CBD takes its place on shelves all over town

How do you like your CBD – in water, oil, honey, tea, vape or wax?

Or do you want to buy the seeds and grow your own?

Those are some of the many choices you have if you want to use to now-legal marijuana derivative, CBD n.

CBD is the acronym for cannabidiol, one of the many cannabinoids, or chemical compounds, found in marijuana and hemp. CBD is an extract of marijuana without the psychoactive ingredient — THC (tetrahydrocannabinol.)

CBD products are becoming common around North Platte. A new shop opened Jan. 15 and existing stores are adding more CBD products to their shelves.

In addition to CBD infused water and energy drinks, you can find CBD in pet food. You can also buy CBD that looks like marijuana, even though it is not. The similar appearance appeals to those who illegally use marijuana, and helps increase expectations that marijuana itself will be legal someday in Nebraska.

Proponents say CBD has many excellent properties – helping to aid digestion, relieve anxiety, relieve muscle aches and inflammation.

It might seem like CBD has arrived suddenly, but the products have reached the market after a lot of trials, errors and legal disputes. Two years ago, CBD was technically considered illegal because it is a derivative of cannabis (marijuana), a federally controlled substance. But since then, both the federal and state government has legalized industrial hemp — another type of non-THC marijuana. By extension, state and county attorneys have decided not to prosecute stores that distribute CBD.

Jake Johanson at Elite Lifestyles was once in the middle of that controversy. He was charged in mid-2019 with distribution of a controlled substance after selling some full-spectrum hemp oil and some Wowzer Relief Balm to an undercover buyer working for the police.

Johanson maintained his innocence all along, but the charge hung over him for several months. He said he never went to court but was offered a couple plea bargains from the county attorney’s office, which he refused.

He said it didn’t seem like the moral thing to do, to plead guilty to a crime he didn’t believe he’d committed. Eventually, the charges were dropped.

He believes it was an educational process for law enforcement, learning that CBD contained no illegal substances.

Now, liquor and convenience stores all over town carry a variety of CBD products.

The new CBD shop – A Botanical Dream — opened in mid-January at 225 E. Sixth in the Parkade Plaza downtown, next to the Tempura restaurant.

In July, the first North Platte shop dedicated to CBD opened at 115 E. Fourth — the Green Root. It is near Zen Wealth Strategies, just west of Good Life on the Bricks. The neat little shop has all kinds of CBD products.

Johanson said Elite Lifestyles has had tons of positive feedback about CBD products in the past year and a half. Customers tell him that CBD helps with disorders big and small. He said he offers most every form of CBD. other than baking flour. In keeping with the athletic nature of his business, he also sells kinesiology tape for injuries. The tape contains CBD.

Kinesiology tape is a blend of cotton and nylon, designed to mimic the skin’s elasticity so people can still use their full range of motion. The tape’s adhesive is water-resistant and strong enough to stay on for 3-5 days, even while the user works out or takes showers, according to healthline.com.

Stores also offer CBD gummies, tinctures, lotions, pain patches, bath balms, caffeine drinks and straws filled with honey that is infused with CBD. You can find vape pens and loaded pipes as well as water-soluble CBD to put in drinks and food.

At A Botanical Dream, the owner is motivated by his own experiences. He tried some salve on the back of his neck five years ago and found it relieved migraine headaches. The salve also helped relax his lower back muscles when applied there. He’s been using it since, so enthused about it that he is opening his own business.

He recommends people give it a try and draw their own conclusions.

CBD and THC works by activating cannabinoid receptors in the brain and central nervous system, according to extensive studies that were conducted in the 1990s. After 50 centuries of medicinal usage, the scientific basis of cannabis therapeutics came into better focus, the pro-cannabis publication O’Shaughnessy’s reported.

The management at A Botanical Dream is also happy to be locating downtown. They want to be a part of the revitalization there and believe customers will find it a convenient location instead of driving to the edges of the city.

One of the most popular suppliers of CBD products is Grover Family Farms in northeast Colorado. They claim their products are raised organically, in optimal Ph soil, under drip irrigation, and tested for THC content and purity. A customer can read the test results on their smart phone by snapping a photo of a QR code on the label, the company says.

Tests of THC content continue to be required. According to federal law, the THC content must be less than 0.03% for the product to be legal.

Although the controversy over CBD is quieter now than it used to be, the controversy is not over yet. On Dec. 22, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued warning letters to five companies for claiming that CBD products treat medical conditions.

The FDA does not say that CBD has no medical merit, but the FDA must approve all new human and animal drugs. Thus far, CBD is not an ingredient in food or diets that has been reviewed as a medical drug.

Therefore, CBD has not been approved as a food additive, nor does it meet the statutory definition of a dietary supplement.

It’s not clear if and when the FDA might approve CBD for such promotions. It could become a similar situation to the one Jake Johanson faced.

Johanson described the charges that he faced, which were eventually dropped, as more of an educational process than a forthright prosecution.

(This report was first published in the Bulletin’s Jan. 6 print edition.)

Top photo: Some of the crew at A Botanical Dream, a new CBD shop that just opened — from left: Melody Miller, Kendra Warner and Christina Choate. All Photos by George Lauby.

Below: Types of CBD products from shelves around town. (tap to enlarge.)

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