CBD Oil Quickly Becoming Popular Opioid Alternative

By Beth Leipholtz 09/11/18

One expert says CBD oil sales are growing nationally, particularly in states that allow medical marijuana but not recreational.

holding a cannabis leaf and CBD oil

When it comes to pain management, there may be a safer alternative to prescription pain medication: CBD oil, also known as cannabidiol.

In Georgia, according to WSB-TV Atlanta, the hemp-derived CBD product is legal because it only contains trace amounts of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

CBD oil is sold at Little Five Points Pharmacy in northeast Atlanta, and pharmacist Ira Katz tells WSB-TV that it has been effective for some of his patients. 

“We know that this can reduce pain,” he said. “I have several patients that we’ve been putting this on, recommending this to them, and it’s great. It helps. It makes a big difference.”

The oil does not give users a high. “People are turning to cannabidiol as an alternative when they can’t get low THC oil,” Anthony LaBorde, store operator for Discount Nutrition in Midtown Atlanta and Acworth, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We get people coming in here who say, ‘Oh my gosh, this is marijuana, I can’t believe you sell this.’ There’s complete confusion.”

Studies have found that CBD oil is effective for treating neuropathic pain, arthritis pain, anxiety, sleep disorders and depression.

“I’ve had some patients that have been able to get off some of those pain medications, which they hated taking,” Katz told WSB-TV. “It has no addictive properties and far less side effects than do a lot of the prescription pain medications.”

According to Bethany Gomez, research director for the Chicago-based Brightfield Group, sales of CBD are growing across the nation, particularly in states like Georgia that have some form of a medical marijuana program, but do not allow cannabis for adult use. In 2016, the market for the product was $174 million, compared to $590 million this year. 

“CBD is very widely used by people who would not come anywhere near cannabis, who don’t want anything to do with the mind-altering effects of marijuana but want treatment for chronic pain, anxiety and women’s health conditions,” Gomez told the Journal-Constitution.

Despite the apparent benefits, CBD oil still concerns some local law enforcement officials. Wesley Nunn, president of the Georgia Narcotics Officers Association and commander of the Ocmulgee Drug Task Force, fears shops may be disguising THC oil as CBD oil, the difference lying in the potency of the product. 

“You don’t know what’s in it. That’s the problem,” Nunn told the Journal-Constitution. “If it’s helping with seizures, appetite disorders and PTSD, let’s get it regulated… There’s so much money being pushed behind the marijuana trade, and people are trying to get on board.”

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Beth is a Minnesota girl who got sober at age 20. By day she is a website designer, and in her spare time she enjoys writing about recovery at www.lifetobecontinued.com, doing graphic design and spending time with her boyfriend and three dogs. Find Beth on LinkedInInstagram and Twitter.