THC-free cannabidiol offered at Ybor’s new Chillum Glass Gallery and CBD Dispensary

Owner and manager Carlos Hermida (pictured) recently launched one of Tampa's first CBD dispensaries in Ybor City. Chillum Glass Gallery and CBD Dispensary offers products derived from the industrial hemp plant, not cannabis. Photo courtesy of Carlos Hermida, Chillum Glass and CBD Dispensary. Chillum Glass | Special to the Times

YBOR CITY— As the former vice president and activist for the Florida Cannabis Coalition, Carlos Hermida knows how difficult it can be in Florida for companies to open a dispensary.

Hermida says the strict laws in the cannabis industry can make it a very long and expensive process to obtain the necessary licenses and pay for the costly operational costs.

For this reason he decided to open Chillum Glass Gallery and CBD Dispensary, in historic Ybor City, to help companies desiring to get into the cannabis industry by distributing their products and educate people on the benefits of cannabidiol or CBD.

Although cannabidiol is present in the cannabis plant, it is not cannabis.

It is derived from the industrial hemp plant and lacks tetrahydrocannabinol, better known as THC, which is the component of marijuana that gets people high.

In addition, CBD is legal in all 50 states, it offers many of the same medical and therapeutic benefits that the cannabis plant can, it relieves stress and anxiety, increases focus, but dispensers don’t have to follow some of the strict regulatory guidelines and patients do not need a medical identification card.

CBD Chillum Glass Gallery and CBD Dispensary distributes products from Florida-based companies such as Provida and Mindful Medicinals such as hemp powder, hemp joints, hemp blunts, coffee, tea, cough syrup, lotions, dog treats and more.

The glass gallery side displays functional glass art from local artists, which means the hemp flower can be placed in the glass and smoked.

“Chillum Glass Gallery and CBD Dispensary is a celebration of alternative culture,” said Hermida in a press release.

“We want people to understand this is art, this is culture.”

Art from the glass gallery ranges anywhere from $1 to $800 and products from the dispensary can range anywhere from $4 to $200.

Chillum held its grand opening Friday (June 29). The dispensary operates from 12 to 11 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, 12 p.m. to 1 a.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, and from 12 p.m. to 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and is located at 1717 E 7th Ave in Ybor City.

For more information visit chillumglass.com/

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Federal farm bill could boost CBD industry

FILE - Cannabis, CBD, Oil, Wax, Medicinal

The federal government doesn’t appear ready to deal with the lingering legal questions of marijuana, but hemp is another matter.

Kevin Liebrock, chief operating officer at Bluebird Botanicals in Colorado, said the federal farm bill, will in all likelihood, legalize hemp as a cash crop.

“When you have someone like U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, who has been a die-hard conservative for a long time, and he’s supporting hemp,” Liebrock said. “I think that shows we’ve reached a tipping point for sure.”

Lex Pelger, chief science officer with Bluebird, said hemp can be used in everything from clothing to fiber. But he said the market for growth will be cannabidiol oil. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is extract that has been used to treat seizures, pain and other things.

Pelger said CBD oil is already available in most states, including Illinois. But because it’s associated with marijuana there is a stigma.

Hemp CBD, he said, could change that.

“If you’re trying to introduce this into places that haven’t had an experience with cannabis, and are really scared of it,” Pelger explained. “Hemp is a really great way to get started.”

Pelger said hemp CBD and marijuana-based CBD are almost identical. In fact, he said hemp CBD may provide more benefits for treating seizures and other medical conditions.

Illinois just legalized CBD for use in schools, but it must be administered by a parent.

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CBD oil: Placebo or breakthrough?

New medication means new laws, new questions about its use.

CBD oil: Placebo or breakthrough?

ELWOOD — Sitting inside the cool lobby of Rebellious Makeup By Morgan, owner Morgan Johns talked about why she uses canabidiol (CBD) oil as a natural pain solution for her osteoarthritis and hip issues.

She said her doctors offered her pain relievers and muscle spasm medication to relieve her pain, but she was not interested in a fistful of prescriptions.

“I did not want to go down that path with the opioid crisis as crazy as it is right now,” Johns said. “Anyone can get addicted to anything if given enough or they become dependent on it.”

A friend encouraged Johns to try the CBD oil, and while she was skeptical, Johns said she agreed. A two-fluid-ounce container cost her less than $50.

“I knew an instant reaction within about 45 minutes of energy,” Johns said. “I felt like I had a cup of coffee or a shot of espresso.”

But she had no other side effects and the pain was still present.

“Then I would say about a month and a half in, that was when I really started to notice I felt better,” Johns said. “I’ve read people call it a placebo effect, but even if it is, I have tried other things and this works. If it is a placebo, why wouldn’t I have a placebo effect with anything else?”

Bringing CBD oil to Elwood

Johns decided to sell the oil in her salon and went to city officials and the chief of police to talk about selling it in the community. Johns said she was not saying CBD oil was a cure-all; she just wanted to offer it as an option.

At first she could not keep up with the sales, and then signs started popping up around Elwood where others were selling CBD oil.

“When the market flooded, I just started directing people to others selling this product,” she said holding her bottle of oil.

Johns said people need to be careful what they buy because not all CBD oils are the same. She recommends looking for a full list of ingredients, asking to talk to other customers who use it, and researching the company that makes it.

“If you don’t know what it is or you can’t research what they call it, there may be a reason why you don’t know what is in it,” Johns said. “They don’t want you to know what is in it.”

CBD oil and your health

The Herald Bulletin reached out to doctors and nutritionists throughout Madison County to talk about the risks or benefits of CBD oil, but no one in the medical field responded to the request for information.

Medical advances with CBD products, however, are underway.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a drug containing purified CBD, to be used to treat rare forms of childhood epilepsy.

