If you’re a keen sportsperson who doesn’t like missing out on physical activity, but an injury is stopping you from getting back out there, then CBD may be the answer.
In this blog, we look at a specific type of injury that affects the wrist, elbow and forearm, and ask, does CBD oil help with golfer's elbow?
What is 'golfer's elbow'?
Also known by its medical name - medial epicondylitis - golfer's elbow is a form of tendonitis. This type of tendon strain is characterised by pain inside the elbow, just below the bend. You might also have heard of 'tennis elbow', which is similar but causes pain on the outside of the elbow.
Golfer's elbow can leave you with difficulty moving and pain that radiates down the forearm to the wrist. It particularly affects movements like lifting or bending the arm, and anything that involves gripping and twisting, such as removing the lid from a jar.
Who does it affect?
Despite its name, golfer's elbow doesn't just affect golfers; it's also found in sportspeople who play baseball, tennis, and bowls. It affects both men and women of all ages, but it's more common in people 40 to 60 years old.
Though it can be the result of an injury, it's mostly caused by overuse (repetitive strain) from repeatedly gripping, rotating the arm, and flexing the wrist much like you would if you were swinging a golf club - hence where this condition gets its name.
Treating golfer's elbow
The best way to prevent golfer's elbow is to avoid making the aggravating movements. This isn't always possible, so to help with the pain, GPs usually recommend using over-the-counter pain killers and anti-inflammatory gel.
For alternative potential pain relief, there is also cannabidiol, which you might know as CBD. If you're considering using CBD oil to help your injury then you're in good company, because according to some news outlets, it's used by many of the PGA Tour's best players, and it's regularly stocked in pro shops across the United States.
How does CBD work?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural compound found in the hemp plant. It's similar in nature to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) but with one important difference. Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive, so it won't give you the sensation of being 'high'.
CBD works by interacting with the body's own endocannabinoid system (ECS). This complex network of receptors carries messages around the body to keep it balanced so it can function at its best - you might see this referred to as homeostasis.
Medical professionals have identified two cannabinoid receptors:
- CB1 receptors found in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord)
- CB2 receptors found in the peripheral nervous system, such as the body's organs
It is thought that one of CBD’s many therapeutic benefits, is its ability to help reduce inflammation and pain, making it a natural alternative to conventional medicine and an ideal treatment for joint pain, such as golfer's elbow.
How to take CBD for golfer's elbow
CBD products come in a range of forms that can be ingested or applied topically. Each has its benefits, but ultimately, it comes down to personal preference. For anyone who hasn't used CBD before, we've put together three top products for joint pain.
1. FourFive's joint gel
This thermal joint gel from FourFive has been designed by a retired athlete to help fellow sportspeople get back to doing what they love. Alongside CBD it contains glucosamine and arnica - both natural anti-inflammatories. We suggest rubbing it into your elbow to reduce the pain and inflammation of tendonitis. Topical products, like this one, have the potential to work at the site of the problem for on-the-spot pain relief.
2. Green Stem muscle balm
Green Stem's muscle balm combines CBD with lavender, sandalwood, and jasmine. We recommend rubbing it into your wrist to relax this muscle after exercise.
It's good to keep the wrist moving so it doesn't seize up, but if the pain of your tendonitis is affecting your mobility, then try using the muscle balm before you play golf. You might also find that the soothing effects of CBD gets rid of those first-tee nerves.
3. Kloris restore bath block
This bath block from Kloris contains premium CBD and magnesium - a powerful combination to relax the mind and body. Most sportspeople would credit the humble bath with being able to soothe tired, aching muscles, and the Kloris bath block takes that to the next level. When CBD is absorbed this way, it interacts directly with the skin's cannabinoid receptors to drain away the after-effects of a hard workout.
How else do golfers use CBD?
Professional golfer, Morgan Hoffman, turned to CBD after he was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy in 2016. He was quoted in Golf magazine¹ as saying: "I haven't had any injuries, my body feels good, and my brain is clear [...] I'm more stable and calm on the course."
Hoffman isn't the only one benefiting from the effects of CBD; other golfers rumoured to be using the cannabinoid are PGA Tour players, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson². Some even claim to have seen Woods using CBD chewing gum at the 2019 Masters.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed cannabidiol from its list of prohibited substances in 2018, so professional golfers are now able to take it without fear of being banned.
Aside from its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, CBD may also be able to help golfers to stay focused and calm on the course, and get a better night's sleep.
We can't promise that CBD oil will improve your swing, but it has the potential to reduce the pain of golfer's elbow and improve your overall wellbeing both on and off the course.
- Kaufmann, Martin, Golf [online] Power plant for a growing legion of Tour disciples, the hemp extract CBD is a game changer [updated 20 Aug 2019; cited 15 Oct 2021] Available from: https://bit.ly/3paPo4z
- Stachura, Mike, Golf Digest [online] Is this golf's magic potion? [updated 19 Jun 2019; cited 15 Oct 2021] Available from: https://bit.ly/3lJPNJa