CBD gaining popularity as alternative health trend that some claim relieves pain -- but is it safe?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is gaining popularity as an alternative health trend that claims to relieve pain and help fight seizures, but there are concerns over some potential dangers.

From edible items to lotions and creams and evening calming drops for pets, CBD seems to be available everywhere. Experts said with so many options available you should take time to find out where the products are coming from before you buy them.

Dr. Megan Pasookhush, who runs the Wellness Compounding Pharmacy of Cary, said several of her clients use CBD products as an alternative to or in addition to prescription medications.

"A lot of people come in and they have pain, issues with pain, anxiety, sleeping issues," Pasookhush said.

CBD is derived from marijuana and hemp, but it does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which is the chemical that gives users a "high." Neither the state nor federal governments regulate ingredients in CBD items and that means what's on the label may not actually be inside.

Fake CBD products linked to overdoses

Police in Moorseville, North Carolina, said fake CBD oil being sold there caused a student to overdose.

Investigators said the student bought a product labeled "Black Diamond" CBD oil from Tabacco and Vapor on North Main Street in Mooresville. Officers executed a search warrant at the store and found nine additional vials of the oil.

Police say Rashad Naji Mohsen Al Hubaishi sold the illegal CBD oil. Police charged Hubaishi with nine felony drug counts.

They said what was inside was actually a synthetic cannabinoid known by the chemical name 5-Fluoro ADB and FUB-AMB, both are Schedule I controlled substances and are illegal.

Police charged Rashad Naji Mohsen Al Hubaishi, the store clerk who sold the illegal oil, with nine felony drug counts.

The Centers for Disease Control issued a warning and urged states to regulate CBD oil after investigators say 52 people in Utah got sick off phony CBD products sold in stores. The fake oil sold there caused people to have slurred speech, seizures and loss of consciousness.

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Fifty-two people in Utah got sick off phony CBD products sold in stores.

Knowing where products are made

Dr. Pasookush said the key to making sure your CBD products are safe is knowing where the hemp used to make the products were grown.

She has suggested asking for what's called a certificate of analysis. That document will show a breakdown of exactly what is in the product, what the container should look like and it will also include the specific batch number.

"I would look for something that's pure and also from a whole plant extract or a whole flower extract," Pasookhush said.

Growing trend

Cat Edwards, a massage therapist at Lorena Luca Spa in Raleigh, said CBD cream is popular among clients there.

"We incorporate a topical CBD cream for pain relief and reducing inflammation, that has become our most popular service," Edwards said.

In addition to using the products on clients, Edwards said she also uses them herself. She has been using topical and oral CBD products for about four months and said since she started, she has been able to take a smaller dose of a prescription medication.

She also said choosing a product to use can be overwhelming because of all the options; she suggests talking to a medical professional for help.

"I want to go through a healthcare professional and have their credibility stand behind what it is they have to offer. I'm not looking for the most inexpensive, I'm looking for what I believe will actually work."
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