June 2019

Sativa Health Products: Is CBD the next wonder drug?

Author: Linda S. Hopkins | Photographer: M.Kat Photography

It all started with a storm and a frightened dog. Cynthia Groff first discovered the power of cannabidiol (CBD) when Hurricane Matthew blew through Hilton Head Island in October of 2016. Having safely evacuated the island and settled into an inland hotel, Groff got a call from concerned friends in Arizona. Everyone was fine—except for the dog, who was terrified, she told them.

The next day, a FedEx package containing some “special” dog biscuits arrived at the hotel. “I had a completely calm dog for the next three days,” Groff said. “No side effects. I was shocked!” It wasn’t the pup’s usual thunderstorm anxiety medicine, but CBD-infused treats that did the trick.

Her curiosity piqued, Groff began an extensive and ongoing research project that would ultimately lead the seasoned medical professional to a new, independent business of her own, specializing in high quality CBD products for people and pets. With 27 years of healthcare experience as a clinical assistant in pediatrics, pain management and family medicine practices, Groff is now the proud owner of Sativa Health Products, based on Hilton Head Island, with products available for purchase locally and online.

So, what exactly is CBD?
CBD is a natural chemical compound derived from the hemp plant which has many health benefits. These are substances that occur naturally in cannabis, and they are able to interact with the endocannabinoid system because they closely resemble chemicals that the body produces naturally, Groff explained. Although derived from the same plant, CBD is not medical marijuana nor is it a recreational drug for getting high. Hemp and marijuana are to cannabis as lemons and oranges are to citrus—two related but different plants from the same “family.”

Unlike its fellow cannabinoid THC, CBD does not have psychoactive effects. South Carolina law defines industrial hemp as any part of the plant with a THC concentration that does not exceed 0.3 percent. Anything above this percent is illegal in S.C., Groff explained. “Our products are not medical marijuana but are legal alternatives.”

However, she warns that a full-spectrum product will have a trace (as much as 0.3 percent) of THC, which can show up on drug tests. If you work for a zero-tolerance company, a complete isolate or broad-spectrum, zero-THC product would be appropriate, whereas a full-spectrum product would put you at risk.

CBD varies per concentration, so getting a reliable brand and source is key. “Knowledge is power,” Groff said, and she has made it her business to understand what she’s selling. “My company is on the Internet, too. But I am here. I am a resource, and my customers know I’m giving them accurate information,” she said. In the consultation phase, she always discusses the intended use—what results the potential client is looking for—as well as any existing medical conditions or medications he or she might be taking.

Groff’s mission, she said, is to share what she has learned and provide revolutionary products that have been tested for safety and quality. Through research and positive feedback from her customers, she has carefully chosen five providers out of the 92 companies she investigated. Products she currently carries include tinctures, capsules, vapes, topicals, edibles, and pet products, all designed to promote healthy living the natural way.

If you’re looking to get high, forget about it. When you consume CBD products, you will not experience impaired motor skills or get an uncontrollable case of the giggles or munchies. You’re more likely to experience reduced anxiety, pain relief, relaxation, and an improved mood.

Groff is both concerned and passionate about dosages and drug interactions. For sleep, she recommends 300 mg. CBD for four to six weeks. If it doesn’t work, then she might steer you towards a full-spectrum product. “You won’t get high. You won’t get stoned. But it will bring that plant into full effect,” she explained. “The whole plant is sometimes needed for certain conditions—sleep being one. Some companies are combining CBD with melatonin for a synergistic effect.”

If you are currently taking blood thinning medications, do not consider CBD without clearance from your doctor, Groff cautions. On the flip side, if you are taking gabapentin (Neurontin), Groff will tell you not to waste your money on CBD, because these drugs will counteract its positive effects. She always suggests asking your doctor. “The sad part is, most doctors have no idea. But we’ll get there. Education is going to come,” she said. “This is not like going to the drugstore and buying vitamin C. You are buying a CBD product that is going to interact in your body. You need to consult with somebody who is not going to just say, ‘Take a higher dose.’ It’s finding the right dose. More is not better. That’s not how it works, and CBD is not appropriate for everybody.”

Delivery method matters, too. Vaping works fastest but for a shorter period of time—good for anxiety or panic attacks; sublingual drops take about 30 minutes to kick in and typically last 4-5 hours; capsules and edibles take longer to get in the system, but effects can last 4-6 hours; topicals can be used every two hours as needed.

For now, Groff’s goal is less about selling and more about serving. She offers free community seminars and is available for private consultations. “You don’t have to buy from me to ask a question,” she said. “I am a medical professional, and I study CBD from a medical perspective. I’ve attended medical cannabis conferences all over the United States. My knowledge is coming from the scientists and the doctors—not just something I read on the Internet.”

As for the naysayers who would cry, “snake oil,” because of the diverse benefits of CBD being touted, Groff compares it to aspirin, invented in the 1890s, the precursor of which was found in leaves of the willow tree over 2400 years ago. “You have a headache; you take aspirin. You have pain; you take an aspirin. You want to thin your blood; you take aspirin. So, we have aspirin that we use for all these things, and nobody is saying that aspirin is snake oil.”

Could CBD be the next wonder drug? Time will tell. 

For a complimentary consultation or more information, visit www.sativahealthproducts.com or call (843) 683-3692. Watch for upcoming local seminars with Cynthia Groff, and find her at the Hilton Head Farmers Market at Honey Horn on Tuesdays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

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