CBD Oil - How does CBD help sports performance?

Iain Highfield
  • Author: Iain Highfield
  • GLT Director
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What is CBD Oil

CBD, or cannabidiol, is just one of these chemicals; it’s commonly obtained from the hemp plant in the form of an oil, and can be taken by vaping, or orally as drops, pills, capsules or even gummies and candies. There are also topical CBD preparations for use directly on injured areas.

It doesn’t produce the highs or intoxication associated with the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) derived from marijuana, but it has been credited with a wide range of medicinal and performance enhancing properties including the alleviation of various neurological conditions, the relief of pain and inflammation, improved memory, better sleep and hormonal balance. 

CBD for Sports 

Given these benefits, it’s not surprising that considerable attention has been paid to the potential value of CBD to athletes and sports people.

A number of well-known sports stars have welcomed the role of CBD in allowing them to play through the pain of injury, but perhaps because of the controversy which still surrounds the use of “medical marijuana”, some major sports’ governing bodies have nevertheless remained cautious about permitting its use.

In the United States, both the NFL and the NBA still test players for CBD despite increasing player protests that its effect are extremely benign in comparison with the highly addictive opioids on which they currently have to rely for pain-relief.

On the other hand, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed CBD from its banned list in 2018, and it is also now permitted by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the PGA Tour.

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CBD and Golf

That said, it can be argued that allowing a golfer to maintain a full range of movement in the swing despite injury pain is in itself an aid to performance. And there is also evidence that CBD may help players maintain concentration and cognitive function during the several hours of a round of golf, while also helping to combat the stress and anxiety which even friendly rounds inevitably involve.

Tour Pros Using CBD

Phil Mickelson’s very public use of a dropper bottle during the 2019 Augusta Masters caused a flurry of excitement and speculation, and while the great man has not said what was in the bottle, as a known arthritis sufferer it makes sense that it might well have been CBD.

What is not in doubt is that in 2018 PGA Champions Tour player, Scott McCarron, became a paid endorser of a Colorado hemp oil retailer on the grounds that its products helped him with his physical recovery, mental focus and stress management.

And with the current rapid increase in interest in CBD and hemp oil, it seems likely that McCarron will be the first of many such players, whether the Tour authorities like it or not.

Weekend amateur players are naturally not subject to the intense physical and mental strains of the guys on the pro tours, but they are likely to come to the course with all manner of aches, pains and stresses generated by a busy work week.

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