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Pharmacist sheds light on CBD oils

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BY LINDELL JOHN KAY
Staff Writer

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

A local pharmacist is seeking to educate Twin Counties residents on uses and benefits of Cannabidiol, recently made legal with the passage of the U.S. Farm Bill.

“CBD will not make you high. It has more anti-inflammatory, pain relieving, immunomodulating and anti-anxiety properties," said Patrick Ignacio, the pharmacy manager at Ward Specialty Pharmacy on Sunset Avenue in Rocky Mount.

Cannabidiol, or CBD oil, has been used to treat pain, insomnia, nausea, Crohn’s disease, arthritis, diabetes, PTSD, depression, anxiety, epilepsy, asthma, addiction, migraines and cancer.

“Hemp is the same species as marijuana but with some genetic tweaking and is totally different in terms of structures,” Ignacio said.

Interest in Cannabidiol is on the rise, but information about it is not necessarily widespread, he said.

“It was kind of murky to navigate the legality of the product," Ignacio said. "We started carrying this supplement upon the approval of the industrial hemp pilot program in North Carolina. We have continuously followed its developments, actively researching various clinical studies as well as promoting and educating the public on it's potential benefits.”

Ignacio visited various hemp facilities for the brands he vetted and started carrying at Ward in 2017.

“Unfortunately, the supplement market is not new to 'economic adulterations,'” Ignacio said. “Individuals or companies wanting to make money with no concern for health or safety of the public will create a product that masks as a nutritional supplement, which then falls into the hands of unsuspecting consumers looking for a natural health solution.”

Prior to the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp was considered a Schedule I controlled substance along with marijuana.

"Unlike the recreational drug, though, hemp plants contain low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical responsible for the popular high," Ignacio said. "Instead, hemp has high concentrations of more than 100 cannabinoids and about 300 terpenes that have a variety of benefits for consumers."

The Farm Bill pulls regulation of the hemp industry from the Drug Enforcement Agency and puts farmers and manufacturers under the purview of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"Not only will that bolster American production of the cash crop, but it also will remove the 'wild west' atmosphere of CBD products and spur more oversight that could protect consumers from incidents such as a 2017 incident in Utah that poisoned more than 50 people who took a fake CBD oil product, suffering from hallucinations, seizures and even loss of consciousness," Ignacio said, urging customers to seek out quality products from companies following good manufacturing practices and using third-party laboratories for testing that is lot-specific to a product.

"Unlike when comparing generic medications to name brands, currently there is no regulatory control that ensures patients are receiving comparable products while saving money," Ignacio said.

A product produced by Innovative AgriProducts LLC in Asheboro recently was seized by Virginia authorities after testing revealed the supposed hemp flowers were actually pure marijuana.

Ignacio said not only does a misidentified product pose a physical risk to consumers unaware of the possible effects, folks who fall victim to such a product could get arrested and charged with possession of marijuana.

And while hemp-based CBD products are required to have less than 0.3 percent THC, buying substandard products could also cause consumers to test positive for marijuana.

“CBD products are widely available now, but not all staff is knowledgeable about the products they are selling,” Ignacio said. “At Ward Specialty Pharmacy, we pride ourselves in knowing about the products we carry. Our staff is trained to handle concerns and I've seen the facilities each product is manufactured at, so I stand behind our products.”

Ignacio said he's hopeful the publication as well as educational presentations he's conducting throughout the region will make local residents informed consumers.

“For those that are looking for an alternative to traditional prescriptions and they feel this may help them, it is a good thing to try,” Ignacio said. “Whether they are taking medicine for pain, anxiety, depression or many other conditions, CBD can be a good alternative.”

To help inform the public, Ignacio put together a four-page educational publication, titled the CBD Buzz. Copies are available at the pharmacy.

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