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Psst…where did you get your CBD?

Dr. Steven Heidinger writes about the legalization of cannabidiol (CBD)
Wellness Column by Dr. Steven Heidinger

Like many chiropractic clinics, my office offers a variety of health-related services. Primarily, we provide chiropractic care, however acupuncture, massage therapy and laser therapy are available to our patients as well. We also maintain a small inventory of pillows, orthopedic support braces and nutritional supplements. Now that I have gotten some free advertising for my office out of the way…

Most Canadians know what happened October 17, 2018. It was the day that marijuana was legalized for recreational use across the country. While, personally, it made no difference to me, I was intrigued professionally because of something that has become somewhat of a buzzword in alternative health…CBD.

CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are two of the most often talked about components of marijuana. THC is known to be the psychoactive component of cannabis — it’s what gets you high. CBD is making its claim to fame as a possible analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-psychotic, anti-convulsant and anti-emetic alternative to pharmaceuticals. The CBD will not make you high and is becoming popular as a non-pharmaceutical treatment for many ailments.

As an alternative health professional who already retails nutritional health supplements, I was excited to possibly offer these types of products for sale in my office. Soon after legalization, chiropractors across the province were warned by their professional association not to sell CBD product from their offices. My initial thought was that it was because there was not enough evidence to support the health claims made in favour of CBD use, but in reality, it was because it would simply be illegal.  

There is a general misconception among many Canadians that once October 17th passed, anything marijuana-related was legal. While licensed retailers are the only sellers legally allowed to sell marijuana products, CBD products quickly began to be offered for sale from non-licensed sellers. These sellers (and their buyers) think that as long as the products do not have THC, then it must be legal. 

Health stores, beauty salons, spas, gifts stores, vape shops and even pet stores quickly stocked their shelves with CBD products looking to make money off the recent legalization of marijuana.  

According to the Federal Cannabis Act, however, they are all breaking the law, and most buyers are unaware they are in possession of something they attained illegally.

All cannabis products are strictly regulated through the Federal Cannabis Act. Licensed retailers sell marijuana for recreational use only. Licensed medical dispensaries that sell cannabis products for medicinal use require a medical prescription to sell their products (including CBD).

Legalization and regulation are very important for the future of CBD. It allows for more public money to be put toward muchly needed research to prove or dis-prove the touted benefits of all cannabis products. As a consumer, patience is needed, and one must be wary of the products they are getting and be mindful that they may be involved in illicit activity when purchasing such products from a non-licensed retailer.

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