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Phar­ma­cist sheds light on CBD oils' benefits, uses

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BY Lindell John Kay
Rocky Mount Telegram

Friday, January 11, 2019

ROCKY MOUNT — A pharmacist is seeking to educate eastern North Carolina residents on uses and benefits of cannabidiol, an oil recently made legal with the passage of the U.S. Farm Bill.

“CBD will not make you high. It has more anti-inflammatory, pain relieving, immunomodulating and anti-anxiety properties,” said Patrick Ignacio, pharmacy manager at Ward Specialty Pharmacy in Rocky Mount.

Cannabidiol, or CBD oil, has been used to treat pain, insomnia, nausea, Crohn’s disease, arthritis, diabetes, PTSD, depression, anxiety, epilepsy, asthma, addiction, migraines and cancer.

“Hemp is the same species as marijuana but with some genetic tweaking and is totally different in terms of structures,” Ignacio said.

Prior to the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp was considered a Schedule I controlled substance along with marijuana.

“Unlike the recreational drug, though, hemp plants contain low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical responsible for the popular high,” Ignacio said. “Instead, hemp has high concentrations of more than 100 cannabinoids and about 300 terpenes that have a variety of benefits for consumers.”

The Farm Bill pulls regulation of the hemp industry from the Drug Enforcement Agency and puts farmers and manufacturers under the purview of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“Not only will that bolster American production of the cash crop, but it also will remove the ‘wild west’ atmosphere of CBD products and spur more oversight that could protect consumers from incidents such as a 2017 incident in Utah that poisoned more than 50 people who took a fake CBD oil product, suffering from hallucinations, seizures and even loss of consciousness,” Ignacio said, urging customers to seek out quality products from companies following good manufacturing practices and using third-party laboratories for testing that is lot-specific to a product.

“Unlike when comparing generic medications to name brands, currently there is no regulatory control that ensures patients are receiving comparable products while saving money,” Ignacio said.

A product produced by Innovative AgriProducts LLC in Asheboro recently was seized by Virginia authorities after testing revealed the supposed hemp flowers were actually pure marijuana.

Ignacio said not only does a misidentified product pose a physical risk to consumers unaware of the possible effects, folks who fall victim to such a product could get arrested and charged with possession of marijuana.

And while hemp-based CBD products are required to have less than 0.3 percent THC, buying substandard products could also cause consumers to test positive for marijuana.

“CBD products are widely available now, but not all staff is knowledgeable about the products they are selling,” Ignacio said.

Ignacio said he’s hopeful the publication as well as educational presentations he’s conducting across the region will make local residents informed consumers.

“For those that are looking for an alternative to traditional prescriptions and they feel this may help them, it is a good thing to try,” Ignacio said. “Whether they are taking medicine for pain, anxiety, depression or many other conditions, CBD can be a good alternative.”

To help inform the public, Ignacio put together a four-page educational publication, titled the CBD Buzz. Copies are available at the pharmacy.

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