The use of CBD is not prohibited on the PGA Tour, and more and more golfers are starting to use those products, which they say can help significantly with pain and recovery after rounds.
While cannabidiol is not prohibited, THC — the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana — is considered a banned substance.
Jordan Spieth knows that golfers can benefit from CBD use, but said ahead of the Zozo Championship in Japan this week that it can be risky if golfers aren't careful. Accidentally using CBD that contains small amounts of THC, as some products do, could trigger a positive test.
“That stuff’s been kind of known to really help with what we do, you know, shins and feet and that kind of stuff … helping to recover,” Spieth said, via Reuters. “Hemp’s not banned, but THC is, so it’s kind of a fine line there. It’s so early on where some of it has THC levels and some of it doesn’t.”
Sticking to WADA guidelines
Matt Every was suspended last week for three months for violating the Tour’s drugs of abuse policy after testing positive for marijuana, which he said had been prescribed to him by his physician for a mental condition. The two-time Tour winner is the second golfer to be suspended this year for marijuana use — which is still banned by the Tour despite being legal in some form in 33 states in the United States — joining Robert Garrigus.
Upon his return from suspension, Garrigus — like many other professional athletes — called for the Tour to loosen its stance on marijuana use.
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan addressed the issue on Wednesday, saying they would continue to adhere to the World Anti-Doping Agency guidelines. The Tour first started drug testing players in 2008 under those guidelines, a move it used to help get golf back into the Olympics.
“I think we’ve been very clear with our players that because CBD oil and CBD as a product is an unregulated product, it essentially is a supplement, with it comes risk,” Monahan said, via Golf.com. “So we’ve been very clear with our players and tried to communicate that risk to our players. But ultimately we don’t determine what is a banned substance and what’s not. We rely on WADA for doing that. So we’ll continue to stay very close not only to that substance but any potential substance that would come on or come off the list.
“But I’m not surprised to hear our athletes, because you’ve heard it from athletes in other sports, say that that’s a risk they’re just going to prevent entirely.”
Rory McIlroy ‘too paranoid’
While Spieth sounded more open to the use of legal CBD and hemp oils, Rory McIlroy is on the other side of the issue.
He’s not against the products themselves. He just hasn’t ever tried them.
“I’m very aware of the banned substance list,” McIlroy said, via Golf.com. “I’m very careful with what I put into my body, and I couldn’t tell you if CBD oil is good for golfers because I’ve never tried it.”
The Northern Irishman, who is currently ranked No. 2 in the world after winning both the Tour Championship and the FedExCup last season on the PGA Tour, said he’s even avoided taking basic ibuprofens at times, just in case.
“Yeah, it’s tough because I take a very strong stance on performance enhancing drugs or banned substances,” McIlroy said, via Golf.com. “Like I wouldn’t even be comfortable taking CBD oil. I would be too paranoid that there would be THC in it and then that obviously could lead to a positive test.
“I am the most conservative on everything. I try not to take anything in terms of pills to help in any way. Like, I’m even scared to take the painkillers sometimes, like an Advil. I would rather just not.”
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