CBD: Painkiller highlighted at PGA show, approved by USADA for golfers

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - JANUARY 17: Gavin Green of Malaysia warms up on the range during Day Two of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship at Abu Dhabi Golf Club on January 17, 2019 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - JANUARY 17: Gavin Green of Malaysia warms up on the range during Day Two of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship at Abu Dhabi Golf Club on January 17, 2019 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images) /

CBD, the naturally ocurring, non-psychoactive chemical found in hemp plants, is one of the fastest-growing alternative therapies for a number of conditions, aches and pains. It was also highlighted by multiple companies at this year’s PGA Show, with USADA-approved uses for golfers and athletes from all sports.

According to two companies that make CBD, the painkiller that is in both marijuana and hemp, USADA has approved it for use by Olympic athletes, including golfers. That changes everything, whether you’re an athlete or not.

Selfishly, I wanted to investigate CBD as a solution for my sore knees which are a result of a lot of lap swimming. But I’m not the only one who has a knee or an elbow or a shoulder or a back with the occasional uncomfortable twinge. I thought, if this CBD stuff keeps me from taking ibuprofen for pain and inflammation, and if it works, I’m all for it.

Here’s what I discovered.

Marijuana:  The marijuana plant contains two chemicals. One, called THC, is the part that gets people high. The other, CBD, is the painkiller and an anti-inflammatory.

Many countries and several U.S. states have already made marijuana legal, and our neighbor to the north, Canada, legalized it for their entire country last fall. When that happened, large corporations began to take stakes in various Canadian cannabis companies thinking that, in the future, they would develop products with THC in beverages.

Constellation Brands, an international company selling beer brands like Corona and Pacifica and wine brands like Mondavi and Clois de Bois, invested $4 billion in Canopy Growth. Altria, which makes Marlboro, put $1.8 billion to work in Cronos.  Molson Coors has partnered with Hexo. Heineken is going to make a beer that is made at least in part from cannabis. It is going to be called Lagunitas Hi-Fi Hops. Not one of these companies cares about the painkilling properties of the CBD. They’re embracing the high from THC.

However, many people, even those interested in the painkillers, do not want to be anyplace near marijuana. That’s okay, because the other side to this chemical revolution is the hemp plant.

Hemp: Hemp was also illegal to grow in most states until last December when the new farm bill went into effect. Any products containing CBD from hemp can now be sold anywhere in the U.S..

Hemp contains mainly CBD and almost no THC. With USADA approving CBD it for use by athletes, demand for hemp products is on the upswing.

I didn’t expect to be able to find actual CBD in a hurry, but I was pleasantly shocked to discover two companies selling CBD products at the PGA Show in Orlando last January. It’s not just one product. There are whole line-ups of capsules, lotions, creams, sticks, roll-ons, snacks, gummies and teas. There’s even CBD for pets.

More recently, CVS announced that they will soon start selling topical products – creams, roll-ons, sprays – to help people with pain problems.  They will only sell it in states where it is legal for them to do so. Walgreens has also jumped on board the CBD bandwagon.

It’s one thing to say it’s going to be sold in the future, but what if you have a problem now?  Well, that’s where the companies at the PGA Show come in handy. The first one  manufactures their own CBD products from hemp grown on their own farms.  A second one sells CBD products manufactured by a variety of companies. They also wholesale CBD.

Ben Dickerson is with MedTerra. They are headquartered in Irvine, California, but grow their own hemp in Kentucky.  They manufacture CBD gel capsules, oils and creams, and they also have pet products.

“We got involved because in 2014 the federal government was actually able to allow us to grow hemp for the ability to research it,” he explained. “What we learned was that it is very, very high in CBD.”

They were primarily interested in the painkilling and anti-inflammatory properties of the chemical. Also, according to Dickerson, they wanted to carve out the market of people who do not want to take anything from the marijuana plant.

“We’ve built a brand on trust, and that trust is ours is THC free,” Dickerson said. “There’s no chance you’re going to get high from this product.”

Their site has numerous reviews from people who have been helped, but I wanted to know if Dickerson had anyone with a first-hand experience.

"“The example I give to everybody is my dad,” Dickerson began. “He has very bad arthritis in his hands.  We first developed a synthetic (CBD) cream, but it didn’t quite have the pizzazz.  So, we looked at the formulation on it, and then we went back to an all-natural formula, and it literally changed the way my dad’s hands functioned.”"

His dad had not been able to grip a club, but after CBD, he could.

“And then when he stops using it for a day or two days, the arthritis comes roaring back,” Dickerson added.

He also gets anecdotal information Dickerson from his customer service department.

People with a variety of conditions say they have been helped by CBD, whether taking the oils or using the topicals. The kinds of problems people say have been improved include:  Tendonitis, shingles, essential tremors, endometriosis pain, insomnia, muscle spasms from stress, rheumatoid arthritis, arthritis in neck and shoulders, arthritic knee pain, fibromyalgia pain, thoracic lumbar pain, hand pain from arthritis, perimenopause symptoms, psoriasis, restless leg syndrome, PTSD anxiety, depression, chronic migraines, cluster headaches and more.

Dickerson is the one who provided information on USADA being approved for athletes.

“It was monumental,” he said about the USADA decision. “We are working with Olympic athletes right now who can use our products and not have to worry about popping (having a bad drug show up) for a drugs test.”

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MedTerra is currently working with golfers, surfers and baseball players. Dickerson said that even though USADA has given it the green light, not every sports organization has accepted it yet.

A large university is currently researching how well CBD works, and the results will be released soon.

MedTerra’s on-line business delivers to all 50 states.  They are also in 18 countries.

A second company, ShopCBDNow, offers a variety of products from several different manufacturers. They also wholesale CBD to other companies who want to make products from it.

They grow their hemp in Oregon, according to Eric Lund, the company’s sales director.

“We use state certified laboratory and manufacturing facilities to do the extraction and production and testing of our products,” Lund explained. “We started in the medical marijuana industry in the state of Oregon.”

They started a nationwide business three years ago.

Their product lineup is wide-ranging.  They have capsules, oils, topicals, bath bombs, aloe lotion for sunburn, teas, syrups, coffee and pet treats. They offer honey sticks, gummies in peach, raspberry or blackberry, and lip balms in piña colada or mint flavors.

“In the last six to eight months, we started focusing on the sports and active industry along with the health food industry,” he said. “CBD is actually is not on the list of classified substances by the anti-doping agency, so you’re allowed to use CBD.”

They have a customer list that includes golfers, baseball players and football players.

Lund said use of topicals versus capsules and oils is half and half.

“Athletes will use a lot of topicals, but a lot of people who are using it every day, who are playing golf or doing their sport every day, are going to use the oils,” he said.

Taking the oils or taking a capsule, he said, gives a faster activation time.  He said some people do both capsules or oils and topicals.

“Topicals are also like a spot treatment,” he added. “So, if you have more than one spot, you’re not going to try to rub it all over your body. The oral option is going to be better there.”

They send their products to all 50 states.

“We ship inconspicuously. It doesn’t say on it ‘We’re a box of CBD,’”  he laughed.

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There are also several companies selling CBD products on Amazon.

And as far as my knees go, I have used the topicals in several forms, and the stuff really works!  I’m not going to jump on a pogo stick or skip rope any time soon, but I don’t have knee pain.  If I get a twinge or two, I rub a little of the CBD on, and in a short time, pain is gone. My knees are still stiff from time to time, but they are relatively pain free, at least this week.  You’ll have to decide for you.