CBD craze

Cannabidiol is all the rage as a natural treatment for a variety of ailments, but how can you make sure you’re getting the good stuff?

Depending whom you ask, CBD oil is either the fountain of youth in a bottle or a new brand of snake oil.  But neither side can deny it’s all the rage.

While pockets of the country are enjoying the full brunt of legalized cannabis, others are fighting their FOMO with the next best thing.

CBD, which stands for cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive compound (i.e. it won’t get you high) found in the cannabis plant, and advocates say it has numerous health benefits that make it a natural alternative to prescription medication for a wide array of ailments.

The promise of a magical tonic to temper anxiety and bring an overall sense of calm has everyone from hipsters to senior citizens popping CBD-infused gummies, spiking their coffee with microdoses, or ingesting the oil orally or through vaping.

But does it work?

It’s hard to say for sure. Many users report benefits, whether being used as an anti-inflammatory additive in lotions and creams or as a natural alternative to anti-anxiety meds, but there’s little research to indicate those benefits are based in reality.

“I think it’s going to keep growing, Whenever I get an Uber and ask the driver what is CBD, like 80 percent of people still don’t know what CBD is. A lot of them have just heard of it, but they really don’t know what it is."

The few existing studies generally show the dosage of CBD needed to see success treating anxiety is in the range of 300 to 400 mg — which is 15 to 20 times the dosage found in typical retail products.

That doesn’t mean CBD is devoid of value, but it does raise the question of whether the placebo effect is helping drive the booming industry.

Nevertheless, the CBD craze persists.

Mason Habib, CEO of Mary Jane’s CBD Dispensary, doesn’t expect the industry’s growth to slow down anytime soon, in Georgia or anywhere else. Habib bought Mary Jane’s in August 2018, acquiring struggling smoke shops in Savannah and Asheville, North Carolina, and converted them to CBD dispensaries that offer a wide rang of oils, creams, edibles, and vapes, as well as CBD-infused pet products and hemp flower.

The change of course instantly revived the two stores, and Habid has since opened three stores in San Antonio with a fourth coming soon.

“I think it’s going to keep growing,” Habid said. “Whenever I get an Uber and ask the driver what is CBD, like 80 percent of people still don’t know what CBD is. A lot of them have just heard of it, but they really don’t know what it is. For that reason, I still think this industry has another one to three years of run.”

But not everyone is buying into the hype.

One of the concerns about CBD products is the lack of oversight and regulation. Similar to natural supplements found in the vitamin aisle at Walmart, the CBD industry is not being regulated by the FDA or any other agency. By law, CBD oil cannot contain more than 0.3% delta-9 THC — the psychoactive compound in cannabis, or the chemical that produces a “high” — or it is illegal. But critics say many fly-by-night operations are marketing products that haven’t been properly tested — or tested at all.

That’s why Jennifer Pfuhl, president of Blue Sky Processing in Beaufort, South Carolina, says it’s important to buy local whenever possible, or at least find a retailer who can personally vouch for the manufacturer.

“It’s really challenging because of the lack of clarity on labeling requirements,” Pfuhl said.

Reputable processors run their products through a full panel of tests — checking for pesticides, heavy metals, or other contaminants — and should be able to produce a certificate of analysis with the results. If they can’t, or if the COA only tests cannabinoid levels, that should be a red flag.

Additionally, Pfuhl suggests researching the product’s origins.

“A lot of these companies’ mission or purpose was to create a clean, safe product because they had to for their own personal health needs,” Pfuhl says, pointing to examples such as Charlotte’s Web and Palmetto Harmony, which were founded by parents who had become frustrated in their search for a reliable treatment for children with seizure disorders.


Where to buy

When shopping for CBD,
make sure to go through a reputable seller.

Kore Organic CBD
912.508.1158, koreorganic.com
Apollo Pharmacy
418 W Broughton St. Savannah, GA
912.999.6101, apollorx.care
Mary Jane’s CBD Dispensary
302 W. Victory Dr. Savannah, GA
912.349.7666, mjcbdd.com
Your CBD Store
423 US Hwy 80 W, Suite B, Pooler, GA
912.348.3353, yourcbdstoreil.com