NBC Sports’ Dustin Long caught up with Cup driver Matt Tifft to see how he is progressing after health issues last year forced him to step away from racing:
Eleven weeks [after his latest incident], [Matt] Tifft describes the Dec. 12 seizure – his second last year – in a way he admits he could not have done so a month ago. But understanding what likely led to both seizures and using a cannabidiol (CBD) product help his anxiety, Tifft says he feels much better and looks forward to two weeks before his 24th birthday when he can return to driving a street car. As for racing again? He hopes to do so but knows there’s no guarantee.
While off his diet during his honeymoon, the combination of eating foods he hadn’t – and forcing his body to process carbs and sugars it had not in some time – along with his body reacting to his workout "spiked me into the danger zone."
"My battle with this anxiety and panic attacks have gotten a lot better … (with) CBD," Tifft said of cannabidiol, a naturally occurring compound found in the resinous flower of cannabis. "It has actually been, I would say a life-changing thing for me to go from being terrified of leaving my house (to) being able to go in public when I started taking that. It’s made such a huge difference that I can function socially and go to places and do things.
Tifft said he began using a CBD product in January and felt better about 20 minutes later.
Should Tifft get a chance to race again in NASCAR, he knows he could be at a crossroads with CBD.
"If it came down to and I was cleared to race again and that was kind of the choice, I’d have to weigh out, if I go off of this can I feel I feel OK and be fine," he said. "If that’s the case, I’d be fine with doing that. I think an optimal sense if we can have something that can benefit folks but also be able to come back to racing, that’s the ideal scenario.
"It depends on the time where right now I’m excited to get my normal’s drivers license June 12 because it’s a six-month process (after the last seizure). For me, right now, honestly, driving anything other than iRacing is just far-fetched."