GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Products made with CBD have been growing more popular in the recent month; however, they have also stirred up controversy.
You can find CBD-infused products in many forms: oils, soaps, lotions, creams, bath bombs, even food.
CBD, or scientifically called cannabidiol, is one of many cannabinoids in the hemp plant.
These products recently hit store shelves after President Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill last December.
“Among other things, this new law changes certain federal authorities relating to the production and marketing of hemp, defined as ‘the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.’ These changes include removing hemp from the CSA, which means that cannabis plants and derivatives that contain no more than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis are no longer controlled substances under federal law,” the U.S. Food and Drug Administration writes on their website.
Dr. Ken Soderstrom, an associate professor with the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at ECU’s Brody School of Medicine weighed in on the safety of CBD-infused products.
“It is a drug and like any drug, it is potentially toxic and so it is something to be careful about.”
Soderstrom is currently studying the impact of CBD on central nervous system damage.
“The most typical way of administering CBD is by troche in oil under the tongue,” he said.
9OYS asked Soderstrom the potential capability of CBD getting a user “high” like marijuana.
“Cannabidiol will not get you high,” he said. “But other things that come along with it as the oils extracted may get you high and the principal among those is delta 9 THC.”
Delta 9 THC is the psychoactive cannabinoid in the cannabis plant – which in large amounts is illegal under federal and most state laws.
Soderstrom says CBD products will have some trace amounts of THC inside. Consumer grade CBD products do contain 0.3% of THC, which is allowed under FDA regulations. However, Soderstrom says that is not enough to “get you high.”
“It may have just a trace [of THC] but it will always have some measurable amount of cannabinoids that are psychoactive,” he said.
A consumer should also understand the product could also show up on a drug test.
E & S Hemp Company store owner, Michelle Edmundson says this topic is something she asks all of her clients.
“We ask people to go see their doctors, they go, they talk to their doctors, and then 90% of them come back and the doctor says it is fine and the second thing to do is you have to take a drug test?” said retail shop owner, Michelle Edmundson.
Topicals and creams can also show up as a positive result on a drug test.
“It will march right across and get into your bloodstream,” said Soderstrom.
Edmundson said she had her doubts about CBD products, yet after seeing positive results in her health she decided to open her shop in Winterville.
“I was on antidepressant medicine, no longer on any of that, don’t have to take anything to sleep anymore, my anxiety levels are down,” she said.
Many of her clients say they too have had positive experiences with it.
“I have clients that have fiber myalgia, arthritis, Hashimoto’s, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthrosis, and the CBD oil brings down that inflammation and helps their pain,” she said.
One father tells 9OYS he and his wife created their own brand of CBD oil, Active 7 Organics, for their son who suffered from seizures.
“Knowing that we were able to do it naturally for him and do it the right way, what we feel is the right way, I honestly still emotional about it because he’s thriving,” said Chris Wallace.
Now, Wallace says his son, Noah is seizure free – they credit that to CBD.
“You know he’s three and a half and he’s brilliant,” he said. “He has no issues and it’s just an amazing experience to create something and hopefully help other people as well.”
Another question of concern is – Is CBD legal?
The legal regulations surrounding CBD products are grey, says Soderstrom.
“Now it’s presumably legal at the federal level, but you have regulatory agencies like the FDA contacting distributors saying you are going too far marketing this as an effective drug.”
Oils, droplets under the tongue, and topicals are all legal according to N.C. Department of Agriculture – only if they are sold without health claims.
In 2018, the FDA approved a drug called Epidiolex. The drug is used to treat children with epilepsy. CBD is an active ingredient inside the medication.
Now the Department of Agriculture says since this form of CBD, called CBD isolate – CBD in its purest form without the addition of other cannabinoids – is in the new medication, any food product on the market with CBD isolate inside is illegal to sell.
The department also sent letters to retail shops, including Edmunson’s, informing them about the new regulations.
She says she has pulled food items with CBD isolate out of her store.
The FDA will host a public forum on May 31 outside of Washington, D.C. in Silver Spring, MD to discuss these new regulations.
They say they hope the meeting will create more effective legal pathways.