The staff at a Greenwood business wants to clear up myths about what they call a “persecuted plant.”
CBD Health of Indiana specializes in cannabidiol, better known as CBD, which is produced from hemp plants just like marijuana. The compound has been shown to help reduce seizures in patients with epilepsy, and anecdotal evidence points to its ability to relieve everything from anxiety to migraine headaches to arthritis pain.
But because of the plant it comes from, CBD carries a burdensome stigma with it. Up until this year, it was illegal to buy, sell or possess in Indiana.
“Its sister is marijuana. We all know that’s not legal and not good for you. But this isn’t marijuana — it has none of the psychoactive properties of the drug. So that’s what we’re trying to help people understand,” said Jim DeCamp, the CBD consultant at the business.
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Cannabidiol is now legal in Indiana. But while it is legal now, few businesses specialize in selling it.
CBD Health of Indiana opened to fill that void. The Greenwood company is one of the first businesses in the state to focus specifically on cannabidiol products. Customers can purchase everything from hemp oil supplements to concentrated hemp extract to pet treats with the oil in them.
The goal is to help educate the public about the benefits of CBD, while also ensuring that customers have access to safe products, co-owner Ron Drake said.
“The way we set this up is so we can really bring them in, sit down with them and consult them,” he said. “We want to know what their worries are, what their problems are, and then try to prescribe.”
Cannabidiol oil is a naturally occurring substance that impacts nerve receptors in the brain and the immune system.
Scientific research into the substance is scarce, though promising. A study conducted by the New York University Comprehensive Epilepsy Center on children suffering from Dravet syndrome, a rare and deadly form of epilepsy, demonstrated that CBD reduced seizures by 39 percent.
In late 2017, the World Health Organization’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence reported that CBD products have demonstrated effectiveness treating epilepsy, and may be useful for a number of other medical conditions.
The report also stated that there is no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health related problems associated with the pure use of the substance.
The issue is getting those findings to the public, DeCamp said.
“It is a product that is very new. There’s not a lot of data on it. So there are a lot of people coming up with different ways of ingesting it,” he said.
The Greenwood-based business is an extension of Drake’s personal use of CBD oil. He suffered from the lingering effects of a variety of leg injuries, including knee problems, a snapped Achilles tendon and broken bones. To deal with the pain, he was taking more and more prescription painkillers.
“It got to the point where it was making me sick. It was starting to affect the lining of my stomach, and I couldn’t help thinking what it was doing to my liver,” he said. “And I still wasn’t getting any relief.”
A friend who was living in California found out about Drake’s struggles, and sent him a product that he thought would help — one that contained CBD.
He started taking it, and within a week, he felt better than he had in years. From that point, he became a vocal proponent of cannabidiol. He would order it over the internet for family and friends, and as more and more people wanted it, he decided he’d open a store selling it.
The only catch was CBD was illegal under Indiana law. That changed in March, when legislators passed Senate Enrolled Act 52. The new law allows any person to buy, sell and possess CBD oil, as long as it meets certain labeling requirements. The product must also contain no more than 0.3 percent THC, the psychoactive substance in marijuana that makes people feel high.
“So many people have benefited from using CBD oil to treat a variety of problems like epilepsy, cancer and anxiety,” State Sen. Matt Young, who authored the bill, said in a statement. “Since we are limiting how much THC can be in the product, there is no risk for people to use this to get high. My hope with this bill is that more Hoosiers will be able to use this product to treat their ailments.”
With the legal barriers taken down, Drake opted to open in Greenwood, where he is from and where he lives.
Stepping through the doors of the small Greenwood storefront, the background noise of traffic on State Road 135 is replaced by calming instrumental music.
Display cases contain the variety of products offered at CBD Health of Indiana. All of the products essentially contain the same ingredients, with some slight tweaks. The question for customers is how they want to consume it, Drake said.
People can pick up a small bottle of hemp oil liquid, or learn about CBD packaged in capsules. Lotion containing cannabidiol oil and even airless delivery systems offer different options for people.
“When people walk in, they’re not sure, they can be really skeptical. We can sit down with them and let them know that they’re not going to get high, it’s nothing like that,” said Crystal Brown, a manager at CBD Health of Indiana.
Throughout Johnson County, CBD is available at vape shops and other outlets. The state does not require special licensing to sell it, though retailers are required to make sure their products have a code on the label that links to information regarding that specific batch of CBD.
But CBD Health of Indiana is one of the few locations in the state focused solely on the product. The company requires its suppliers to provide a report from a third-party lab, indicating the exact ingredients and in what concentrations each product has.
“We’re going to give you the most pure form of CBD product possible,” Drake said.
So far, many of CBD Health of Indiana’s customers are struggling with arthritis, though others have come to the business complaining of migraine headaches, anxiety and seizures.
“The true proof in the pudding is the second visit from the customers,” Drake said.
At a Glance
A closer look at CBD:
What is CBD? CBD, known by its full name cannabidiol, is one of more than 80 active chemicals in the marijuana plant. Unlike the main psychoactive chemical in marijuana, CBD does not produce euphoria or intoxication.
What does it do? Cannabinoids such as CBD, interact with specific receptors on cells in the body, impacting the brain and immune system primarily.
What does it help? Research has demonstrated that CBD can reduce the number of seizures that people with epilepsy experience. Other evidence has demonstrated that it can reduce anxiety and pain from conditions such as arthritis.
How do you take it? CBD oil can be taken orally in liquid form or capsules, different types of edible products, in lotions or externally on the skin or in vapor.
Is it legal? Indiana legislators passed a law in March making it legal to buy, sell and possess CBD products, as long as the products have less than .3 percent of THC, the psychoactive drug found in marijuana.
CBD Health of Indiana
A closer look at CBD Health of Indiana:
Where: 954 N. State Road 135, Greenwood
What: A business specializing in products made with CBD oil
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Closed Sunday.