Pubdate: Fri, 30 Mar 2018
Source: Baltimore Sun (MD)
Copyright: 2018 The Baltimore Sun Company
Author: Lavanya Ramanathan


In a lowlit room at Joy's Spa in Washington, Dawn Franklin is
smoothing a creamy white mask onto Jessica Osorio's face. The mask,
she says, is infused with chamomile and sage and aloe vera, plus one
ingredient that she still has to explain to her clients: CBD.

An aesthetician, Franklin started working with an Oregon chemist last
year to make CBD products for the skin, believing that a little of it
swiped onto the face could help repair the ravages of age.

But Franklin also takes CBD in gummy form, popping some in the morning
and some at night. Like a magic pill, she says, it wipes away the
sleeplessness and the stress and the nagging pain in her back that has
left her with a slight limp, though she's only in her 30s.

"It's crazy," she acknowledges. But she insists that CBD can do it
all. "It's just crazy, the different things that it has helped."

For Generation Anxious, affixed to its phones and stricken by news
alerts, overworked and under-rested, the mysterious substance known as
CBD is quickly becoming the new "it" drug.

Devotees whisper about CBD as a soothing remedy for racing thoughts
and aching extremities. CBD for those restless nights. Also, somehow,
CBD for those listless mornings.

Suddenly, you can find sugar-coated CBD gummies to gnaw on, and balms
to rub onto pulse points. There's CBD for your dog (gluten-free and
pumpkin-flavored!) and CBD for your aching feet. You can buy bottled
CBD water in trendy, seasonally-driven fast-casual restaurants, and
bags of CBD-laced coffee in shops on busy thoroughfares in Washington,
Colorado Springs, Las Vegas and dozens of other cities.

Back at Joy's, Osorio, the mask still plastered on her face, pipes up
about her own experience with CBD, how it seemed to quiet the back
spasms she has suffered since an accident years ago.

Plus, is it just her imagination, or do her wrinkles seem to have

Have we mentioned CBD's relationship to the green gold mine that is
the American marijuana industry? (Surprise.)

Also known by its full name, cannabidiol (pronounced
canna-bid-EYE-ol), CBD is just one of hundreds of compounds hiding
within the cannabis plant. It's a distant cousin of THC, the stuff in
pot that's notorious for getting you stoned and for inciting the wrath
of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

But while the term "cannabidiol" smacks of weed, "CBD" somehow sounds
. . . tame. Like something you can name-drop around Mom, like turmeric
and melatonin and charcoal and biotin or any of the other
wonder-elixirs that have replaced Prozac in America's medicine cabinets.

The dizzying rise of CBD is a story of timing as much as of branding.
As more states deregulate marijuana, the Reefer Madness stigma that
surrounded it for decades seems to have gone up in smoke.

But here's why CBD appeals to some who would never smoke a joint after
dinner: Take a few milligrams of CBD as, say, an oil slipped onto the
tongue or a piece of candy, and it tastes unmistakably like cannabis,
which is to say, slightly minty and herbacious, and just a little
funky. But cannabidiol's effect is startlingly anti-climactic. It's
weed without the high.

And this may be why CBD is legal in many states, including several
that don't allow legal recreational or medical marijuana.

An organic chemist named Roger Adams isolated cannabidiol amid a wave
of research into the medicinal promise of marijuana in the 1930s and
'40s. He filed for a patent, and in the decades that followed,
marijuana growers experimented with raising plants with high levels of
CBD and almost no THC, hoping that a puff might trigger its own trippy

It didn't take long for them to realize that they were wrong. So, so

"CBD became known as the hippie's disappointment," says Stuart W.
Titus, the chief executive of Medical Marijuana Inc., a producer of
several CBD oils and products that entered the market in 2012.

Now, the hippie's disappointment is back, rebranded as the
stressed-out modern office drudge's salvation.

Gwyneth Paltrow's obsessively followed lifestyle site Goop, never one
to miss a chance to gush about a wellness trend, recently published a
guide to CBD cocktails. One of the many cushy lounges offering swag at
Coachella next month is promising CBD oils, along with yoga and vegan
food, for all its guests. A writer for the website the Cut wrote that
a little CBD made her feel "delightful."

"Some people do want the high, of course," Titus says. "But others are
looking for the health and wellness benefits."

Which, according to the charter members of the Cult of Cannabidiol,
are many. Infinite, in fact.

"I like to call it the super-nutrient, the super plant," says Spike
Mendelsohn, the Washington-based former "Top Chef" contestant behind
fast-casual restaurants including Good Stuff Eatery. More recently,
he's a partner in the CBD-infused "wellness drink" Plnt Water, which
comes in such flavors as turmeric and ginger, and matcha and mint and,
for now, is available in a healthy-leaning fast-casual restaurant chain.

"It's really mother's milk," he says. "It's natural."

Naturally, not everyone is buying the hype.

Last year, the FDA dinged a number of companies hawking CBD based on
unsubstantiated claims - mainly that it could cure or reverse cancer.

The agency hasn't evaluated all the claims around CBD, but some in the
research field already have their doubts.

"I think you're dealing with disease states where people are grasping
for answers," says Timothy E. Welty, a professor of pharmacy at Drake
University in Des Moines. "So they're turning to this and saying,
'This is the answer.' "

Welty has been involved with CBD use in patients with epilepsy, and at
least two reputable studies have shown it can relieve seizures. But as
for the rest of it - the anxiety and sleep claims, all anecdotal -
he's doubtful. "They're not scientifically founded, in my mind," he

So: Is CBD just this year's activated charcoal or functional mushroom? 
Harmless enough to pop without worry?

"I would be very cautious," Welty says. With no oversight of the
candies and waters and food products containing CBD, he says, "you're
not sure what you're really getting."

For true believers, though, it's worth venturing into the unknown if
it means tossing out the aspirin and the painkillers and the

"For a long time now, there have been people approaching a lot of
chefs about working with cannabis and edibles," Mendelsohn says. Weed
seems like fun. "But is it worth risking all the other work that I
have? I'm in business with my family. I do a lot of work with kids. I
do a lot of work with policy."

Drugs? Unwise. The wellness space? Whole different ballgame, he says.
Plus, there's no question there's a market for CBD. "People," he says,
"are already buying it."

Franklin is convinced of its powers. "I've had friends take CBD for
the first time, and call me and say, 'Where have you been all my
life?' " she says.
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MAP posted-by: Matt