Supporters Claim Benefits of Medical Cannabis

Advocates for hemp and its popular derivative CBD, argued in support of the use of it in a meeting on Thursday, January 24, 2019, at the Porters Neck Country Club. They urged area residents to get rid of stereotypes for medical cannabis, and made a case for this alternative therapy. The supporters stated that it might even be a weapon in the fight against the opioid crisis. The forum was a lunch meeting of Ladies on the Loose, a Civic club in Porters Neck. The organizer, Linda Zink, reported that over 110 attendees signed up, and there was a long waiting list. The presentations were given by representatives of Harvest The Good, a cannabis advocacy group, and by Integrated Hemp Solutions, a Southern Pines-based company that markets therapies and treatments with cannabidiol (CBD), a cannabis derivative. Also present were representatives of N.C. Women for Cannabis and the U.S. Pain Foundation. Co-sponsors were The Hemp Pharmacy, of 1401 S. College Road. Sharon M. Wright of Harvest The Good said that there was nothing had about the plant, and claimed that treatments with CBD had allowed her to walk again.

The plant to which she was referring was hemp, a member of the cannabis family. Hemp has a long history in the U.S. George Washington and Henry Clay both grew it, and it was used for making rope. The cultivation of hemp was largely ended by the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, which was intended to fight smoking it.

The cultivation of hemp has been legalized since under the Federal Farm Bills of 2014 and 2018, according to Amy Dustin, a registered nurse and education director for Integrated Hemp Solutions. North Carolina has set up an Industrial Hemp Commission. Dr. James Taylor, a pain management specialist and founder of Integrated Hemp Solutions, suggested that hemp could be a substitute crop for N.C. tobacco farmers. Dr. Taylor informed the group that hemp is more profitable than tobacco.

Hemp products are legal since they contain less than 0.3 percent of THC, the product that causes intoxication. Most of its medicines, including the tinctures and oils, contain CBD, and many other chemicals in cannabis need to be further studied, Dustin said. She and Dr. Taylor listed a variety of proven or potential treatments, including pain management, the reduction of muscle spasms, anxiety relief, antibacterial treatments, bone growth promotion,  the retardation of tumor and cancer growths, and the reduction of blood sugar levels. Dr. Taylor cautioned that it is not a panacea, and CBD can’t completely relieve pain in most patients, but it can remove an adequate amount of pain, so that physicians can reduce the number of narcotic and opioid prescriptions in patients who use CBD.

CBD does carry side effects, Dustin reported, such as daytime drowsiness in larger doses. It can interact with some prescription medications including blood thinners, protease inhibitors, and psychoactive drugs such as Valium, Ambien, Prozac and Zoloft. Dustin said that patients should consult with their primary care doctor, and wait at least an hour or two before using CBD products. The use of CBD products also requires training, so that patients can feel the full benefits.

Not everyone shares their outlook on CBD. The Food and Drug Administration has approved it for treating some forms of epilepsy, but many doctors claim that there is not sufficient evidence to prove that CBD can do all of the things advocates claim.

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