CBD Promises Health Benefits Without the Buzz

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Since Ohio legalized CBD in 2019, there has been a significant decrease in farming and producing medical hemp but an increase in the quality of CBD products and distribution.

CBD – cannabidiol – is derived from medical hemp, which is a cannabis sativa plant with less than 0.3% THC – the compound that causes the feeling of being high.

The federal Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 legalized the growing and production of hemp and established regulatory agencies to oversee it, such as the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Research has shown CBD and other cannabidiols, such as cannabinol (CBN) and cannabigerol (CBG), to be beneficial for those with epilepsy, chronic pain, sleep disorders and mental conditions such as anxiety.

CBD and cannabidiols act as a key to the lock in the endocannabinoid system that fires off neurotransmitters. CBD is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, and that makes it a natural alternative to pain management, says James Collins, a gerontologist who founded Sapphire Essentials in 2019 after his own research and experience with CBD.

Sapphire Essentials, located on Western Reserve Road, sells CBD in a variety of ways such as oils, capsules, gummies and topical treatment.

“CBD is a powerful anti-inflammatory, and that’s what makes it so desirable. All pain starts as inflammation,” Collins says. “It’s a natural anti-anxiety medication. [It’s] a natural antiemetic. So it stops nausea. The latest line of research is showing benefits for depression, schizophrenia – and it could possibly be a neuro-protectant as well.”

With Collins’ experience in gerontology, he formulated CBD products for active seniors, older adults and those looking for a natural pain and anxiety manager.

“My wife started to go through menopause, and she developed insomnia and hot flashes like crazy,” Collins says. “We did our research and we started CBD at 25 milligrams for seven to 10 days with no results. Doubled [the dosage] for another week and a half – still no results. Doubled [the dosage] again, and she started sleeping through the alarm and [she said] her hot flashes were reduced by 85%. That’s when I decided to develop my own CBD company.”

Cannabidiols are sold in a variety of ways, such as tinctures, soft gel capsules, topicals, gummies, hemp flowers and vapes. Each distributor and company offers a different line of ways to use CBD and formulas for the unique needs of individuals.

In Ohio, licenses are required to grow and process hemp. The Ohio Department of Agriculture has recorded a drop in growers – 72 this year from 195 in 2020. The USDA has also reported a decrease in growers and production across the nation.

The downsizing of the market, however, isn’t necessarily a sign of failure. Global Market Insights reported in April 2022: “[The] cannabidiol market size accounted for $12.8 billion in 2021 and is estimated to grow with 21.7% [compound annual rate of growth] between 2022 to 2028. Rising awareness of health benefits of CBD and its effectiveness in pain management [and] various other treatments is propelling CBD industry growth.”

Christopher Treff, general manager of Tri-Healthy CBD, can guide customers through which CBD products work best for their needs.

Christopher Treff, general manager of Tri-Healthy CBD at the Eastwood Mall Complex, says the market has gotten smaller, but this hasn’t affected CBD distributors focused on quality.

“There was a lot of overproduction, especially with the CBD rush. We didn’t notice it much because we have a lot of great partnerships,” Treff says. “CBD isn’t as regulated. So it’s a lot easier to get into, which brings a lot of companies that don’t care about the quality of their products. Thankfully, those businesses are dissipating, and we get their customers and they have a much better experience.”

There are no federal or state regulations for distributing CBD or hemp-derived products. Products can be purchased at grocery stores, gas stations and vape shops to anyone age 18 and older, which made it hard for consumers to get quality products, according to CBD distributors Sapphire Essentials, Tri-Healthy and Your CBD Store.

“A lot of [CBD] is junk. I wanted [Sapphire Essentials] to be grown in the U.S., non-GMO, pure and organically grown,” Collins says. “I have clients coming in with clear or yellow CBD, and I’m like, ‘I’ve never seen a clear plant.’”

According to each of these distributors, their in-depth knowledge and quality of CBD and other cannabidiols have helped their companies grow over the years, and they’ve gained a loyal customer base.

Your CBD Store, located on Market Street, sells various CBD products.

Krystal Jenkins and Rebecca Ortiz, the manager and sales representative, respectively, from Your CBD Store, say many newer customers have misconceptions about CBD because of poor experiences. These customers view it as a modern-day snake oil.

“We always work with people. We tell people to let us know what’s bothering them, and we recommend something and have them come back and let us know how it went, and then we adjust,” Ortiz says. “[Customers] have a much better experience than previously because we focus on knowledge and quality.”

According to the CBD distributors, many of their products also balance other products designed to work with CBD for the best possible outcome. Examples of these pairings include CBN and melatonin for sleep, and CBD and delta-8 THC or CBD and curcumin for a natural anti-inflammatory. Treff, Ortiz and Collins say their staffs can help customers find what is best for them.

Sapphire Essentials, Tri-Healthy and Your CBD Store provide third-party laboratory testing on their products. That helps let customers know how much CBD they’re getting and the other ingredients in their products.

With the legalization of medical marijuana in Ohio and the potential for recreational legalization in the future, Treff says there will still be a market for CBD because it offers benefits with no buzz.

“[The Mahoning Valley] is a working-class community. People here work and they stress, and sometimes they need a little extra help,” Treff says. “We get a lot of people who are working every day. They maybe don’t sleep the best because of their schedules or have pain due to their work or past. A lot of people are just coming to look for a quality-of-life improvement.”

Tri-Healthy CBD, Sapphire Essentials and Your CBD Store have reported their sales are growing monthly, which they say proves that CBD works for the community.

Pictured at top: James Collins, gerontologist and founder of Sapphire Essentials, formulates and sells his own CBD products to active seniors and older adults looking for natural pain management.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.