What is cannabidiol, and what does it do?

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A public discussion about medical cannabidiol treatment — a cannabis-related compound called CBD — is coming to Williamsburg at the end of this month.

The Williamsburg Drug Co. is set to host a public seminar on the possible benefits of treatment using cannabidiol, also known as CBD oil derived from hemp, at 6:30 p.m. May 31 at Legacy Hall in New Town.

Alex Capano, medical director for Ananda Hemp who has a doctor of nursing practice degree in medical cannabis science and education from Thomas Jefferson University, will be the lead speaker at the event.

“We are all about educating our community,” Williamsburg Drug Co. pharmacist T.W. Taylor said. “I have patients with chronic pain and high anxiety that use CBD oil.”

While medical marijuana and cannabis-related products remain controversial — and the Drug Enforcement Agency has said some CBD products are Schedule I controlled substances — a federal farm bill allows the sale of other CBD products made from hemp.

Williamsburg Drug Co., with locations at 240 McLaws Circle and 1302 Mount Vernon Ave., has been selling CBD products — including oils, sprays, salves and soft-gel capsules — over the counter for about a year, Taylor said. The products do not have any psychoactive effects because the level of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is under .03 percent.

The last seminar hosted by Williamsburg Drug Co. — at Edgeworth Park in New Town — attracted nearly 100 people, pharmacy spokeswoman Lisa Genakos said.

“While T.W. is able to speak extensively on the the subject of CBD oil, he is excited to be the host of Dr. Capano and give her the floor,” Genakos said.

The science behind CBD

While cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive chemical, is found in marijuana, the type of cannabis-based products sold and promoted by Williamsburg Drug Co. are legal in Virginia.

CBD may be useful in reducing pain and inflammation, controlling epileptic seizures and “possibly even treating mental illness and addictions,” according to research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Legacy Hall will host a joint meeting between the Williamsburg James City County School Board, city council and the James City County Board of Supervisors on March 16. (Courtesy of Troy Jefferson)
Legacy Hall will host CBD seminar at 6:30 p.m. May 31. (WYDaily/Troy Jefferson)

Further, two drugs containing THC and CBD have been approved by the Federal Drug Administration for medical use.

CBD products were legalized in the United States under the 2014 farm bill passed by Congress. The bill covered many aspects of farming and agriculture, but a small section legalized CBD products made from “industrial hemp” grown in the Unites States. Under the bill, the CBD from hemp must contain less than .03 percent THC.

A federal ruling on April 30 upheld the DEA’s opinion that CBD oil from the marijuana plant is illegal and a Schedule I controlled substance.

“There’s a lot of lobbying still against it,” Taylor said.

CBD oil from the hemp plant — which the May 31 seminar in Williamsburg covers — is protected under the 2014 farm bill.

Other marijuana-related products, such as recreational marijuana, are still not legal in Virginia.

The latest Virginia legislation

While certain types of medical marijuana products remain illegal in Virginia, this year the General Assembly passed legislation expanding access to cannabidiol and THC-A oil.

Both the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates passed bills this spring expanding the number of medical conditions that THC-A oil may legally be used to treat.

The legislation allows Virginians to use THC-A oil with up to 5 percent THC content, meaning it can be psychoactive, Gerakos said. The legislation also allows pharmaceutical processors to dispense up to a 90-day supply of the oil instead of only a 30-day supply.

The maximum seating for Legacy Hall is 200 people, so those interested should RSVP by calling Williamsburg Drug Co. at 757-229-1041 or by email at info@WilliamsburgDrug.com.

By: Sarah Fearing, WY Daily

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