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OPINION & ANALYSISWhat is CBD, and why are so many golfers using it?

Our John Lahtinen discussed CBD’s soaring popularity in the golf world in a November piece. Based on feedback to that feature, GolfWRX’s editors thought a deeper dive into the elixir was warranted.

We talked to key figures at three companies that produce CBD products for more perspective—Ed Donnelly, founder of AmourCBD, Jay Hartenbach, CEO of Medterra, and Dr. Steven Kraus, President and COO of Functional Remedies.

You can find our conversation below.

GolfWRX: Clearly, CBD is exploding in popularity in professional golf, both in terms of golfers using products containing the substance and sponsor involvement. What makes CBD appealing for golfers in particular?

Ed Donnelly: There are two main areas where golfers are discovering tremendous satisfaction from our AmourCBD products. These areas would be pain relief and anxiety management. On the pain front, conditions like strains, sprains and especially arthritis are greatly helped with our FDA registered AmourCBD Advanced Pain Relieving cream. If I am representative of a 60-year-old golfer, I always have aches and pains before and after a round of golf. CBD has been scientifically shown to offer 30 times the anti-inflammatory relief of traditional pain relief creams or oral products like Tylenol and Ibuprophen. Personally, my hands and wrists can talk to me the entire round and let me know they are uncomfortable. I started using our AmourCBD cream after a round and the pain was relieved rapidly due to the combination of CBD and Lidocaine. AmourCBD Advanced Pain Relieving Cream is the only FDA registered CBD cream on the market today. Then I got smart and applied the AmourCBD cream BEFORE a round and it was my most comfortable round in as long as I can remember.

Jay Hartenbach: With CBD’s ability to help a golfer loosen up before the round and support recovery after a long round, golfers of all ages can benefit from CBD in multiple areas. And with golf being as much mental as it is physical, CBD’s ability to help support mental calm throughout the round is helping give even recreational golfers an edge.

Dr. Steven Kraus: Golfers are searching for a natural wellness product that helps their recovery and preparedness in any activity. It just so happens that golf, like most any activity in life, gets better results when a person is well-rested, focused, calm and relaxed.

GolfWRX: It’s interesting that given the stigma (declining, but a stigma still) associated with consuming something derived from the cannabis plant, and given the relatively conservative nature of golf, we’re seeing such rapid adoption. Can you speak to that?

Ed Donnelly: Excellent question, but in addition to what you say about golfers, many are very smart and also desperate for solutions to our discomfort so we can keep playing and even play better. Bottom line is that our AmourCBD works. Also, our cream is FDA registered giving our intelligent golfers the confidence that they are using a product that complies with FDA Registration requirements. It is formulated in an FDA certified facility according to FDA standards and has been tested to ensure safety.

Jay Hartenbach: Despite being more conservative, golfers are always looking for ways to improve their game. Based on our feedback, CBD is helping lower scores without any significant drawbacks.

Dr. Steven Kraus: Not only is the golf world rapidly adopting hemp oil CBD, all of America and the rest of the world are also rapidly adopting the use. It’s simple: People want natural, effective products without the side-effects like you see on TV with pharmaceutical drug commercials.

GolfWRX: Can you dig a little deeper into the science behind CBD?

Ed Donnelly: As mentioned previously, there have been scientific studies that demonstrate that CBD contains 30x the anti-inflammatory properties of traditional pain relievers available over the counter. People try it and are amazed at how AmourCBD cream works and works fast. And there is no odor, another blessing.

As for anxiety and stress reduction, the reports are all subjective with people suggesting that they feel more relaxed, concentrate better are less stressed, but there are no traditional double-blind medical studies that I can point to.

Jay Hartenbach: Our body produces compounds called endocannabinoids that help maintain the body’s natural equilibrium. This homeostasis controls a variety of functions in the body including stress response, sleep, runaway inflammation, and so much more. There are a variety of factors that can disrupt the body’s production of these endocannabinoids including our diet, high-stress levels, and genetics. CBD, which is a phytocannabinoid, is a way to supplement the endocannabinoid system and help the body get back to its normal levels.

