More local stores are selling products containing the compound made from marijuana or hemp plants.
Erie’s hottest elixir can be found in chiropractic offices, video stores and tucked into a corner of a Millcreek Township shopping plaza.
Cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD, is a compound derived from marijuana or hemp plants. Though it won’t make someone high, people who use CBD claim it can relieve arthritis pain, reduce anxiety and alleviate a host of other medical problems.
“My wife has been using the tincture and cream with CBD for about two months,” said Marty Dale, a Harborcreek Township man who had purchased supplies Wednesday at Your CBD Store, 5158 Peach St. “It relieves her knee pain much better than the over-the-counter stuff like Tylenol.”
The number of places that sell CBD has increased dramatically in recent months. CBD has been legal in Pennsylvania for several years but its popularity increased in 2018 when medical marijuana dispensaries were permitted to open in the state.
Your CBS Store, located in the same Peach Street plaza as an injury lawyer and a pizzeria, only sells products made with cannabidiol. They include tinctures, creams and water solubles that you add to noncarbonated drinks.
“We opened in February and our business almost tripled in March,” said Steve Schumacher, Your CBD Store owner. “We expect business to double this month.”
Retailers across the country expect the same. Sales to consumers in 2018 were estimated to reach up to $2 billion, the Cowen & Co. investment firm told the Associated Press. By 2025, retail sales could reach $16 billion.
CBD is not without controversy. Its products are supplements, not drugs, so they are not reviewed by the Food & Drug Administration. They are tested for safety but not for how well they work.
Unlike prescription drugs, a CBD cream or tincture from one manufacturer sold at one location can differ significantly from a cream or tincture made by another manufacturer sold at the same or a different store, said Rebecca Wise, Pharm. D., a pharmacist and associate professor of pharmacy practice at LECOM School of Pharmacy.
Wise said people should be especially careful with CBD products that are taken orally.
“You also don’t know how they will react with the medications you are already taking,” Wise said. “If you are taking medicine for high blood pressure, a product with CBD can have a multiplying effect and cause dangerously low blood pressure. You could pass out and fall, or get into an accident if you are driving.”
Schumacher said his store takes precautions to ensure the quality of its products and how they affect people.
Every customer is asked if they have talked with a physician about using CBD products. If they say no, they are placed in “time out” until they have discussed the matter with their doctor, Schumacher said.
“We are a franchise and we only sell one brand of products,” Schumacher said. “Their labels include a full list of ingredients and a QR code that will give them in-depth results of an analysis of the product.”
The problem is that Your CBD Store is not required by law to take those precautions and other stores that sell CBD products do not take them. At one Erie retail store, bottles of tinctures and creams sat on a shelf by the cashier alongside candies and gift cards.
That can create other problems, Schumacher said.
“Some products contain trace amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in marijuana),” Schumacher said. “It’s not enough to give you a high but it’s enough for you to fail a drug test. The customer needs to know that information before they buy the product.”
Wise said she understands that people are benefitting from taking CBD products but they need to have a talk with their pharmacist or physician before trying them for the first time.
“Get cleared medically first,” Wise said. “Then try to use the same type from the same manufacturer so that you are getting some consistency.”
David Bruce can be reached at 870-1736 or by email. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ETNbruce.
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