti-aging qualities or smooth skin. CBD lotions are often used in place of traditional liniments to relieve muscle aches and pains.