Emily was taken aback early December when her pharmacist told her he would no longer be selling her coveted CBD oil products that she’d grown loyal to help her insomnia and a nagging pain in her back.
It was a decision handed down to licensed pharmacists by the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy, after a November 2018 board meeting, to be in compliance with Act 261 of the 2015 Legislature which established the state’s medical marijuana program. It focuses on the rules and federal registrations from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of the dispensing of prescribed marijuana by those holding state-controlled substance licenses – a licensing not required by retailers.
If you’re new to CBD, it has gained popularity as an over-the-counter medical supplement said to help everything from soreness to certain side effects of cancer. It’s a chemical compound that is derived from the mature stalks of the hemp plant and has been zealously appearing in specialty retail shops and nutrition stores like Drug Emporium, where as of this writing it is still being sold.
A short botany lesson may shed some light. Both hemp and marijuana come from the Cannabis plant family, but they are two different plants. Marijuana is a variety of cannabis grown for its high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical responsible for its psychoactive effects that gives that “high” feeling. Hemp is a variety of cannabis grown for its low THC levels, 0.3% or less, and high medicinal properties. After the products go through certified extraction and highly-regulated purification processes they contain no THC, which still makes it legal for stores to carry it.
The reason for CBD’s broad appeal is that, from all indications, it seems to work. CBD has been found to have analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety properties and a raft of other benefits without any psychoactive effects.
Certain seizures in children have been known to benefit from CBD. Marinol and Epidiolex have been approved by the federal Food & Drug Administration (FDA) as prescription drug products to treat two serious and rare forms of epilepsy in children: Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome and Dravet Syndrome. These can still be gotten from the pharmacy.
Melodie Knapp, co-owner of Emerge in Lafayette, is one of many hoping toshift the perception of hemp. Selling the CBD products for the past five months, she’s seen its benefits first hand.
“Everyone is different; for some it works like an extra-strength Tylenol, says Knapp, “it might take 30 minutes to feel better. It’s a building process; taking it on a regular basis allows the body to maintain and sustain its balance - like building muscles. The body becomes more adept to handling what comes your way. CBD can be used as a preventive option or post treatment that naturally boost our immune system without creating the imbalance that is often a result of combining medications.”
With any one of a number of applications, CBD can be added to food, dropped into water bottles, placed under the tongue or rubbed on the skin. The products are available in a range of applications including tinctures, topicals, vaporizers, vape pens, transdermal patches and as infused edibles – such as CBD gummies. There are specific products for specific ailments. If you’re coming down with a cold or the flu, CBD hemp extract tincture relieves symptoms, and Knapp recommends the OVA muscle rub for sore joints. So safe is its use that CBD products can be taken every day, multiple times a day.
One Emerge customer who suffered from Parkinson’s Disease was trying to control his tremors in the hopes of confidently holding his first grand baby, who was on the way. After trying several unsuccessful treatments, he began using CBD extract tincture for a month, in conjunction with his medication, and reported the shakes had visibility diminished.
In the last month, Knapp has used the muscle rub on her year-old daughter to relieve her teething pain. “It just takes a very small amount to work – one pass of the finger on the jaw,” she says.
While there are no known serious side effects of CBD, it can interfere with certain medications making them less effective, so check with your pharmacist.
Regardless, CBD’s safety, tolerability and effectiveness would appear to keep its fans moving forward with confidence.