CBD craze hits the Capital Region: Is it safe and does it work?

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The CBD craze has hit the Capital Region.

Pharmacies, health stores, and even gas stations sell the popular products. Since the passage of the Federal Farm bill made it legal to grow hemp, which is what CBD oil is derived from, the market has been inundated with products.  

“It’s exciting actually,” Erika Fallon, the supervising pharmacist at Fallon Wellness Pharmacy, stated.

While NEWS10 ABC cameras were at the pharmacy, three customers walked in back-to-back asking about CBD, short for cannabinoids.

One local woman, Sasha Smith, was sent by her doctor.

“I have MS, and my doctor suggested trying CBD oil,” Smith explained.

“Most people come in looking for most common problem is people in pain,” Fallon said.

Smith agreed.

“I deal with a lot of nerve pain,” she said.

CBD is marketed as a natural remedy with a laundry list of health benefits, including helping with chronic pain, anxiety, and sleep. Some companies even claim it’s good for your skin.

“We know CBD on its own interacts with several receptors in the body,” Fallon explained. “It interacts with CBD receptors. It directly interacts with serotonin receptors, dopamine receptors and opioid receptors. These are all things that have to do with anxiety, sleep, depression.”

But the market of unregulated products can be overwhelming for consumers. From oils to gummies to even CBD infused honey, Fallon had some advice.

“You want to make sure you’re getting it from a reputable company. Make sure it has third party testing,” Fallon recommended.

One of those companies sprouting up right in Scotia inside of an industrial warehouse.

“We grow organic sustainable hemp,” Chad Currin, of BioSoil Farm, explained. “This is our grow facility. We have research and a development license through the New York Department of Ag and Markets.”

Currin studies the plant root to stem.

“Market is brand-new. USDA doesn’t have regulations, yet. The FDA doesn’t have regulations,” he said. “Everybody is selling it now.”

Helping this budding business grow into a $20 billion dollar industry. The plant looks and smells like marijuana because they are in the same family. But, unlike its cousin, hemp has little to no THC.

“THC is the component in medical marijuana that makes people high,” Currin explained.

Harvesting the flowers is a 16-week process.

“Then it needs to be cured. This will get sent off for processing for high quality CBD oil,” Currin added.

But he warns, if you are looking for relief in a bottle, it’s still buyer beware.

“There is a lot of really bad CBD oil out there,” he said. “In fact, a lot of fake CBD oil. You have to be careful where you get it.”

The Food and Drug Administration has issues several warning letters to makers of CBD products after testing and finding many did not contain the levels of CBD they claimed.

“The science is just beginning’ we need to understand the science,” Currin stated. “A lot of people like us need to spend time working with the plant.”

That’s why, for now, Smith is planning on following doctor’s orders.

“If it can help my disease and its natural, I am all about it,” she said.

The FDA will hold a public hearing on Friday, May 31 on the topic of CBD.  They will discuss safety and possible new laws to help regulate the market.
 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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