Mainstream markets in Valley selling out of CBD despite gray areas in legality and medical value

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Thursday, September 27, 2018
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One of the most popular products at mainstream markets all over the Central Valley is Cannabidiol or CBD, a chemical that was pretty controversial just a few years ago.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- One of the most popular products at mainstream markets all over the Central Valley is a chemical that was pretty controversial just a few years ago.

A fully stocked shelf of CBD products is hard to find -- from the so-called "CBD Headquarters" at Lassen's to B-Alive Vitamins to Tower Health Foods to Kristina's Organic Markets -- customers can't get enough of it.

"They're coming in every day all day long," said James Dove of Kristina's. "I guess the main demographic is senior, older people. You know, hey want to get off their prescription meds. They do their research. They find CBD oils."

Cannabidiol or CBD is a naturally occurring compound extracted from marijuana or hemp plants, and its popularity has skyrocketed recently because preliminary research shows it might improve your health without some stereotypical side effects of THC -- the other well-known cannabis compound.

"You don't get high off this stuff at all," said George Boyadjian of 420 College. "CBD has absolutely no psychoactive ingredients. The psychoactive ingredient is found in THC."

Some studies show CBD might help with arthritis, anxiety, depression, and PTSD. And it might work just as well on animals.

Clovis veterinary chiropractor Craig Nichols says he's replaced prescription drugs for pain relief and anxiety with CBD.

"I've seen this work on the dogs that go crazy on the 4th of July," Nichols said. "I've seen it work on the dogs that don't want to get in the car. I've seen it used to replace an anxiety thing for horses that get really excitable when you want to ride them."

Nichols says it helps his aches and pains as well.

But before you get too high on CBD, we should warn you the FDA has only approved its use as treatment for some childhood neurological diseases involving seizures.

UCSF Fresno emergency meedicine Dr. Rais Vohra says they need to do more research, but it's coming at an accelerated pace.

"How can it not be knowing that consumers really are demanding a lot more information," said Dr. Vohra. "They're demanding a lot more products on the market that are based on the cannabis plants and there's a lot of hype and investment in this area."

The legality could be a little tricky, though.

For now, the Drug Enforcement Administration treats CBD extracted from pot plants as if it was as black market as the kettle it came from.

So most manufacturers make sure to mention their products come from hemp, which has almost no THC and isn't federally restricted.

"As long as it's legal and it's available and our customers want it, then we will have it," said Shannon Johnson at Tower Health Foods.

It looks like they'll want it. Market researchers expect sales to exceed $2 billion dollars by 2021.