5 Reasons Golfers Love CBD
Bubba Watson says that CBD keeps him performing at the highest level. Greg Norman said that if CBD products had been around when he was in his prime, they would have made a huge difference in his career. Now that CBD is legal in the U.S., and the World Anti-Doping Agency has made clear that its rules do not ban CBD, more and more golfers are talking openly about how CBD has improved their lives – and their golf.
CBD – cannabidiol – is a compound from the hemp plant that helps to reduce inflammation, ease pain, and calm the nervous system, among other things. Unlike its molecular cousin, THC, it will not get you high, but it may make you feel more relaxed. The best CBD products are full spectrum products, that contain other helpful compounds from the hemp plant as well. These compounds work together with CBD to balance your endocannabinoid system, a set of chemical receptors in your body that modulate stress, pain, and inflammation. Many golfers love h ow CBD can help them feel calm on the links and then aid in their rest and recovery later the same night.
Could you benefit from CBD? Here are five reasons golfers love CBD:
1. CBD keeps down inflammation and can aid in recovery.
Your muscles get a good workout playing golf – especially if you walk instead of using a golf cart. Exercise creates small tears in your muscles, repairing those tears makes your muscles stronger. Inflammation is the process by which that muscle repair happens. But it can also cause intense soreness that you can feel deep in the belly of your muscles. (Samarato 2003)
So how do you bring inflammation down to a level where it won’t be painful without slowing the process of muscle repair? Anti-inflammatory medications suppress the whole inflammatory response, which can ultimately have a rebound effect sometimes. CBD works to balance and manage inflammation, keeping it at a healthy level.
The nervous system, the immune system, and the endocrine system all work together to co-ordinate our body’s inflammatory processes.
These three body systems are all strong influenced by a relatively recently discovered body system: the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is a series of receptors that respond both to molecules contained in the cannabis plant – cannabinoids – and compounds with similar effects that are produced by our own bodies – endocannabinoids. All of the major types of cells involved in inflammation contain endocannabinoids and endocannabinoid receptors, suggesting that the system, when it is healthy, helps keep inflammation in balance (Pellati 2018). Researchers even theorize that an endocannabinoid deficiency may play a role in chronic pain and inflammation in diseases like fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome. Ethan Russo (2016) points out the role that endocannabinoids play in regulating mood and digestion and reducing pain, and suggests that:
“If endocannabinoid function were decreased, it follows that a lowered pain threshold would be operative, along with derangements of digestion, mood, and sleep among the almost universal physiological systems subserved by the endocannabinoid system .”
In an earlier paper, Russo (2008) notes that while we have found many molecules that act on the endocannabinoid system, the “first clinically available” compound that acts to balance the whole system, to modulate the modulators, is CBD.
In marijuana, CBD is found alongside the mind altering compound, THC. Hemp plants also contain a lot of CBD, but don’t have enough THC to get you “high,” so products made from hemp are the preferred source of CBD for many people.
2. CBD and golf both help to manage stress
One reason so many people love golf is that it gives them a healthy way to manage stress. Being outside enjoying exercise, fresh air, and sunlight with good friends is as good for your mind as it is for your body.
Of course sometimes, at the end of a stressful week at work, its hard to calm down, and you find yourself feeling anxious at the tea.
If golf is calming your nerves, CBD can help to increase that benefit. If your game is making you feel shaky and jittery, CBD can help you feel calmer and maybe even more focused.
One way that scientists study anxiety is by getting them to do something that makes a lot of people nervous: public speaking. Researchers in Brazil randomly divided people dealing with social anxiety into two groups – one group received CBD and another group received a placebo. Both groups were then given two minutes to prepare a four minute speech about public transportation. Then they had to deliver the speech on camera while watching themselves on a TV screen. The group that received the CBD reported less anxiety, displayed clearer thinking, and felt better about their speeches and about themselves than the people in the group that received the placebo (Bergamaschi 2011.)
The researchers were especially happy to see such positive results from CBD, because it has significant advantages over the pharmaceuticals used to treat social anxiety. You need to take anti-depressants for a while before they begin to reduce social anxiety, but CBD works right away. And benzodiazapines, the most common anti-anxiety drugs, can slow movement and reflexes and cloud the brain. CBD does not (Bergamaschi 2011.) (Some people, of course, benefit greatly from pharmaceuticals that treat anxiety and depression, and if you are on one of these drugs you should never discontinue the medication or add something new to the mix without consulting your doctor or psychiatrist.)
