Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, found in creams, drinks and lotions in cannabis dispensaries across California.
It has consumers hoping it may soothe aches, pains and so much more.
“For us, we didn’t have any more options,” Starling Brands/Kase Manufacturing CEO Mike Reynolds said. “My son was suffering from severe epilepsy.”
CBD, in this case, comes from cannabis plants, but unlike THC, it doesn’t get you high.
Reynolds says it saved his son’s life.
FOX40 first met Reynolds five years ago when his son Kase was having seizures. He was not even 2 years old and hundreds of seizures a day rattled his little body due to a rare genetic disorder.
They tried every prescription drug available.
“You got to go straight to your doctor, they're in a white coat, you feel comfortable, they tell you what to do, you go do it. It just didn’t work,” he said.
After much research, they decided to give CBD oil a chance.
“Looked at all of our options and CBD has been incredible for the health of my son and the health of our family,” Reynolds told FOX40.
The drug the Reynolds family depends on can only be found in a dispensary and is regulated by the state.
Many CBD products are made with industrialized hemp and you can find them almost anywhere.
"There's so many other people that are just in a money grab, right? It’s like, ‘Here’s my next opportunity, I’m just gonna get this product and push it out,'" Reynolds said.
But, their safety, potency and testing remain unknown.
Commercial cannabis business attorney Zach Drivon represents licensed operators, as well as traditional farmers looking to establish hemp production and manufacturing in the San Joaquin Valley.
“There are irresponsible operators out there and we need to make sure that those types are not in this industry and that we’re protecting the best interests of consumers,” Drivon said.
But that’s a bit complicated.
Since December, he’s seen a steady increase in CBD products in the consumer market following Congress Passed the 2018 Farm Bill.
“Seems that the marketplace is a bit ahead of the final set of legal standards that are ultimately going to govern this industry,” Drivon said. “It is in a legal gray area."
While the U.S. Department of Agriculture has yet to establish regulations, the FDA has implemented some rules.
The agency banned hemp CBD from being added in drinks and food.
It also cracked down on health promises. None of the products make any health claims and that’s because if they were to do so, they would require approval from the FDA.
UC San Diego Psychiatry Chair Dr. Igor Grant says CBD’s current popularity may be due to marketing, not medicine.
“Just because it's got CBD on it and you decide to rub it on your skin doesn’t mean it will do you any good,” Grant said.
Dr. Grant has been studying the possible health benefits of marijuana for decades but he says that studies into all CBD products are unchartered territory.
“I’m not saying it’s horribly dangerous, I’m just saying we don’t know, that’s the problem,” he said.
Grant says new research is underway, but more is needed.
“It's completely possible to do it, it just takes time,” he told FOX40. “It may take up to a year to get a study approved.”
With so much work that needs to be done, only time will tell if the CBD craze will lead to real results.
“I think with more awareness, I think you’re gonna get the real science that needs to be there,” Reynolds said.
In California, there’s an Assembly bill that would allow CBD from industrialized hemp to be added to foods. In a matter of weeks, the FDA will consider regulating CDB.