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CBD, marijuana and Georgia 

Local businesses tackle confusion

A GROUP congregated at Brighter Day Natural Foods recently, attending a presentation to learn the uses of CBD.

Immensely popular now that it’s legal in all 50 states, CBD has been reported to treat a number of conditions like seizures, anxiety, insomnia and inflammation.

But what is the difference between medical marijuana and CBD and how can it be used safely?

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Georgia’s Laws

Governor Brian Kemp made news recently when he signed Georgia’s medical marijuana bill, allowing the regulated growing, production and purchase in the state of low-potency medical marijuana oil for users that could benefit.

The final passage of the law by Kemp and the state legislature closed a loophole for patients in Georgia, who were allowed to use and possess the cannabis for help with pre-existing conditions like cancer, Epilepsy, Parkinson’s Disease and more, but couldn’t legally purchase the product.

For families already coping with disease, it made access to medical marijuana legal instead of forcing them to illegally import products into the state.

Medical marijuana is different from the CBD found in stores across the region. Medical marijuana oil and CBD oil are both sourced from the cannabis plant, but with completely different strains.

CBD, which stands for cannabidiol, is derived from the hemp plant which allows the product to have very low tetrahydrocannibinol, or THC content.

It can also be created by simply removing THC from a drug plant, though this isn’t legal for Georgia unless it falls into the criteria set by the 2018 Farm Bill.

THC is the substance found in cannabis that causes the high, or psychoactive effect. The drug strain of cannabis is used to extract oil with a large concentration of THC. This is the oil used in states that have legalized marijuana fully.

While CBD has no psychoactive effects, there is still a minimal amount of THC. The law is precise. CBD can only be sold in Georgia that contains less than 0.3% THC.

Employees that have drug screens have a small chance of testing positive for THC if they use CBD in large amounts, but there isn’t a lot of research into how CBD affects drug testing. A positive result, in preliminary tests, seems to be rare, but still remains a possibility.

The 2018 Hemp Farming Act legalized CBD that is derived from hemp products at the federal level.

Helping with Health

Peter Brodhead, co-owner of Brighter Day, is known around Savannah as an expert on natural supplements and products to assist with health. He talks to customers curious about the benefits of CBD primarily for pain, anxiety, sleep, focus, GI tract problems like irritable bowel syndrome and inflammation.

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At the recent presentation, Brodhead and his store hosted Grant Meadows, Principal and Sales Director of Root Down Naturals, a distributor of CBD from Colorado-based Charlotte’s Web.

The brand was recently named by the U.S. Hemp Authority as a high quality hemp producer after passing a certification process. Grant fielded questions about the difference between CBD and marijuana, the research on health benefits and the scientific breakdown of CBD.”

Helping people understand that the body has a natural system of receptor sites that are responsible for keeping balance (homeostasis) and that nourishing that system can have all kinds of benefits, and is totally safe and natural, is what we’re here for,” Meadows says.

After the presentation, sales of Charlotte’s Web’s products were brisk. Brodhead already has plans for another event to inform his customers.

On June 6 at 7:30 p.m., Brighter Day will open after hours to host Jason Miller, Lac.DACM, MAcOM, CH, CAK. Jason will share information from his work managing cancer and chronic disease in his private clinic, Jade Mountain Medicine, in Ashland, Oregon. He is a frequent speaker at major botanical medicine conferences around the United States.

Brodhead thinks the more information, the better for a new product as popular as CBD.

“Education is huge - there are so many companies and products coming out in the marketplace from 7-11’s, head shops, multi-level marketing that people need to fully understand what they need to look for in a product,” Brodhead says. “Isolated CBD has a much more limited value versus the full spectrum products.”

Charlotte’s Web offers full-spectrum CBD products, made from the whole plant containing other natural cannabinoids which aid health.

For example, full-spectrum CBD may also contain CBCA which treats fungal infections or CBG which has been found to promote bone growth. CBD isolate is still a beneficial product that can eliminate possible reactions from other cannabinoids.

Early research does seem to indicate that full-spectrum products can bring more relief for symptoms of pain and inflammation.

It would be impossible to list all the health conditions that CBD has the possibility to help. Information online can be confusing or overwhelming.

Studies have been launched to explore help with addictions, therapy for Alzheimer’s, reduction of anxiety, cancer cell death, relief from fibromyalgia and PTSD treatment, just to name a few.

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While a discussion with a physician is recommended, solutions from CBD are being widely explored. Meadows gets feedback from customers using his products.

“Hemp can support a healthy mood, help us deal better with stress, help with anxiety and sleep and help with inflammation and pain signaling in the body,” Meadows says. “Those are the common reasons people are using CBD products. And they’re getting the benefit they are looking for.”

Mary Jane’s CBD Dispensary, on Victory Drive, is finding the same results from customers that are interested in the health aspect of CBD.

Garrett Olano, in charge of social media and communications outreach for Mary Jane’s, sees a mix in the store.

“We have people who come in with a general knowledge of CBD and know what they are looking for,” he says.

“We have other customers that come in out of curiosity and learn about CBD right there. The testimonials we get from customers say they’ve reduced medication or received help from pain.”

Sourcing Safely

Both Meadows and Brodhead recommend sourcing CBD from reputable companies that are transparent about their growing practices and levels that the CBD contains.

Charlotte’s Web is one of several manufacturers that use organic growing methods on their farm. Meadows believes they have the best of methods.

“Charlotte’s Web is safe and effective - there is a decade of research and genetics behind their plants and their products give proven results,” Meadows says. “We test every plant and bottle to make sure everything is right and consistent batch to batch.”

For some quality CBD companies, lab reports are available with information about the particular batch. Labels will report the amount of CBD in milligrams, whether the product is full-spectrum or isolate and the other cannabinoids present in the formula.

Other ingredients may be added, like a carrier oil which has the CBD diluted in it or flavor.

The Bottom Line

CBD is considered part of the country’s “green rush” — the opportunity to make money on a new market of products that are highly desirable for the consumer.

Well-known business people are recommending cannabis stocks. Celebrities have formed partnerships with companies that make everything from CBD pet products to CBD water.

The market is expected to grow to $2.1 billion in consumer sales by 2020, which is a 700% increase since 2016. Without standard regulations, such an explosion can pose a risk for the consumer.

With education and careful attention to information on the product and the business practices behind it, purchasers can stay safe in their use of CBD.

Jason Miller of Jade Mountain Medicine will speak at Brighter Day Natural Foods, June 6 at 7:30 p.m.

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Jessica Farthing

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