By Correne Martin
Cannabidoil, or CBD, is a cannabis compound extracted from the hemp plant that has shown appealing medical benefits for people seeking relief from pain, inflammation, anxiety, seizures, fatigue and other conditions. It does not trigger that feeling of being “high,” like the psychoactive cannabinoid THC does, and there is no evidence of addiction. These reasons make it an attractive supplement for a growing number of Americans, according to Tisha Trautsch, the registered nurse who led a hemp health class Jan. 29, at Café Hope in Prairie du Chien.
Particularly, since hemp was removed in September 2018 from the federal Controlled Substances Act Schedule 1 classification list, and essentially legalized nationally, Trautsch said its usage is soaring.
A few local businesses have recognized the potential advantages of selling consumable CBD products—such as oils, creams, gummy chewables and vaping devices—for which they say demand has increased dramatically over the last two months.
Café Hope and Suppz are both companies whose mission is to improve people’s quality of life. By being on the forefront of offering their customers a trusted place to purchase the latest goods, they feel they are providing a safe and natural option to help patrons lead healthier lives.
“I’d say 80 to 90 percent of my sales are to people over 50, or to people with pain,” said Suppz CEO Brent Sheckler, who owns area Suppz Gyms, including the one in Prairie du Chien, and distributes vitamin supplements from the company’s warehouse in Fennimore. “It’s just working so well for people with pain, and we’re seeing it more for people with anxiety and stress.”
Sheckler himself uses the gummies to ward off chronic back pain and he claims he’s seen mind-blowing results. “Within three weeks of starting the gummies, my pain went away,” he stated. “There’s nothing worse than chronic pain. I’ve been through narcotics and they’re terrible, with side effects. I’m all about any natural remedy.”
Sheckler shared that, even though they’re not heavily regulated by the Food and Drug Administration yet, he’s found it really easy to sell the emerging CBD products because of his positive experiences with them.
Trautsch, who uses the CBD oil primarily, said Café Hope started carrying hemp merchandise because they want to see their employees—including those with disabilities—customers and the general public become healthier and avoid huge health situations before they arise. “We all use it and we feel healthier,” she said.
Though she’s a proponent who’s done her research and experienced the results first-hand, Trautsch said she would never advise people to just go off their medications if they’re considering trying CBD products.
“Talk to your doctor if you’re thinking about this,” she urged. “Ask how it would affect your medicines, and become self-aware of your body. Write down your symptoms. Write down your goals and note when your goals are reached. Then make a choice for yourself. You are the only person who really knows your body and how you feel.”
To educate the public about hemp health, Trautsch is offering her classes at Café Hope periodically. The next ones are Feb. 12 and Feb. 26, at both 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Hemp originally came from Central Asia around 2800 BC. It is derived from the cannabis sativa plant and contains cannabinoids commonly known as CBD, THC and CBG. Trautsch explained that hemp is high in CBD and low in THC—less than 0.3 percent, in fact. (On the contrary, the more widely illegal drug, marijuana, is high in THC and low in CBD.)
When first discovered, hemp was utilized for medicine, clothing, food, seed, rope and paper, among other necessities. Queen Victoria used it to treat menstrual cramps in the 1800s. Western doctors utilized it in the 19th Century to treat pain, according to Trautsch’s research. It was also a legitimate medicine dispensed in pharmacies and could be ordered from the Sears Roebuck catalogue. However, the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 made all cannabis illegal, including hemp. The 1970s Controlled Substance Act classified cannabis and all its derivatives as Schedule 1 substances, including drugs like heroin, LSD, ecstasy, methaqualone and peyote. These substances are considered to have “no accepted medical use” and a high potential for abuse.
“Basically, hemp was stuck in the middle of a political war and forgotten as a health aide,” Trautsch informed her most recent class.
In the 1990s, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, of Israel, discovered the human endocannabinoid (ECS) system and the fact that it keeps the body in balance by telling it to “chill out” when overstressed.
“CBD can supplement a depleted ECS system by working to ease the unfriendly symptoms in the body with the goal to help the body achieve homeostasis, or balance,” Trautsch noted. “Just like our body produces calcium, and some people take calcium supplements, we can use CBD in the same way.”
A number of studies over the past 10 years have proven some of the benefits people may realize by using CBD. Here are a few Trautsch shared:
1) a 2008 study at Italian Piemonte University proved that cannabinoids help the immune system to fight bacteria, including antibiotic-resistant strains like staph aureus.
2) a study at the University of TelAviv showed 40 percent faster bone growth in people with fractures who used CBD.
3) a 2013 study in international neuropsychopharmacology proved CBD provides relief for anxiety and further research supported future treatments of depression and psychosis.
4) a 2017 literature review by Current Psychiatry Reports indicated that CBD decreases insomnia and symptoms of sleep disorders.
5) an anti-inflammatory study in 2017 by the National Institute of Health indicated manipulating the endocannabinoid system can provide substantial relief from colitis.
6) a 2017 study by neurologia.com showed that 40 percent of people suffering from refractory epilepsies had a decrease in seizure activity overall, and 27 percent of those people had seizures disappear.
Worth a try?
Trautsch reminds anyone considering CBD, “This isn’t a cure, it’s a supplement. But it is very up-and-coming. It’s coming hard and it’s coming fast.”
She lauded CBD as being non-addictive and something people cannot build up a tolerance against. “It’s very safe to play with. You can start at 15 milligrams and move up to 20 or 30. If you don’t see any difference after three or four days, bump it up,” she said.
“It has no side effects,” Sheckler added, confidently. “I have one guy who uses CBD who said it makes him a little drowsy. So he just takes it at night.”
One woman at the latest hemp health class said she believes it makes her thirsty because hemp is naturally drying. Yet, she said she’s happy to drink more water, knowing it’s also good for her health.
Another word of advice both Trautsch and Sheckler gave was to buy from a reliable source that will spend time ensuring customers acquire the type of product that is most suitable for them.
“Know where it’s grown and how it’s extracted. Buy where you can see it, touch it, smell it,” Trautsch remarked.
Sheckler agreed, “You don’t want to buy it on the internet. Trustworthiness is a big deal.”
Some of Suppz’ CBD products even have a code on them, through which potential buyers can check their validity.
CBD secured its firmest position within mainstream society just last year, when President Donald Trump signed a Farm Bill that allowed the delisting of hemp from the Controlled Substance Act. It was then that it became legal at a federal level. Nonetheless, Trautsch said, there are still four states where hemp remains illegal: South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Idaho.
Stop in or call Café Hope or Suppz Gym to inquire about their lines of CBD products. Cheapo Depot in Prairie du Chien also carries CBD merchandise, such as those mentioned above as well as balms, honey sticks, smokeable CBD flower and syrups. They also carry CBD for pets.