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  • The Star Press

    Cannabidiol oil, known as CBD, has been legal in Indiana for almost six years

    By Scout Wampler,

    28 days ago

    Editor's Note: The following is part of a class project originally initiated in the classroom of Ball State University professor Adam Kuban in fall 2021. Kuban continued the project this spring semester, challenging his students to find sustainability efforts in the Muncie area and pitch their ideas to Ron Wilkins, interim editor of The Star Press, Journal & Courier and Palladium-Item. This spring, stories related to health care will be featured.

    In 2018, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed Senate Bill 52, legalizing the use of cannabidiol oil. Since then, some Hoosiers have turned to cannabidiol oil — commonly called CBD oil — for medicinal purposes, including those looking for medicinal relief for their children.

    CBD is legal. Marijuana is not. Both are found in the cannabis plant. CBD does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly called THC, which is the active drug in marijuana.

    CBD is a naturally occurring compound found in the cannabis plant. Unlike THC, CBD oil is not psychoactive, meaning it doesn't produce the "high" typically associated with marijuana use.

    Laura Davis, caretaker to 16-year-old Naughdeia, uses CBD to manage Naughdeia’s attention-defict/hyperactivity disorder symptoms. Davis said a teacher suggested it might help with hyperactivity. Since then, it has become part of Naughdeia’s morning medicine routine.

    “It’s out there; it works, and people need it,” Davis said. “It helps keep her (be) more calm and focused throughout the school day.”

    Since Indiana legalized the sale of CBD, corner stores commonly stock it.

    Some of these products claim to have “medicinal properties,” including food, drinks and beauty products infused with oil. However, it's advisable to do research on CBD.

    “It’s crucial to source CBD products from reputable manufacturers to ensure quality and safety,” according to a recorded YouTube broadcast featuring Dr. Brent A. Bauer of the Mayo Clinic.

    Despite the variety of CBD products available, the only CBD product approved by the Food and Drug Administration is a prescription oil called Epidiolex. This drug received FDA clearance in June 2018.

    Licensed Practical Nurse Lora Benns provides homecare to a 12-year-old girl named Journee. Sometimes, Journee has seizures, and her prescription includes “thick liquid Epidiolex,” Benns said, emphasizing the importance to consult medical professionals before giving a child any CBD products.

    According to a 2017 report published on the National Library of Medicine's website, Epidiolex helps mitigate epilepsy symptoms by “potentially altering neurochemicals such as serotonin, gamma-aminobutyric acid, t-type calcium channels, and N-methyl-D-aspartate by binding to CB1 and CB2 receptor.” Those receiving treatment with Epidiolex can find temporary relief through the oil.

    “Journee didn’t immediately get put on Epidiolex," Benns said. "She was on a waiting list and had to undergo testing to make sure it would be effective before it became a part of her medication list.

    “But I’m glad CBD products are starting to be regulated. I would never want anyone to obtain these products off the streets — even if I know they may be effective,” Benns said.

    Before CBD became legal in Indiana, Hoosiers took more drastic measures to get CBD products.

    “People often moved to Colorado to treat their children with epilepsy before these products were legal in Indiana,” said Liz Gordon, a CBD distributor in Richmond, Indiana.

    She assures that her CBD products don’t exceed 0.3% THC, complying with local and federal laws.

    “People don’t limit CBD to their children; it’s even used with cats and dogs.”

    Gordon was transparent about where she purchased her CBD products and shared her supplier’s information.

    Her supplier has full lab reports available for consumers online. Their specific CBD products have testing for pesticides, solvents, microbials and mycotoxins. These are some of the pollutants that marijuana plants may encounter before the CBD component can be extracted.

    As CBD becomes more accessible in Indiana, it's important for consumers to understand the legal and safety considerations.

    The 2018 bill that legalized CBD marked a turning point, but regulations and oversight are still evolving.

    While many find relief in CBD products, ensuring quality and legality remains paramount. For example, products could be tampered with to contain more or less of the legal 0.3% THC content. This is especially true of products that are purchased from retailers unwilling to share supply-chain details.

    Look for retailers who can show physical proof of their products credibility. Those who have an authentic product will have lab results and offer product insight.

    For children like Naughdeia and Journee, CBD could offer potential relief from symptoms that traditional medications may not adequately address.

    With proper regulation and informed use, CBD continues to shape the landscape of medicinal options in Indiana and beyond. Especially as bordering states also continue to have laws that permit varying degrees of access to marijuana.

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