Golfer Rory McIlroy says he is paranoid at the prospect of one day failing a drugs test following the three-month ban imposed on US pro Matt Every for taking medicinal cannabis.
The 30-year-old former world number one was addressing a press conference ahead of the Zozo Championship in Japan today when he was asked about the suspension.
American Every was booted off the PGA Tour after failing a drugs test, despite taking medical cannabis prescribed from his home state of Florida where it is entirely legal.
Although marijuana is prohibited on the PGA-approved World Anti-Doping Agency list of illegal substances, cannabis derivatives like CBD were last year approved as permitted. However, CBD use by professional golfers comes with the warning that many products have traces of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the psychoactive cannabinoid which remains a banned substance.
Many athletes throughout the world have turned to CBD as a natural alternative to opioid painkillers or as a recovery aid. But it looks like Northern Ireland’s McIlroy won’t be joining their ranks any time soon.
“I’m very aware of the banned substance list,” he explained in Japan earlier today.
“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.
“It’s tough because I take a very strong stance on performance-enhancing drugs or banned substances.”
The three-times PGA Tour Player of the Year, who also spent 95 weeks at the top of the official world golf rankings, added that he was simply too conservative on almost every level to even risk taking CBD.
“I wouldn’t be comfortable taking CBD oil,” he explained.
“I would be too paranoid that there would be THC in it and then that 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.
“I’m even scared to take painkillers sometimes, like an Advil, I would rather just not.”
Now in his 12th year as a professional, McIlroy opened his account today at the Narashino Country Club some way down the leader board, posting a laboured two over as Tiger Woods and Gary Woodland streaked ahead as joint leaders on six under before heavy rain forced a second-round postponement.