New CBD Regulations Empower Seniors
Apr 04, 2020 12:08PM
By Nancy DeVault
From beauty products to dog treats, hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) is now a multi-billion-dollar industry, thanks to the demand for non-pharmaceutical alternatives. CBD products in Florida were being sold without governmental oversight. But in January, rules set by the commissioner of agriculture and consumer services took effect to ensure consumer safety with intent to hold manufacturers, processors, distributors and retailers accountable. This quality-control move follows the passage of the 2018 federal Farm Bill that legalized industrial use of hemp, removed it from the controlled substances list and, afforded consumers more purchasing power confidence.
“People have become a lot more comfortable with using it,” says Florida’s Director of Cannabis Holly Bell, especially among the boomer generation. That’s because CBD aids chronic pain and other conditions associated with aging, according to Registered Pharmacist Turner Davis, who serves as COO of Medical Marijuana Treatment Clinics of Florida (MMTC).
“Seniors are simply looking for a product that can improve their symptoms without the brutal side effects that come with so many traditional pharmaceutical products,” says Davis. “The quest for a better quality of life is the key driver of both CBD and medical marijuana patients.” With medicinal and recreational cannabis laws varying by state, some feel the industry remains hazy.
“Marijuana and hemp are related, basically sister plants, but they are very different,” says Dr. Gene Stewart, of Sunshine Global Health, a producer of hemp, marijuana and nutritional supplements. There are more than 70 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, of which CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are most well-known. Hemp-based CBD is a non-euphoric compound with less than 0.3 percent THC content; whereas marijuana typically measures at or above 20 percent. Hemp can be used for textiles, automotive, furniture, food, paper, construction materials and more.
Retailers now need a $650 permit to sell CBD, and also comply with labeling and inspection standards. “We actually are going out and pulling samples from shelves to test and make sure that they are compliant with labeling, and that they don’t have heavy metal contaminants in their products that could harm consumers,” Bell says of statewide enforcement. Labels must include an expiration date and a scannable barcode linked to a certificate of analysis issued by an independent testing laboratory—basically a seal of approval for CBD products.
CBD previously fell into a gray area of U.S. Food and Drug Administration parameters which, resulted in fraudulent items containing less CBD extract than stated and other mislabeling, as well as the presence of pesticides. Sunshine Global Health says it welcomes stricter requirements to combat illegitimate companies and merchandise. The company is even participating in clinical trials to better understand consumer needs, use and outcomes.
Product choice isn’t one-size-fits-all, so, Bell advises consumers to talk with their physicians, retail staff and patient advocates. Armed with laboratory test findings gathered at Sunshine Global Health’s laboratory, Stewart says their product specialists educate consumers via demos at partnering retail stores. The company concentrates on Cavinol, a full-spectrum hemp extract blended with a unique formulation of added terpenes and cannabinoids. “We sometimes recommend taking the Cavinol Booster drops and the application of our topical salve. This is a great combination for back, joint and other discomfort relating to aging,” Stewart shares.
Despite comprising less than 15 percent of the population, seniors are prescribed more than one-third of all prescription drugs in America, according to the National Council for Aging Care, which suggests cannabis as a convenient and healthier alternative. Findings published by the National Institute of Health cite CBD as a potential treatment for acne, anxiety, ALS, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, blood pressure, chemotherapy-related side effects, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, Parkinson’s and seizures.
As sales are proving, developing research and regulations have empowered seniors to drop their prejudices, because cannabis is no longer just the smokable euphoric drug of choice. Seniors may prefer to use CBD in other forms, too, like oils, tinctures, edibles, oral sprays and balms/topicals.
Bell cautions that less than 0.3 percent THC is not zero, so CBD can cause a positive drug test result. For those concerned about workplace drug testing, Davis says obtaining a Florida Medical Marijuana Card may be wise. Medical marijuana dispensaries do carry low-THC CBD, in addition to higher-THC products.
MMTC hosts free CannaChats where the public can gain insight directly from dispensary educators, advocates and patients. This month, two sessions will be held at Smile Awhile Hemporium, in Lady Lake − CannaChat: Cannabis & Alzheimer’s Disease on April 10, and CannaChat: Cannabis & Glaucoma on April 20. Additionally, FDACS fields questions via email at [email protected].
For more information, visit FDACS.gov/Cannabis-Hemp, MMTCFL.com and SunshineGlobalHealth.com. Sunshine Global Health products are available at B-Healthy, in Ocala, Fresh Start Nutrition, in Live Oak, Happy Garden Health Food Market, in Chiefland, and Sunflower Health Foods, in Gainesville and Lady Lake.