CBD, an active component of hemp, seems to be on the tip of many tongues of late. For good reason too, as CBD oil offers a wide and highly impressive range of advantages to health and wellbeing. Studies show, for instance, that the cannabinoid is anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety and pro-homeostasis. Scientists believe that CBD can be particularly advantageous for athletes.
When it comes to professional athletes and how they may benefit from CBD, one group usually goes unnoticed: golfers. That isn't unexpected. After all, as opposed to the metabolic strain of pro cycling, sprinting or marathon running, golf does not come with a slew of obvious physiological risks. However, golf is a mentally taxing and complicated sport that requires many long hours of practice, no matter your skill level. This can be tough on the neuromuscular system, especially in middle aged or older people, sometimes making recovery a challenge following a long day on the course.
Perhaps this explains the soaring popularity of CBD amongst golfers in recent years. Take Phil Mickelson, for instance, who frequently used the cannabis compound during the 2019 Masters, and Bubba Watson, who partnered with a CBD brand in 2019. You’ll also find the majority of golf pro shops stocking a variety of CBD-based products lately. As the influence of CBD in golf continues to flourish, you might be wondering how CBD could help you to improve your performance, both physically and mentally for your best round yet.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-intoxicating, naturally occurring substance of the cannabis plant. Not to be confused with THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), another cannabis-derived compound that causes a ‘high’ (and is illegal in the UK), CBD has no psychoactive effects and is non-addictive, yet provides a plethora of health and wellness benefits.
CBD is extracted from the hemp plant, which is part of the cannabis plant family and contains only small concentrations of THC. CBD is pressed into oil and infused into a variety of products including gummies, oils, balms and creams. Regular CBD users report better sleep, lowered stress and anxiety, improved recovery and pain reduction, plus an enhanced sense of wellbeing overall.
Why are Golfers Using CBD?
In recent years we’ve seen a growing number of players using and recommending CBD-based products in golf. PGA Tour player Bubba Watson commented on his use of cannabidiol: “After a tough day on the golf course, I want to be able to get better sleep and let the inflammation in my body go down.” Studies have shown that improved sleep, lessened anxiety, reduced muscle soreness and better focus can be attributed to regular use of CBD. Let’s take a closer look at CBD benefits for golfers.
6 Benefits of CBD for Golf
We’ve listed our top six science-backed potential benefits of CBD for golfers.
1. Better Recovery = More Play
When muscle recovery is at its most efficient, you can play more often (which is every golfer’s goal, right?). CBD has been shown to help our bodies recuperate more efficiently after a gruelling session. It can reduce inflammation and induce longer, deeper, healthier sleep – a crucial catalyst in the recovery process. PGA-level golfer Scott McCarron reported that his sleep quality improved substantially after using CBD; a claim evidenced by the results of McCarron’s WHOOP sleep-recording device.
2. Fewer Aches and Pains
Studies show that CBD naturally reduces joint inflammation and common aches and pains. Golfers can be particularly susceptible to certain ailments such as Golfer’s Elbow (pain in the tendons connecting the forearm muscles and elbow). CBD could help alleviate those niggles that might limit performance or even keep you away from the course.
3. A Less Stressful Game
One of the most popular uses for cannabidiol is its anxiety-relieving effects. It’s natural to experience unsettled nerves before that first tee, but taking CBD oil before a game can help. Cannabidiol reduces symptoms of stress and anxiety which keeps you relaxed and allows for a more enjoyable game.
4. Increased Focus
Lessened anxiety paves the way for a sharper mind. Research shows that CBD can boost focus and concentration in athletes; this is fundamental for helping the mind stay attentive and patient when golfing.
5. Greater Mind-Muscle Connection
Golfers require a healthy mind-muscle connection (or neuromuscular coordination), which enables them to practice and refine techniques frequently. Swinging a golf club, for instance, is a sophisticated activity, but one which can be improved with practice. CBD interacts closely with the body’s endocannabinoid system, influencing neurotransmitters within the central nervous system and providing a “bridge between body and mind”. Scientists believe that CBD can initiate a cascade of positive wellness changes by stimulating the endocannabinoid system, improving mind-muscle connection and lessening the risk of injury.
6. Improved Performance
The positive feedback loop of enhanced recovery, less anxiety, better focus, reduced pain and improved neuromuscular coordination can result in only one outcome – better performance on the course!
Is CBD Banned in Golf and Will I Fail a Drug Test?
No, CBD is not banned in golf or any sports. In 2019, the World Anti-Doping Agency exempted cannabidiol from its list of prohibited substances.
CBD products are legal in the UK as long as they contain a maximum of 0.2% THC (the psychoactive component of cannabis). When purchasing CBD-based products, always buy premium-quality goods from a reputable brand. The manufacturer should be able to provide third-party laboratory testing results to demonstrate the purity of products.
Additionally, you won’t fail any athlete drug tests after using CBD (as long as your product contains less than the legal THC concentration, of course). Drug tests screen for THC, but not CBD. You must be over the age of 18 to use CBD oil-infused products.
Is it Safe to Use CBD Oil for Golf?
CBD is regarded as a safe substance to use and is generally tolerated very well by most people. Side effects are rarely experienced, but may include drowsiness, nausea and diarrhoea. We strongly recommend beginning with a small dose if trying CBD for the first time. Build up your dosage gradually if necessary, while carefully observing how the cannabinoid affects you.
Which CBD Products are Best for Golf?
CBD is available in many forms, including CBD oils, gummies, balms and creams. How you wish to take CBD completely depends on your preference and your wellbeing goals. Orally-ingested CBD oil absorbs into the bloodstream quickly and can benefit a player seeking quick results. They are designed to provide a general wellness boost; primarily for anxiety, focus and recovery.
CBD gummies, on the other hand, take longer to enter the bloodstream as they travel through the digestive system first, but the advantage of this is that the effects may last longer.
CBD muscle balms are topically applied to the skin and are ideal for localised pain and inflammation. Mission C’s CBD + Cooling Muscle Balm contains pure isolate CBD, menthol and peppermint to reduce inflammation, ease aches and contribute to optimal recovery post-game.
As research develops, evidence is becoming more robust surrounding CBD’s benefits for golfers, athletes and, well, just about everybody. The taboo that has been linked to CBD for many years is shrinking, and this legal, WADA-approved substance is proving its worth in golfing tournaments across the globe. Whether professional or amateur, CBD could help you recover better, reduce stress, lessen inflammation and enhance performance, placing you on the path to your greatest round of golf yet.