CBD: Natural cure or cause for concern?

CBD: Natural cure or cause for concern?
CBD (Source: KAIT-TV)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - CBD is being seen more and more in the mainstream public with people praising it for providing relief for a wide variety of health issues.

CBD stands for cannabidiol.

According to Harvard Health Publishing, CBD is a component of cannabis/marijuana and by itself does not induce a "high."

When Misty Hyde first heard about CBD, she thought it was just a fad, but after serious back surgery, she became a believer.

Misty Hyde discussing how CBD has helped her following back surgery.
Misty Hyde discussing how CBD has helped her following back surgery. (Source: KAIT-TV)

"You only get pain meds for three times a day,” Hyde said. “There are 24 hours in a day. So, that would leave 12 hours without anything. I was desperate.”

She decided to try to CBD as a more natural approach.

“Mine was a lot of nerve damage, but I could tell instantly after about 15 or 20 minutes that it really took the edge off,” Hyde said.

“Natural doesn’t always mean safe,” said Dr. Shane Speights, dean of the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University.

Some in the medical profession, like Speights, are cautious about getting behind CBD, especially when it comes to pain management.

Dr. Shane Speights discusses his concerns regarding the use of CBD.
Dr. Shane Speights discusses his concerns regarding the use of CBD. (Source: KAIT-TV)

“My concern would be that we don’t want to trade one problem for another,” Speights said. “And so, we should wait as more research comes out. As it catches up, as we can see truly what the outcomes are with medications like CBD and other medications that are out there that are being touted as uses of pain management or pain medications. We should do the studies and do the research. We should feel good that when we prescribe medications they are safe and effective for all patients.”

Speights also said there are still a lot of unknowns when it comes to CBD and its addictive qualities.

“We’re still early in that research right now,” Speights said. “It’s not even something that I feel comfortable answering.”

When it comes to safety and purity, the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate CBD because it is not listed as a medication.

“Herbal therapy, any supplement, anything like that that you could get over-the-counter, through mail order or online, it’s always going to fall to buyer beware,” Speights said. “There’s not always a guarantee to what you’re getting. We have done studies to look at actually the percentage of CBD in some of these compounds. Generally, about 25% or so of the labeling is incorrect in terms of what they are receiving.”

Zach Slater, co-founder of Shaman’s Reach Incorporated, said it is something he has seen first-hand.

Zach Slater, co-founder of Shaman's Reach, Inc., showing Amanda Hanson the variety of CBD products available to consumers.
Zach Slater, co-founder of Shaman's Reach, Inc., showing Amanda Hanson the variety of CBD products available to consumers. (Source: KAIT-TV)

“There are several products that claim to be sold under the guise of CBD that are not CBD products,” Slater said.

He told Region 8 News that they try to hold other CBD vendors accountable.

“Having them tested, they only contain a fraction of a percent of CBD, and they are getting people high, which is incapable. CBD is incapable of that,” Slater said. “So there’s either THC in those products or a synthetic cannabinoid doing that."

Slater said those companies give CBD a bad name.

“People don’t get high from these products,” Slater said. “People find benefits to these products and a healthier way of life.”

According to Slater, that is why they test their products and display the lab results inside their various retail stores, like Emerald Triangle.

A worker at Emerald Triangle.
A worker at Emerald Triangle. (Source: KAIT-TV)

"We can’t say that this treats anything, but we know that through the research and what we’ve seen in consumers’ and people’s stories and studies that we found on the National Institute of Health and Medicine that it does help with certain conditions,” Slater said.

Inside Shaman’s Reach Incorporated, Slater said they implement CBD into various applications with other natural ingredients.

"Some of these ingredients have been known for 10,000 years to relieve inflammation, along with CBD,” Slater explained. “So when you add all those things together, you’re looking at a pretty potent way to alleviate inflammation and pain.”

Slater said one of the most frequently asked questions by people is will I fail a drug test.

“In general, that’s hard for us to say,” Slater said. “Our experience thus far, we’ve had no positive results for a drug test.” Their CBD products are all labeled with a disclaimer that states:

This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any illness or disease. This product has not been evaluated by the FDA. Warning: consult your doctor or pharmacist about drug interactions, health concerns, or conditions about taking this product (Not FDA approved).

Shaman's Reach, Inc. crafts their own CBD products.
Shaman's Reach, Inc. crafts their own CBD products. (Source: KAIT-TV)

“We require that a patron be 18-years-old,” Slater said. “If they want to serve that to their family that is up to them. Since this is a vape shop, we do establish that age limit. Where the industry is at and where the public view is at, that’s probably a good thing. Especially while there are some iffy products being sold over-the-counter in some shops, that is definitely a good thing.”

Slater does see a need for quality assurance.

“Definitely manufacturer standards and accountability that needs to be had for a manufacturer,” Slater said.

CBD is legal in all 50 states, but restrictions vary.

Information from procon.org cites 17 states with laws specifically about CBD that includes Missouri and Tennessee, but not Arkansas.

The Food and Drug Administration has only approved one specific CBD medication to treat seizures in two rare forms of pediatric epilepsy.

Outside of that, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. says more research is still needed to figure out if active chemical compounds in marijuana, like CBD, are safe and effective for medical use.

Doctor Speights agreed.

“When we talk about research, we’re talking about using a medication and giving it to a large number of people and then giving a sugar pill to a large number of people and looking at outcomes, looking at side effects, looking at positive benefits that the medication may have, looking at the outcomes we may not have expected. That type of research is just now coming out, and we’re still very early in our stages of research for CBD.”

The FDA has already made an effort to move forward with that goal.

Slater believes there has already been a large volume of research on an international level.

“There could always be more research to be done sure, but there’s research there,” Slater said. “We do have several physicians that do recommend that their patients try CBD nurses, doctors, physical therapist.”

After seeing her own success with CBD, Misty Hyde ultimately consulted her doctor. “He said whatever works,” Hyde said. “As long as I have the pain, I’m going to keep using it.”

Dr. Speights said with any kind of alternative treatment, it’s always important to consult your doctor, do your homework, and figure out what is the best option for you.

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