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CBD: Benefits and warnings for the cannabis product

 An array of CBD products available at Northern Specialty Health in Houghton.
An array of CBD products available at Northern Specialty Health in Houghton. (WLUC)
Published: Jul. 17, 2019 at 5:45 PM EDT
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Jane Reoch of Houghton first tried medical marijuana for help with sleep disorders and substance abuse issues.

She's since turned to cannabidiol, or CBD, because she believes it's made her feel better without the “high” feeling from marijuana use.

"As far as I can tell, it reduces pain, it reduces inflammation, it had a psychological effect, positive effect, that I'm more open to people and less afraid, I'm actually in a better mood," Reoch said.

Tyler Jenema of Peninsula Pharmacy in Marquette, said that CBD’s popularity has increased because of the beneficial effects many people claim it has.

"Often times we see people coming into the pharmacies or seeking out advice if they're otherwise being treated for anxiety or pain or depression. Those are often times the individuals that we're making recommendations for,” Jenema said.

Medical professionals warn that CBD is not a “magic cure” and that it's not right for everyone. It could have adverse effects if paired with certain medications.

"It is metabolized in your liver. So individuals who have either medications that are also metabolized in your liver, which a pharmacist or a physician would be aware of, or if you have liver disease of any sort, we would most likely want to avoid CBD or at the very least make sure that you have a very in-depth consultation on the dosages and whether or not it's safe to use,” Jenema added.

The FDA currently does not regulate CBD purity or manufacturing.

Becky Simmons of Marquette, a self-described CBD advocate who also sells CBD through an at-home business, said research is important to determine if products are true to their labels and most of all, if they're safe to consume.

"It's really the Wild West out there. It pays to do research or to get with someone that has done the research,” Simmons said.

Penny Milkey, who owns Northern Specialty Health in Houghton, said a good indicator of product safety and effectiveness is proof of third-party laboratory testing.

"You don't want to take something that has nothing in it, and you don't want to take something that can hurt you, so make sure that you ask for lab results. Then you will know there's no THC, you will know exactly what's in it,” said Milkey.

Simmons added that the first step in looking into CBD is speaking to a healthcare provider.

"I don't want people to be afraid to talk to their doctors about that. Doctors, if they're keeping up on modern times, they've also read about CBD,” Simmons said.

Simmons added that she has had positive benefits from using CBD, including less joint discomfort, better sleep quality, improved blood sugar, help in stabilizing her mood and maintaining healthy energy levels.

People like Simmons and Reoch highlight the benefits, although they've only used it for a short period of time.

"It's hard to say how it all works because it seems to be kind of a whole product that affects a lot of systems beneficially in the body,” Reoch said.

In the last part of this series, we look at the business side of the CBD industry.