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THE GREEN CURE: Is CBD the 'vitamin of life?'

Is CBD the miracle cure? News 3 looks at why it's growing in popularity and whether or not it reall works. (KSNV)

Some people call it their vitamin of life. Others, just call it CBD.

“I really believe that this is the most important thing we sell in our job,” Brenda Gunsalles said.

Gunsalles is the owner of Sahara Wellness, a marijuana dispensary in Las Vegas. Lately, she’s noticed more and more people are headed to the store to either purchase or inquire about CBD.

“Since we’ve been open, we’ve been carrying CBD products,” Gunsalles said. “That’s probably the most popular right now, because it doesn’t have the psychedelic effect on people.”

CBD is short for Cannabidiol, and it’s a cannabis compound that comes from both marijuana and hemp. However, it does not produce the same psychoactive effects that its close cousin THC does. When it comes from industrial hemp plants, it could only have trace amounts of THC, as the cannabis plant can only contain up to 0.3% THC.

“You do not get high, at all,” Carina Robinson said. “I call it my vitamin of life.”

Robinson says she uses CBD every day to help with a few medical conditions. Through her experience, she says CBD has worked better than several other medications she has tried.

"I use CBD for inflammation, pain management, mood enhancement, and also relieving the aches and pains from arthritis,” she said.

Robert Cohen is also a believer in the power of CBD.

"You don't have to be high to feel better,” he said.

Cohen’s company, Cohen Medical Centers, works with patients to figure out how CBD might help them out with a variety of medical conditions.

"Anecdotally, we know it does a myriad of things,” Cohen said. “But, scientifically, there are no peer-reviewed studies or things like that they want to see before you can definitely say that it helps with Diabetes, that it helps with pain, or helps with inflammation."

In summer of 2018, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved a prescription cannabidiol derived from marijuana for the first time. It’s called Epidiolex, and it’s used to treat seizures that are associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, which are two severe and rare forms of epilepsy.

A World Health Organization report says: “There is also evidence that CBD may be a useful treatment for a number of other medical conditions. However, this research is considerably less advanced than for treatment of epilepsy.”

With time, that could begin to change. Late in 2018, Congress passed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, known as the Farm Bill. A part of the new legislation legalized the sale and cultivation of hemp on a federal level.

In response to the new legislation, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., offered an in-depth statement regarding how this affects the FDA. One paragraph reads,

“In view of the proliferation of products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived substances, the FDA will advance new steps to better define our public health obligations in this area. We’ll also continue to closely scrutinize products that could pose risks to consumers. Where we believe consumers are being put at risk, the FDA will warn consumers and take enforcement actions.”

Cohen says there is still a lot to learn, but he believes CBD can and does help out with “a myriad” of medical conditions.

“Most people come in here and say one thing: I’m really interested in using the medicine, but I don’t want to get high,” Cohen said. “It’s a lot to learn, the learning curve is like this [steep]. But once you get it, you get relief and you feel better. You don’t have to be high to feel better.”

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