Hemp ‘medical benefits’ should be part of Solano decision
FAIRFIELD — As regulatory battles are being waged at the county and state levels over industrial hemp – including consideration by the Solano County Board of Supervisors to ban cultivation and processing – advocates argue the medical benefits of the extracted CBD oils need to be kept in mind.
Matthew Schwartz, a partner in AAI that has a 9-acre farm in Solano, said that is why he got into the business.
“The goal is to help out members of the community, not only in California, but all around the world,” said Schwartz, who said CBD products have been shown to help with pain, epilepsy seizures, post-traumatic stress, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s and a host of other ailments.
Equally important, advocates stress, the use of these products will help lower opioid use and addiction.
Unlike the more well-known marijuana plants that produce greater levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, which creates the high-effect from post use, by law, hemp plants at the time of harvest cannot exceed 0.03 percent THC levels.
It is also the reason AAI posted large signs at its farms in an effort to dissuade thieves from taking plants that cannot get anyone high. Those signs were ineffective.
The opioid crisis is one of the reasons AAI had donated a portion of its crop to Weed for Warriors, a veterans-based group, that also contends the products benefit post-traumatic stress.
“Weed for Warriors is a project that we have really made an effort to get involved in,” Schwartz said.
To date, however, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved only a single CBD-related drug, Epidolex, which is for use in the treatments of seizures related two specific and rare childhood forms of epilepsy.
Additionally, the FDA has determined that certain additives derived from hemp seeds are safe to be used when mixed with such things as protein drinks.
But the agency, which concedes “the potential opportunities that cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds may offer,” remains more than cautious, and is particularly concerned with companies that are making unfounded claims of health benefits.
“The FDA continues to be concerned about the proliferation of products claiming to contain CBD that are marketed for therapeutic or medical uses that have not been approved by the agency. The FDA approval process ensures that drugs on the market are safe and effective for their intended therapeutic uses,” an online statement said. “CBD is marketed in a variety of product types, such as oil drops, capsules, syrups, teas and topical lotions and creams. The FDA has not approved any CBD products other than one prescription human drug product to treat rare, severe forms of epilepsy. There is very limited information for other marketed CBD products, which likely differ in composition from the FDA-approved product and have not been evaluated for potential adverse effects on the body.”
Shawn Welborn, who is Schwartz’s partner, said the research and conclusions about the benefits of CBD will be more abundant now that industrial hemp has been removed from federal controlled substance restrictions.
He also notes that while the supporting information may not be available in the U.S., other countries have been doing research for years, and the promise has reached levels of reality.
Danny Lay, who oversees another hemp farming operation in Solano County, said he actually uses an approved cream for his back.
Similar products are already sold in various forms at medicinal marijuana retail outlets such as those operating in Solano County.