Most drugs that treat anxiety work by slowing down an overactive brain. This can stop you from feeling anxious, but it also can make it harder for you to find new solutions to your problems or perform tasks like writing a report or giving a presentation.
CBD appears to specifically target the areas of the brain associated with fear, stress, and anxiety.
The limbic region and the paralimbic region are commonly called the “reptilian brain,” because, from an evolutionary perspective, they are the oldest parts of the brain, the parts we share in common with reptiles. They are responsible for processing sensations and emotions --- including fear. When we get scared, those areas of the brain become activated and let our bodies know that we are in danger. We quickly release hormones and neurotransmitters that focus our attention on the threat, raise our blood pressure, tense our muscles, spike our blood sugar, increase our heart rate, and make us ready to fight or run away. This is a useful response if you are confronted with a mountain lion. It is not as useful if you are trying to drive to work or do your taxes.
Brain scans show that CBD decreases blood flow to the limbic and para-limbic regions, reducing fear and anxiety, preventing the body from going into high alert or helping it calm back down. (Crippa 2013.)
Recent studies also show that the endoconnabinoid system may have an effect on the part of our endocrine system that produces stress hormones. You have probably heard of adrenaline – the compound that makes you jittery and excited when you are stressed, whether the stress is good stress or bad stress. Andrenaline is released by your adrenal glands in response to a message from your pituitary gland. Your pituitary gland gets the message that you need to produce adrenaline from the hypothalamus, which in turn is activated by the limbic system. Together the hypothalamus, the pituitary, and the adrenals make up the HPA axis, which regulates our stress response.
Scientists have just discovered that the endocannabinoid system extends into the hypothalamus, and can essentially put the brakes on the HPA axis, regulating our stress response. (Hill 2019.) Given the role CBD plays in supporting healthy anandamide levels, it may also be reducing anxiety through taking the system that produces stress hormones off its hair-trigger alert.
CBD has also been identified as a possible adaptogen. (Pellati 2018) Adaptogens are compounds that help regulate the body’s stress response without creating any significant side effects by balancing the HPA axis. (Panosssian & Wilkman 2010) Scientists recently discovered that the hypothalamus has endocannabinoid receptors that respond to anandamide (Hill 2019), a molecule produced by our own bodies whose name is derived from the Sanskrit word for “bliss.” Anandamide helps soothe us, which in turn helps soothe inflammation. CBD helps the body use anandamide more efficiently. (Prud'homme 2015)
Combine CBD with exercise, sunlight, and good company, and you have a great plan for managing stress!
3. CBD might help with “the yips.”
You go to take a swing and you feel a sudden spasm or tremor or shock move through your body.
“The yips” is an actual medical phenomenon. One article in a medical journal describes the yips as s “ transient tremor, jerk, or spasm that primarily occurs when the player is trying to chip or make a putt, is a movement disorder frequently encountered in both amateur and professional golfers. “ They go on to say that “ Although the pathophysiology of the yips remains poorly understood, recent studies suggest that it may be a form of a task‐specific, focal dystonia involving the hand and arm. “ (Dhungana & Jankovic 2013) In other words, the hand and arm muscles contract uncontrollably. A cramp so bad that it can be debilitating.
There are no studies specifically about CBD and the yips. But CBD is known to have antispasmodic, muscle relaxing properties and to be useful in other forms of dystonia. (Peres 2018) It will also help calm your nervous system from the shock of the sensation.
4. CBD helps ease pain.
Lower back pain is the most common medical problem among golfers. (Lindsay & Vandervoort 2014)
If you wrench your back in the middle of a swing, it can leave you out of commission for a while. Besides helping to manage the inflammation that is causing the pain, CBD actually helps manage the pain itself. It both directly reduces pain (Russo 2008, Ko 2016, Philpott 2017, Vučković 2018) and changes the way the body perceives pain, to make it less overwhelming. (Vučković 2018)
CBD shows great promise in breaking the vicious cycle where inflammation causes pain, pain causes stress and loss of sleep, and stress and loss of sleep cause more inflammation.
