The journey for CBD from obscurity into widespread popularity has been long for the humble cannabis compound that offers so many health benefits – some well-documented, some likely yet to be discovered. Just two decades ago, CBD was considered illicit, on par with its often-demonized THC cousin.
Slowly, beginning in 2011 with the successful treatment of 5-year-old Charlotte Figi’s debilitating epilepsy condition using CBD after countless failed attempts using conventional methods, the public’s perception of CBD began to change.
Now, in 2020, although the FDA still maintains that the safety and efficacy of CBD for therapeutic use remains unclear in spite of overwhelming evidence of its legitimacy as medicine, the tables of public opinion have turned in favor of CBD.
CBD in PGA Golf: Another Mainstream Breakthrough
Arguably, no better barometer exists for what is deemed acceptable in polite society than the gentleman’s game of golf. The pro golf arena has often remained the last holdout for conservative values in a changing society, strictly controlling players’ and audience members’ code of conduct on and around the course.
As more pro tour golfers go public with their CBD use as a therapeutic agent to improve their game and overall well-being, the Pro Golfers Association (PGA), the ultimate authority on golf etiquette, finds itself in a moral dilemma.
The organization is concerned that its generally older, more conservative audience might balk at the idea of admired professional golfers on the tour using what many still consider a controversial drug in the form of cannabis and/or its derivatives. Long decades of “public outreach” by Partnership for a Drug-Free America have potentially irreversibly cemented the negative view that older Americans have of the cannabis plant and its perceived dangers.
CBD achieved wider acceptance in the sports world when the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed the compound from its list of banned substances in 2008, paving the way for further reforms in both local and international sports.
Golf, due to the conservative leanings of its fans, players, and executives, has remained one of the last holdouts in terms of embracing CBD as a legitimate therapeutic medicine.
Several notable PGA legends, including Bubba Watson, have signed endorsement deals in recent years with CBD companies to promote their products, rankling some in PGA management who still hesitate to fully recognize the legitimacy of CBD.
One of the concerns frequently cited by top PGA brass is the supposed concern over players failing drug tests as a result of the minuscule THC content found in CBD products. However, these concerns are not solidly grounded in scientific reality.
While technically possible to fail a standard drug test, such occurrences are rare. Reputably CBD manufacturers test their products to ensure that they contain less than the legally allowable 0.3% THC limit, effectively eliminating any possibility of a failed test due to CBD use.
To PGA regulars, Robert Garrigus and Matt Every, were suspended recently due to failing drug tests. In their defense, they pointed to the fact that they were legally prescribed marijuana in states where the practice is legal. Because they obtained the marijuana legally, they claim, the PGA should not penalize them for it.
In a round of uncharacteristic vocal criticism of PGA policy, Garrigus noted the absurdity of penalizing players with THC in their systems while allowing much more harmful, potentially fatal, pharmaceutical drugs like Oxycontin.
As we move forward, we will likely see the last holdouts of marijuana prohibition like the PGA cave to public pressure, regardless of the “respectable” image the organization hopes to maintain.