One of the newest trends in natural medicine has been said to curb anxiety, help with sleep, relieve pain and even benefit heart health. People commonly use it in the form of oil, but it also has become popular in gummies, salves and vapes. The substance in question? CBD.
In recent years, hemp plants, and the CBD extracted from those plants, have gained widespread notoriety for the benefits they can have on a person’s health, especially in Kentucky, one of the leading states in hemp growing. Many people, however, write CBD off as a hoax or placebo and give into misconceptions about what CBD does.
Hemp and CBD are commonly associated with cannabis and THC as each is closely related, which has led to misinformation and confusion for consumers constantly bombarded by the products of this growing industry. The extraction of CBD from hemp, the products that contain CBD and the effects of CBD on users are all parts of understanding the hype.
Around 15,000 pounds of hemp is extracted each day at Shyne Labs, a hemp processing facility in Franklin, resulting in the production of both full-spectrum distillate, water soluble CBD and CBD isolate powder, which are the different forms of CBD that go into products sold to consumers.
Co-founder of Shyne Labs Jon Knarreborg explained the difference between CBD and THC.
“CBD won’t get you high,” Knarreborg said. “There are no psychoactive effects. It’s really based on cannabinoids and what plant we use, and hemp just means that the THC is below 0.3%.”
Knarreborg said one of his biggest hopes is that people understand what CBD can do and more people begin to use it. In Kentucky, any CBD being sold has to have 0.3% or less of THC content for it to be legal.
He said CBD has helped alleviate the back pain of the building’s construction workers, seizures of the general manager’s daughter and arthritis of an employee’s wife.
“When I first got into CBD about three years ago, I didn’t really believe in all the hype about benefits,” Knarreborg said.
Another hope of the operators of Shyne Labs is for regulation from the Food and Drug Administration, since the local farmers they work with are eager to have their hemp processed. They believe this will make it less expensive as a consumer good, and what costs them “pennies to manufacture” will become more accessible and less costly for the public.
“Once the prices go down and it’s more available to everybody, I think we’re gonna see a really big increase in CBD usage,” Knarreborg said.
CBD goes into products distributed to the public after its extraction from hemp. These products, which can come in the form of the oil or water soluble CBD extracted in facilities like Shyne Labs, are then sold in places like Bowling Green’s American Shaman, a CBD store.
Raw hemp before processing and extraction at Shyne Labs. Hemp farmers from around the state are happy to send the facility shipments of their product since their locally made CBD is less expensive for consumers, Knarreborg said.
Gallons of crude CBD oil are the initial result of extracting and evaporating hemp. The Shyne Labs hemp facility can process up to 15,000 pounds of hemp per day, and this raw crude oil can go on to be distilled or crystalized to make other products.
Bowling Green local Carlene Dickerson, a sales associate at American Shaman, said the main thing people come in for is CBD oil, which can either be dissolved into liquid or taken straight under the tongue.
“We also carry candy, gummies, body lotions, probiotics and even CBD for canines and felines,” she said. “We’ve got a little bit of everything.”
Dickerson said that most customers come in for relief from joint pain or arthritis, and that these customers often give testimony to the way CBD products have changed their lives. Dickerson uses the CBD oil herself to regulate her blood sugar for her diabetes.
“I think it’s a good product, and the more people learn about it and become educated on it, the more people it can help,” Dickerson said. “I haven’t had anybody, since I started working here in November, that’s come in and said ‘I don’t like this stuff’ or ‘it’s not working for me.’ I think it’s money well spent.”
Hopkinsville junior Brynn Greene was introduced to CBD after dealing with anxiety and depression for years.
“I learned to manage anxiety and depression, and I got on medication for it, but there are times where intrusive thoughts or the tightness in my chest come back regardless,” Greene said. “My mom gave me a 250 milligram tincture and I realized just a few drops under my tongue helped me.”
Greene quit using CBD for some time due to the higher price of the tincture with the concentration of CBD she needed, but found she noticed a difference in her anxiety and depression when she stopped taking it. She decided to go back to using it after realizing the change it made for her, despite the cost.
“I purchased some hemp flower from a few different federally regulated companies recently, and in combination with smoking the hemp flower and the CBD oil, it has made the tension and anxiety melt away,” Greene said.
She also said it’s important to recognize that a product like CBD is different from alternatives with higher percentages of THC, stating that there is no high or paranoia, and it is federally legal across the U.S., which is important to her.
The trendiness of CBD is only the starting point for most people, who later learn about the benefits it can provide and the positive change it can make in their life. CBD still has a long way to go in becoming more accessible and reaching people who could benefit from its use, but is already impacting the lives of many.
“We’re trying to hope, you know, more and more people use it,” Knarreborg said. “And I hope especially for places in the Midwest that have such big problems with pharmaceutical pain medication, people realize that maybe there’s a better way.”