Managing pain and inflammation is complex. Dietary and lifestyle changes play an important role in helping people’s bodies come back into health. CBD, a molecule that acts in the body in unique and complex ways, can play an important role in a multi-pronged approach to bringing inflammation back under control. It is one of the few molecular tools we have for addressing inflammation that does not feed into the underlying problems. In the coming years, new research will continue to shed light on the applications of this amazing compound in promoting whole body health.
5. CBD and golf are both good for your heart.
Golf is a great form of exercise to improve your cardiovascular health, to prevent a heart attack or stroke. It is especially good for the heart if you walk instead of using a golf cart. (Parkkari 2000)
Inflammation is one of the main factors in heart disease and high blood pressure. Exercise is one great way of managing inflammation. (Anft 2016) CBD, of course is another.
CBD also acts directly to lower blood pressure – acutely with a single dose. (Jadoon 2017) There are early indications that it may reduce the risk of stroke as well, through its influence on the endocannabinoid system and that system’s influence on the cardiovascular system, both through reducing inflammation and calming the nerve signals traveling to the heart and to the muscles that control tension along the blood vessels. More research is needed. (Scharf 2017)
CBD and golf are a perfect combination for better health!
What to Look for in a CBD Oil?
There are three important things to look for when buying a CBD product:
1. Always buy organic.
More and more people are aware of the benefits of organic produce – non-genetically modified plants that are grown without the use of synthetic chemical pesticides and fertilizers.. Choosing carefully sourced certified organically grown products is just as important when choosing a plant-based supplement as it is when choosing fruits and vegetables at the grocery store or farmer’s market.
Organic growing conditions are especially important to guarantee the safety of products made from hemp.
Hemp is a “bio-accumlator” – which means that it draws in more of the minerals and chemicals found in the soil than other plants do. For example, hemp is very efficient at taking up heavy metals from the oil. (Angelova 2004, Shi 2011.) This is great if your goal is to clean-up polluted soil, but not so great if you are growing something people are going to put into their bodies. This means it is extremely important to grow hemp in clean soils.
Bio-accumulators like hemp can also concentrate pesticides. Currently, there is no federal regulation of pesticide use on hemp crops. (Sandler, 2019.) So the only way to be sure that there won’t be pesticide residues in your CBD oil is to insist on only buying from companies whose growers don't use synthetic chemical pesticides or fertilizers.
2. Only buy products made using a non-toxic extraction method.
There are two main methods of extracting CBD from hemp, and of making sure the CBD levels in your product are consistent.
The first method is the easy one, but it has some major drawbacks.
The easy way to make sure your product contains a consistent amount of CBD is to use solvents to separate and isolate the CBD from hemp flowers, and then mix pure CBD into the each batch of oil at exactly the same level.
The main problem with this method is that many of the solvents people use to separate a single constituent from a plant are very toxic, and the process of infusing the isolated CBD in oil can concentrate those toxins. (Hazekamp 2018.) All the benefits of using organic hemp flowers are lost if you add toxic chemicals in the manufacturing process. So insist on products that use the safest extraction method available -- using high pressure carbon dioxide to extract crucial constituents from the plant. “Super-critical carbon dioxide extraction.
3. Only buy full spectrum oils.
The second problem with using toxic solvents to extract CBD is that you isolate CBD from the other compounds in hemp, you end up throwing away other beneficial constituents. Plants have complex chemistries, and they rarely produce one constituent in isolation. They produce suites of chemicals that work together to have synergistic effects in plant, animal, and human bodies. Some of these constituents aid in the absorption of others. Some act on different receptor sites than the constituent we think of as the “active” constituent with complementary results. Others help to reduce side-effects.
Recent research has begun to point to complex relationships between the many cannabinoids in cannabis and hemp plants and other compounds, such as the monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes that give them their characteristic scents. (Fowler 2003, Russo 2011) Why not just isolate these compounds and add them in at identical levels in each batch of oil? We don’t yet understand all the complex relationships at play. So many people think it is best to trust nature to get the balance right. That’s what full spectrum CBD oils do – they give the full spectrum of beneficial compounds in the hemp plant.
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