The FDA states the approval for the drug is an important medical advancement, but the agency stresses this is not an approval of marijuana or all of its components.

“This is the approval of one specific CBD medication for a specific use,” according a press release by the FDA. “It’s being delivered to patients in a reliable dosage form and through a reproducible route of delivery to ensure that patients derive the anticipated benefits.

“This is how sound medical science is advanced.”

Contrary to popular belief, the FDA insists it has been supportive of the research of marijuana for medical uses.

The agency has an active program to assist drug developers who want to investigate marijuana or its components through properly controlled clinical trials, to demonstrate the potential for safe and effective uses.

Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I compound by the FDA with known risks so the treatment of medical disorders must be conducted under the same standard as other drug compounds, according to the agency.

The FDA notes that a growing interest in the development of therapies derived from marijuana and its components, such as CBD oil, has developed within the past decade.

Proponents of medical marijuana claim the plant is effective in treating a number of medical conditions, including cancer, multiple sclerosis, post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety. But these claims do not sit well the FDA.

The agency said it is concerned by the “proliferation and illegal marketing of unapproved CBD-containing products with unproven medical claims.”

Actions have been taken by the FDA against companies distributing CBD oil drops, capsules, syrups, teas, topical lotions and creams that claim the products can be used to treat or cure serious diseases such as cancer with no scientific evidence to support such claims.

“We’ll continue to take action when we see the illegal marketing of CBD-containing products with unproven medical claims,” the FDA stated in a press release. “We’re especially concerned when these products are marketed for serious or life threatening diseases, where the illegal promotion of an unproven compound could discourage a patient from seeking other therapies that have proven benefits.”

New CBD laws

The Low Cost Prescription pharmacy in Elwood has a sign on its building that says they sell “hemp CBD oil.” No one inside the pharmacy knew much about the product and they directed customers to a handwritten sign hanging next to the pharmacy window that says the oil is used to treat diabetes, anxiety, cancer and more than a dozen other ailments. A seven-day supply of the oil sells for $30, or a 28-day supply sells for $100.

“We don’t know anything about it,” said a woman named Brittney behind the counter. “All we have is a paper hanging over there about it. We just know what people tell us.”

A new law that takes effect today will change the way CBD oil can be sold in Indiana.

As of today, all low-THC hemp extracts must be packaged with a scannable bar code or QR code linked to a document disclosing the manufacturer of the finished product, a certificate of analysis verifying the hemp extract is the product of a batch tested by an independent lab and contains no more than 0.3 percent THC, along with the results of the testing sample.

The scannable code must also provide a batch date, expiration date and ingredients.

Johns said the changes will help people make informed and safe decisions about the products they are consuming.

“Do the research,” she said.

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Here’s what’s next now that the FDA has approved a cannabis drug for seizures

The US Food and Drug Administration approved the first cannabis-derived drug this week, but it can’t be sold until the Drug Enforcement Administration changes how it classifies the specific compound used. So what’s next?

Epidiolex treats serious forms of childhood epilepsy and contains the compound cannabidiol (CBD). Though CBD comes from cannabis, it won’t cause anyone to get high; it’s the compound THC that is psychoactive. But because it comes from cannabis and cannabis overall is classified as a Schedule I drug with “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse,” pharmaceutical companies aren’t allowed to sell it unless the DEA reclassifies CBD.

It is likely that the DEA will reclassify CBD in the next 90 days, says Stephanie Yin, an analyst at Informa Pharma Intelligence. (Epidiolex manufacturer GW Pharmaceuticals has said the same.) Most likely, according to Yin, it will be changed to Schedule IV or Schedule V, which are schedules that include other anti-seizure medications and anxiety drugs like Xanax and Klonopin.

THIS WILL ENCOURAGE OTHER COMPANIES TO DEVELOP CBD DRUGS FOR EVERYTHING FROM PAIN TO MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS

This doesn’t mean that cannabis as a drug will be removed from Schedule I though. Yin points out that the FDA already approved two nausea drugs — dronabinol and nabilone — that use synthetic versions of THC. The DEA scheduled these drugs as Schedule III and II, respectively, but still didn’t reschedule cannabis. Plus, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a press release that Epidiolex approval “is not an approval of marijuana or all of its components.”

If these synthetic THC drugs can be approved and rescheduled, and CBD can be rescheduled, what’s keeping the DEA from rescheduling cannabis itself? “Cannabis contains so many different compounds and strains,” explains Yin. “The FDA has just approved this singular product through stringent testing and doses and specific concentrations. It’s gone through rigorous clinical reviews and FDA review, but the FDA is likely to still crack down on claims made with other products.”

To be clear, there are already plenty of CBD products easily available, from supplements to oils to various beauty products like soap. But it’s one thing to sell them as supplements, and another to sell them as drugs. “You can get vitamin C from oranges at the grocery store, or you can get a clinical preparation of vitamin C to treat a disease, and those two items are treated very differently,” says Chris Stubbs, chief science officer of hemp farming and genetics company GenCanna. Clinical CBD is much more tightly regulated.

Still, the reclassification will likely make medical cannabis more legitimate. Rite Aid, for example, has already said it will fill prescriptions for Epidiolex, which is likely to be available at pharmacies in the fall. (It won’t be available in dispensaries because FDA-approved drugs can only be sold at places with a pharmaceutical license.) And GW Pharmaceuticals is already investigating other CBD-derived drugs to treat different forms of epilepsy, as well as forms of brain cancer and schizophrenia. “This approval is definitely going to encourage other companies to investigate [other cannabis] compounds for different diseases,” she says, “from pain to Alzheimer’s to multiple sclerosis to Tourettes’. Basically a whole spectrum of diseases.”

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