Since the state of Ohio legalized cannabinoidoil (CBD) sales, stores offering the marijuana and hemp-based product have proliferated.
Now, CBD oils derived from hemp can be sold in Ohio outside the medical marijuana program, according to the State Medical Board of Ohio.
But what is CBD good for and who can use it?
Two area stores selling CBD products — Purely CBD, which has a location in Canton and opened a store in Kent at 1705 E. Main St. on Tuesday, and Seven Grains in Tallmadge — have slightly different approaches to the products.
Lance Jones, franchise owner of the Kent and Canton Purely CBD stores, and Seven Grains co-owner Gina Krieger said CBD can help a variety of conditions, including pain, anxiety and depression.
“My father is 86; he takes it every day, and it’s helped him dramatically,” Krieger said. “Other success stories are from people who come in here every day and tell us they’re down from 20 medications to taking just two after taking CBD.”
Seven Grains also includes a variety of vitamins, supplements and organic, clean food, and the CBD products take up just a small percentage of shelf space. Purely CBD sells only CBD products.
“If you get a product at somewhere like a gas station or local vape shop, you don’t know exactly what’s in that product,” Jones said. “When you get a product from Purely CBD, you know exactly what that product is.”
Jones said all the products he sells are lab-tested for THC levels before packing to ensure labels advertising “broad spectrum” or “full spectrum” CBD are accurate. “Broad spectrum” products have no THC, which is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, which is also still regulated federally. “Full spectrum” products have THC up to the federal limit of 0.3%. Using “broad spectrum” products may work better for employees subject to random drug testing, Jones said.
Jones said his broad spectrum gummies are among his most popular products. Purely CBD offers gummies, tinctures, lotions, coffee, massage oils, pet tinctures, bath bombs, capsules, water solubles and honey steaks, according to Jones. Dosages range from around 300 milligrams to 3,000 milligrams. High dosages of 1,500 and 3,000 milligrams are designed for those undergoing cancer treatment, he added.
Krieger said her products, partially because they have THC, feature smaller dosages ranging from 2 milligrams to 15 milligrams on the high end.
A matter of perspective: Two doctors’ views
Dr. Ryan Marino of University Hospitals’ Cleveland Medical Center and Dr. Glenn Copeland, chief executive officer of Toronto-based Copeland Biosciences both agree the research into the effectiveness of CBD products is not conclusive.
“This does seem to be an active area of research,” said Marino. “There have been studies that don’t show conclusive benefits. If people have a trustworthy source, there’s probably very little downside to using actual CBD itself.”
He said he views CBD products as occupying a similar space in treatment of conditions as essential oils.
“Essential oils don’t really have any scientific data that they treat any specific condition,” said Marino. ”[CBD] is definitely a very growing economic area; there’s lots of money to be made.”
While Copeland agrees there aren’t many large-scale studies demonstrating clearly the benefits of CBD oil, he said “there’s another side to medicine.”
“That’s the anecdotal side,” he said. “We’ve used many things in medicine because people told us it works” — like aspirin.
When it was discovered, he said, doctors didn’t understand why it helped with fever and blood-clotting; they just knew it did. With CBD, the situation is similar; whether there’s something about the product that helps with certain conditions or it’s a placebo effect is uncertain, but anecdotally, there’s evidence the product works. The key for him: there appears to a limited downside to using CBD, particularly in topical form.
He also said CBD use appears to work well in conjunction with other treatments, including laser therapy and high energy shock waves, and CBD with THC seems to work a bit faster than products without it.
Two CBD retailers in Tallmadge and Canton/Kent
Human resources quandary
The regulatory environment surrounding CBD makes life for company owners complicated.
Gary Pellegrino Sr., president of Natural Essentials in Aurora, said his business is a drug-free workplace, with alcohol, heroin and a variety of other drugs, including marijuana, forbidden. However, CBD and medical marijuana make things complicated for him and other business owners.
“If you test positive for THC, the first time you’re going to meet with an officer who’s going to sit down and talk about usage,” he said. “If you test positive for THC the second time around, you’re terminated.”
Because THC is detectable long after its use, Pellegrino said he waits at least 45 days after the first positive test to administer the second one.
There’s no way to determine if a positive test is due to recreational marijuana (which is illegal at the federal and state levels), medical marijuana (illegal at the federal level and legal now at the state level with a prescription) or a CBD product including THC.
Those taking medical marijuana must provide a copy of a prescription and stay home until they’re off the medication and then add 45 days, Pellegrino said. That works for employees on medical marijuana for short periods, but not for those who are treating chronic pain.
Pellegrino, who is beginning to develop two CBD products in case he’s able to sell them across state lines to major retailers, said he would like to see decisions made to legalize interstate commerce and regulate the amount of THC and CBD in products. He would also like to know clearly at what levels people taking marijuana or CBDs are impaired, similar to how blood-alcohol tests work for alcohol.
Reporter Bob Gaetjens can be reached at 330-541-9440, email@example.com or @bobgaetjens_rpc.