Into the Weeds

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CBD is the latest fad to take over the health world, but will it work for you?

The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the list of controlled substances, accelerating production of CBD and fueling what is projected to be a $22 billion industry. CBD is one of the chemical compounds found in both hemp and marijuana plants. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the primary compound that has a psychoactive effect, or high, on users. CBD has no psychoactive effects and has become increasingly popular for the treatment of pretty much every ailment imaginable, from arthritis to cancer. There has been some scientific research done regarding CBD’s benefits, but largely the results have been driven by user testimony.

But is it legal? Well, it depends where it comes from. CBD can be derived from either hemp or the marijuana plant. Hemp is legal. Marijuana is illegal on the federal level. The main difference between hemp and marijuana is the amount of THC each contains. Hemp has 0.3% THC or less, whereas marijuana can contain up to 40% THC. CBD products are legal so long as they are hemp derived and contain 0.3% or less of THC.

Dr. Michael Vaughn, a specialist at Savannah Chiropractic Center, has been exploring the use of CBD products alongside his chiropractic treatments for two years. “Two of the big things it helps are anxiety and sleep,” says Vaughn. Though studies on the subject are preliminary, evidence suggests that CBD can help boost serotonin (a chemical in the body that helps regulate mood) receptors in the brain, which decreases anxiety. If you’re less anxious, then you sleep better. As far as musculoskeletal pain goes, Vaughn says it’s really hit or miss with patients. Somepatients report less pain while others don’t feel any effects. “As a chiropractor, I have to have an open mind. I know there are alternative pathways to healthcare. I think there’s a therapeutic value to this.”

If you’re looking to hop on the CBD bandwagon, you don’t have to go far. Mary Jane’s CBD Dispensary on Victory Drive is brimming with CBD skincare, supplements, lotions, capsules, tinctures — even CBD-infused peanut butter for dogs that supposedly has a calming effect. It can be overwhelming, but the employees are knowledgeable, friendly and happy to help find the best product for you. Brighter Day Natural Foods is another good bet, offering a specially curated selection of CBD products that includes tinctures and teas. And it looks like the burgeoning agricultural hemp industry is knocking at Savannah’s door. Blue Sky Hemp CBD processing plant, a 15,000 square-foot facility, recently opened in Beaufort and is part of a growing effort to create jobs and more diverse products for consumers.