Even people who'd never touch marijuana are embracing the Cannabis compound CBD
A lot of people looking for pain relief are turning to products made from cannabis. More specifically, a cannabis 'extract' called CBD.
The chemical name is cannabidiol. Some is made from hemp. Some CBD is made from marijuana. It does not make you high. And it's catching on like wildfire.
At Diego Pellicer, a state-regulated cannabis store, owner Alejandro Canto says CBD sales are skyrocketing. Canto has had the Seattle business for about 2 years.
"When we started, our CBD sales were probably less than 5 percent. This last year alone they're well over 12 percent now, so you can see the significant growth- that it's doubling year after year," said Canto.
Producers extract CBD oil from cannabis plants- typically hemp but also marijuana- and take the intoxicating THC out of the mix.
There's increasing evidence that CBD works with your body's own chemistry to help relieve pain, insomnia, anxiety and more.
In fact, the Food and Drug Administration recently approved the first-ever prescription CBD product called Epidiolex to treat rare forms of epilepsy.
As owner of a state-regulated store, Alejandro Canto says he now has customers come in with recommendations from their physicians.
"A lot of cancer patients come in and say 'My doctor said CBD might work, what should I take?' "
But buyer beware. While the CBD sold in state-regulated cannabis stores must be tested for quality, the online CBD market has no regulation. So with some online products you have no idea what you're really getting.
"There's no regulation. There's no standardization. There's no testing going on," warned Canto. "Be cautious of what you buy online."
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that of 84 online CBD products tested, 22 contained less CBD that disclosed on the label. 36 contained more CBD than disclosed. 18 had considerable levels of undisclosed THC- which makes you high.
Earlier this year, the CDC reported that 52 people had to be treated in emergency rooms after getting poisoned by a product that was sold as CBD, but turned out to be synthetic marijuana.
Experts call the CBD industry a wild, wild West - which means customers must do their homework. Make sure the manufacturer has paid for independent quality testing by an FDA-approved testing facility, and only buy CBD from reputable retailers you know something about.