January 2019


Author: Becca Edwards

Cannabidiol, or CBD. It’s not pot, but it’s not, not pot—at least that is what many people think. But let’s “toke” a closer look. Marijuana contains both tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, as well as only trace amounts of CBD. When cooked or smoked, THC stimulates a psychotropic or “high” effect. Unlike THC, CBD does not produce a mind-altering response. Instead, research suggests it provides numerous medicinal benefits.

Now let’s smoke out the difference between marijuana and hemp. Hemp contains no more than 0.3 percent of THC and, unlike marijuana, a substantial amount of CBD. “A marijuana plant is a marijuana plant and a hemp plant is a hemp plant,” said Cynthia Groff, a registered nurse and owner of Sativa Health Products LLC, a retailer of “lab-tested, high-quality, zero-THC products.” “Marijuana and hemp are different strains of cannabis. When people hear cannabis, their minds go instantly to thinking about medicinal marijuana, but industrial hemp is making amazing breakthroughs.”

The hemp plant consists of a seed, a stalk, leaves and flowers. The hemp seed, which does not contain CBD, can be used to make granola, cereal, non-dairy milk and protein powder and is a great addition to smoothies since it is rich in B vitamins, magnesium and vitamin E. The oil from the hemp seeds can be used to make lubricants, ink, varnish, paint, body products, and cosmetics.

The hemp stalk and its fibers can be utilized in an array of ways. The inner hurd of the hemp stalk can be used as mulch, a chemical absorbent, insulation, and concrete. The bast fiber of the hemp stalk can be manufactured to make rope, netting, canvas, bio-composites, non-wovens, clothes, shoes and bags. And the stalk itself helps to make biofuel/ethanol, paper products, cardboard and filters. The leaves and flowers are the parts of the hemp plant from which CBD oil is extracted for medicinal purposes.

Because of its numerous uses, hemp is one of the fastest growing industries in the world right now. Getting in on the action, and thanks to the Farm Bill of 2014, South Carolina currently has 20 permitted hemp farms (each no more than 20 acres) and is expected to have a total of 40 farms in 2019 and 60 farms in 2020, making our great state one of the most hemp-hip states in the country.

This means great things, not just for our economy, but also the environment. Hemp, which literally grows like a weed, can flourish in a variety of climates and soil types (and does quite well in sandy or loamy soil like that found in the Lowcountry), in a condensed amount of space (therefore decreasing land use) and at a fast growing rate (which leads to high yields). Furthermore, hemp actually improves soil health allowing farmers to grow other food crops immediately after a hemp harvest without a fallow period. As a result, slowly and steadily you will likely see local farmers shifting from soil depleting or environmentally uncool crops to hemp, and, as I hope, to an overall reassessment of sustainability and energy and fuel efficiency. (Note: I also suspect you will see a shift from CBD products being exported from poor-practice countries like China to safer options like the good ole U-S-of-A.)

I also hope to see CBD products positively affect people’s health, as it has for Jeanne Daly and Michelle Albany. Daly’s story began when she was hit in the face with a golf club, which caused her to suffer from trigeminal neuralgia. “I had been dealing with chronic pain for so many years. At one point, I was desperate to find alternatives to pharmaceuticals. I knew that CBDs didn’t get you high, and they were a natural product, so I was more than happy to give them a try. But I wanted to purchase them from someone I could trust like Cindy Groff,” Daly said. “Cindy and I actually first talked about CBDs for my dog, who had a fear of thunderstorms. That led to a conversation with Cindy about my chronic pain issues.”

Continuing, Daly said, “CBD has helped me live a life with less pain and has given my dog relief from the fear of thunderstorms. Anyone who is experiencing a health issue like anxiety and/or chronic pain and is hesitant to try CBD, don’t be afraid to try it. It doesn’t get you high; it’s a natural product, and there’s no harm done if it doesn’t work for you.”

For Michelle Albany, her CBD story began with a chronically ill husband. “After he tried lots of different pain treatments that were not effective, I started researching CBD,” Albany said. “Unfortunately, if a kidney became available and CBD was in his system, it would disqualify him from receiving a kidney transplant. To me, this was ridiculous. But ultimately I couldn’t risk his transplant eligibility.”

Because of the anxiety most caregivers experience, and the negative side-effects of anti-anxiety medications like Xanax, Albany began to wonder if CBD would benefit her. “My daily medication controlled my anxiety during the day, but at night when I would lie down, all my worries would flood my brain. My heart would palpitate; I felt like I couldn’t breathe; my whole body would tingle kind of like restless legs syndrome, but it was both arms and both legs. If I was lucky enough to fall asleep, I didn’t stay asleep more than an hour. I was up all night,” Albany candidly explained. The first CBD sample Groff gave Albany was in a mint form. “I started with one mint at night, and it quieted my mind within 20 minutes. I fell asleep easily and I slept for four hours before waking up. I then ate another mint and was asleep until morning. It was fantastic.

“My husband then hit another bump in the road. So up bumped my anxiety again,” Albany continued. “The mints still helped at night, but during the day I would have panic attacks, so Cindy introduced me to the vape. I will never be without a vape again. It is a miracle within a pen. It works immediately and has saved me from multiple panic attacks.”

Albany’s take away: “I have recommended CBD to multiple people. For me, one of the best properties about CBD is that there are no bad side-effects. Doctors have no problem prescribing narcotics and controlled substances that then cause 18 different nasty side-effects. I don’t understand how that is okay and how CBD is frowned upon. CBD helped me control my anxiety while maintaining my ability to function. Honestly I do not know what I would do without it.”

Becca Edwards is a wellness professional, freelance writer, and owner of b.e.WELL+b.e.CREATIVE (bewellbecreative.com).

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