No, It’s Not Weed

Its’ CBD

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No, It’s Not Weed

Isabella Setudeh-Nejad/Talon

Isabella Setudeh-Nejad/Talon

Isabella Setudeh-Nejad/Talon

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CBD seems to be everywhere in the news recently, but does it deserve the attention? Positive or negative opinions aside, the product is a bit of a mystery in its infancy of public use. However, CBD manufacturers’ claim of positive impacts on health and industry potential has people wondering what it can do.

Last year, the cannabis industry was valued at approximately $390 million. Cannabidiol, or CBD, one of the active ingredients in cannabis plants, and the main medicinal component of the marijuana and hemp plants, can be found in a variety of products including oils, baked goods, pills and even beverages. 

Predictions for this industry see the worth going up to $20 billion by the year 2024. That almost triples the industry’s value. 

Although CBD is present in the marijuana plant, it does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol also known as THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

“We get people in on a daily basis [to an extent] that is still a concern, [saying], ‘Will CBD get me high?’ No, CBD will not get you high,” Your CBD Store owner Lauren Lerch said. “People have the tendency to think that because it is derived from hemp, which is a strain of the same plant which marijuana comes from. I think a lot of people still think it’s the same product, and it’s not — they’re two different plants.”

Lerch addressed other potential uses for CBD as well.

“Cannabidiol is an anti-inflammatory that also helps regulate the mood,” said Lerch. “A lot of people use it for pain relief, as well as for anxiety or sleep.”

Ailments like arthritis and multiple sclerosis, which currently may require prescription opioids or steroids to treat, could possibly be treated by cannabidiol medication. Replacing the highly addictive opioid with CBD, which contains no addictive properties, could help combat the opioid epidemic.

However, with all its upsides, CBD is not without any side effects. According to Harvard Health Publishing, some of these effects can include nausea, fatigue and irritability. There are also medication interactions that could have negative effects with drugs such as anticoagulants or blood thinners.

“CBD can lower blood pressure, so it is very positive for a large amount of the world, but if you do have low blood pressure it is very important that you monitor it and work with your physician,” Lerch said. 

The growing demand for CBD is in part being met by Ventura County, which has been issuing permits to grow four thousand acres of hemp. According to Agricultural Commissioner Edmund Williams, “Ventura County could [potentially] be ranked in the top three counties for hemp production.” 

The fields, bearing signs saying “NO THC” and “NOT MARIJUANA,” can produce $60,000 per acre before overhead costs. Williams predicts $100 million in profit in 2019 and if all 4,000 recently issued acres of hemp fields produce the maximum predicted profit, the hemp plants could be worth over $200 million.

In addition to industry claims that CBD can relieve pain, in 2018, the US Food and Drug Administration approved the use of a CBD oral solution called Epidiolex to treat two rare forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.

This is the first FDA-approved drug that contains a purified drug substance derived from marijuana. It is also the first FDA approval of a drug for the treatment of patients with Dravet syndrome,” the FDA wrote in a press announcement on June 25, 2018.

Epidiolex is approved for use in children 2 years or older but the legal age to purchase over-the-counter CBD products is 18. According to Lerch, she adheres strictly to the law and would not sell to anyone under that age, though “[the store has] several customers that shop for their own kids.”

Although young kids and teens may use CBD for medicinal purposes, it is not allowed on school campuses.

“We are in a position to not know exactly what it is,” Assistant Principal Jason Meskis said. “[With] any kind of medication, you would need to register it in the office.”

According to Lerch, she does not believe that it should be allowed on school campuses much like how any other medication is prohibited on school campuses besides those that are registered through the office.

All medications must be registered and approved through the front office for safety reasons. According to Mesksis, it is important to know what medications students are taking to make sure that they aren’t harming themselves. It would also help in case of any sort of emergency to know what drugs are in someone’s system to prevent any potentially harmful drug interactions.

As stated earlier by Lerch, a known side effect of CBD is its propensity to lower blood pressure. If it was unknown that a student had CBD in their system, any medication that lowers blood pressure like an anticoagulant or a blood thinner could cause problems when taken.

According to Lerch, as the industry grows it is important that any CBD shoppers know what they are buying.

“If it’s organic that’s really important … if there is someone who is sick or ill a lot of those little things [pesticides] could be very harmful,” said Lerch.

Despite the purportedly endless benefits of CBD, it is still a new product. This interesting ingredient is building its promise as a profitable industry. Still, as a plant and a healing agent, it has much more room to grow.