Dr. Steven Kraus: The term CBD is for one specific molecule called Cannabidiol. However, the effectiveness and wellness properties of the hemp plant is due to far more than one molecule. Some CBD products only provide just the singular CBD molecule, which still has benefits but is limiting. The true benefits are within the entire array of cannabinoids and terpenes found in the hemp plant. There are over 100 cannabinoids in the hemp plant. Our body has the endocannabinoid system and is taught in every physiology textbook in medical school. There are cannabinoid receptors in our brain, musculoskeletal system, skin, and immunologic systems that all have various cannabinoid receptors that the various cannabinoids react with. CBD has antipsychotic effects. These naturally occurring chemicals can positively impact our neurotransmitters in the brain and the various systems of the body. For example, the neurotransmitter serotonin, which can impact mood, digestion, bone density, and sexual function. If our body is not producing the correct amounts of these biochemicals leading to resultant chemical imbalances, that can affect body functions. CBD influences certain receptors that involve the regulation of serotonin. CBD also shows promise in the treatment of anxiety disorders according to a 2015 review of studies in the journal Neurotherapeutics. According to the investigators, CBD demonstrated a potent anxiety-relieving effect. There is a need for much more research. The National Institute of Health (NIH) database shows that there are over 160 trials involving CBD at present. The simple thing to remember is that cannabinoids are also produced in the human body. Due to stress, anxiety and other social and physical forces in today’s lifestyle, sometimes our body does not produce enough. Balancing the deficit with the correct array of phytonutrients and cannabinoids can help balance the wellness we all are searching to achieve in a natural, organic fashion without the synthetic side-effects.

GolfWRX: There are two lanes of skepticism here, right? One is “all of this stuff is snake oil” and the second is “while some of it might not be, you don’t know what you’re getting when you buy from a particular manufacturer.” Can you address these positions?

Ed Donnelly: This is an excellent question. I am a 35-year health care company executive who has worked in big companies working with the FDA. When I decided to enter this market, I was committed to doing it right! We took a year to develop our product and voluntarily put it through the FDA registration process. We are the only FDA-registered pain-relieving cream with CBD and Lidocaine. Lidocaine is an “active ingredient” by the FDA definition, but so is menthol that is used in other CBD creams; yet other companies ignore the FDA requirements to go through the time and cost of the FDA registration process. This was never an option for us. We want to be and are rapidly becoming the CBD brand that the consumers can trust. I want to be clear that the FDA registration process is currently only required for products that contain active ingredients like Lidocaine and Menthol. The implication is that our oils, pills, and gummies are pure CBD, do not have an active ingredient, and therefore are not FDA Registered, but we manufacture to the same FDA standards, utilize the same broad-spectrum CBD oil with 0.0 percent THC. Consumers can trust AmourCBD.

Jay Hartenbach: I will be the first one to agree that CBD cannot cure everything. It can help with a lot less than people give CBD credit for. What we do know is that CBD has shown potential as being an anti-inflammatory agent and a serotonin modulator. There are a variety of conditions that have some tie into inflammation and therefore any compound that can help with that inflammation has the potential to be beneficial. Also, research shows that imbalanced serotonin levels can create a variety of issues like anxiety.

Dr. Steven Kraus: With over 800 different companies selling “CBD,” some of them are simply trying to make a buck by buying hemp oil from some farmer or garage distillery not knowing if it is safe, tested, or what else was added or modulated. Simply put, you have to do some research to know that you are getting pure, organic, full-spectrum hemp oil that contains the entire entourage of cannabinoids to give the best results for your wellness. We encourage consumers to go with a company that is vertically integrated where they control the seed, plant, manufacturing extraction of hemp oil, and the packaging, including all of the third-party quality and purity testing. Essentially, it’s a seed-to-bottle control over the process to assure there is 100 percent safety and quality assurances. One way to do that is to be sure they are GMP certified. GMP is the set of federal regulations governed by the FDA to assure that a company practices good manufacturing processes for dietary supplements, food, and cosmetics. It is a very rigorous on-site evaluation of the entire process and personnel training of your manufacturing processes.