CBD is gaining popularity: But is it safe?

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – (WROC) – If it seems like CBD products are popping up everywhere that’s because they probably are. According to industry experts, sales are expected to exceed $20 billion in the U.S. by 2024.

The only thing spreading faster than CBD appears to be confusion over what it is, who it’s for, and is it safe.

CBD products are showing up on shelves at pharmacies, specialty stores, and many other places. Thanks to the passing of the Farm Bill in 2018 legalizing hemp.

“It’s worked better than most than anything else,” said Anne Dougherty, a user of CBD products. “That’s all I can say. I am a great advocate of it.”

Dougherty, a Greece floral shop owner tried CBD in 2014 after back surgery for pain. She also uses it for arthritis. She says it keeps her on the job six days a week.

“I’m close to 80,” said Dougherty. “This close to 80. Things happen as you get older epsecially in this business you are on your feet.”

CBD is often confused with marijuana. But it’s not that. It doesn’t contain the ingredient that causes a high.

“It’s not THC,” said Dr. Anthony Petraglia, a neurosurgeon at Rochester Regional Health. “CBD is a molecule cannabidiol and it’s a compound. It’s one of over a hundred compound found in the cannabis plant or it can be hemp derived.”

CBD is being marketed to relieve pain, inflammation, and anxiety. Buying CBD products can be tricky because it’s not regulated by the FDA.

“There are just so many products on the market, said Dr. Petraglia. “So the question is what is it that you are getting when you buy a CDB product?”

A 2017 study published by the journal of the American Medical Association, researchers found more than two-thirds of the products purchased were mislabeled.

They contained more CBD than listed on the label, less of it, or none at all. This poses a risk for those especially on other medications.

“CBD can certainly increase the concentration of medications like blood thinners for instance in the body,” said Dr. Petraglia. “But can also decrease the concentration.”

Whether you already use CBD or want to try it, Dr. Petraglia says here are the things you should look for.

The label should give the amount of CBD in the product and the dosage. You want to choose a product that’s free of heavy metals, solvents, and pesticides. Also you want to make sure it’s derived from hemp. If it comes from a marijuana plant it’s federally illegal despite local laws.

For Dougherty CBD has allowed her to bring smiles to her customers one bouquet at a time.

“It let’s me do that,” said Dougherty. “Without it you wouldn’t even know me.”

Dr. Petraglia also suggests talking to your doctor before trying any CBD products because it may not work for everyone.

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