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.

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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.

Researchers have discovered CB3 Cannabinoid Receptor

Researchers have discovered a new cannabinoid receptor, CB3, one that could open a new door of healing possibilities.

This isn’t anything like anyone has seen before: This new research suggests that cannabis may influence the human body in new and extraordinary ways.

Before we go into more detail, let’s go over some brief history:

After the U.S. government belatedly allowed scientists to move forward in research of the possible medical uses of cannabis, whole dimensions of human biochemistry which formerly existed in the shadows suddenly shifted into the light. In the 1990s, the discovery of the endocannabinoid system came about—a vitally essential component of the central nervous system that plays a role in everything; from cognitive processes and pain sensation to appetite regulation and physical activity.

It was the discovery of the decade. In a phenomenally narrow window, science has gained a deeper comprehension of how the mammalian body manages and regulates itself.

Because the endocannabinoid system grasps various domains of the human experience, it is a gargantuanly productive ground for research.

The biggest focus in the endocannabinoid system is two cannabinoid receptors most commonly referred to as CB1 and CB2. These molecules are where the magic happens. Like all biochemical receptors, CB1 and CB2 are protein molecules that receive chemical signals from outside the cell. Think of them like the area on your television that you point the remote control at. They sit dormant until they receive a signal, then they spring into action.

What is the CB3 Cannabinoid Receptor?
For years, CB1 and CB2 stood by themselves. But now, scientists think they’ve pinpointed a new cannabinoid receptor, one that could change everything we know about the endocannabinoid system.

The molecule in question goes by the name GPR55 but may soon be known as CB3. The molecule itself was first discovered in 1999 in various parts of the brain—the hippocampus, cerebellum, thalamus, etc. But newer research has discovered that it also hides out in more remote parts of the body, such as the spleen, GI tract and adrenal glands.

If this molecule is truly a cannabinoid receptor, that means the current understanding of the endocannabinoid system is immensely fragmentary. This molecule is distinctly different from CB1 and CB2, which share a lot of similar characteristics. In comparison, GPR55 shares less than 15% of its amino acid identity with either.

The potential here is extremely huge. It could explain why CBD oil has such a diverse range of health benefits, a variety of which are proven through trials but poorly understood from a scientific perspective. If researchers could unlock the mechanism by which medical cannabis operates, it could lead us toward developing new and more effective therapies for all kinds of diseases. Woo!!

But it’s not just that. The new receptor is also found in cancer cells.

The presence of GPR55 in cancer cells might sound scary, but it’s worth getting excited about.

While the exact functions and pharmacology of GPR55 are far from understood, if research discovers what it’s doing in cancer cells, we’ll know more about cancer itself: How it emerges, how it spreads and how to stop it.

And if turns out that we can influence cancer by manipulating a cannabinoid receptor or the body’s endocannabinoid system, we’ll have more weapons in our arsenal of anti-tumor remedies. That’s huge!!!

One of the noteworthy theories circulating about the properties of CB3 is that the body may have the ability to transform one kind of cannabinoid to another. If that’s true, and cancer cells use CB3 for some corrupt purpose, it could be possible to engineer a change-resistant form of cannabinoid that slows the progression of tumors.

Of course, that’s entirely theoretical—and a long way off. However, the possibilities are worth the hype! CB3 could present the next breakthrough in treating human suffering. It’s another level up in hope of reversing diseases previously believed uncurable.

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.