Hemp Hemp Hooray // As CBD Gains Momentum, Bainbridge Stakes its Slice of the Market

By Alli  Schuchman

It’s Turning Out to be something of a revolution and Bainbridge is in the thick of it. “The potential is profound,” said Market Elevated owner Steve Kessler about cannabidiol (CBD), the psychotropic-free chemical compound extracted from plant cousins cannabis and hemp. Market Elevated carries a wide selection of the hemp-derived products in the newly opened store adjacent to cannabis shop Paper & Leaf, owned by Kessler and partner Brendan Hill. Strict laws regarding how CBD is sold prohibits cannabis stores like Paper & Leaf from selling the hemp-derived CBD products.

CBD has been gaining popularity and wider public acceptance as a growing body of randomized, double-blind, peer-reviewed, placebo controlled human trials—the scientific gold standard—is beginning to confirm what anecdotal evidence has said for a long time: CBD is a serious medical powerhouse. Unfortunately, the indeterminate legality surrounding CBD (it’s still classified as a Schedule I drug) has confounded its study. CBD works by attaching to receptors—CB1 in the brain and CB2 in the body—that are connected to a gamut of biological and neurological processes. According to a growing body of research, CBD is proving to be useful in combating problems with anxiety, addiction, appetite, sleep, pain perception, nausea and vomiting, among other ailments.

Kessler credits much of the primary knowledge about CBD to Israeli researcher, organic chemist and professor Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, who has studied the compound for the past half century. While scientific research about hemp’s medical efficacy is ongoing, a recent widely publicized study of CBD’s effects on Dravet syndrome—a severe and often deadly childhoodonset epilepsy—showed a 39 percent decrease in seizures among trial participants who received CBD.“ I’ll admit, it sounds like snake oil,” said a representative for Canideux.com, an online CBD resource. “But I can speak to my own experience with CBD and the effect it’s had on my personal health. At the end of the day, I’m advocating for making the information around CBD available so that people are empowered to choose for themselves.”

The representative also said he has been able to virtually eliminate the need to refill his opioid prescriptions for the past two years by taking CBD to treat a severe skeletal-muscular pain disorder and address a sleep problem. The upside to CBD is that it appears there is very little downside. Most studies suggest that the side effects of CBD are typically slight, and that for most people, the benefits offset the infrequent reports of discomfort. “I predict a groundswell,” said Kessler. “People are ready for something that makes them better, not just a drug that’s a Band-Aid that needs another Band-Aid to remediate its side effects.” Kessler also said the culture surrounding CBD is a welcome shift in public awareness.

“We’ve seen the new store become a safe gathering space for people who intuitively know there must be a better way. What started as a way to sell non-THC products has become infinitely more important.” Pets are also reaping the benefits of CBD. Kat Donatello, owner of Austin and Kat, began baking CBD dog biscuits to help her dog, Brady, who was suffering from cancer. The biscuits relieved a great deal of his pain and anxiety, allowing him to reengage with the family.

“I had no intention of creating a company,” said Donatello. But after seeing the relief Brady experienced, “my friends started telling friends who started telling friends,” she said. She is in the process of developing products for horses as well as cats, “because let’s just admit it, cats are crazy,” she said. Major studies are underway—like one at Colorado State University—to better understand how and why the hemp extracts work on animals. Though approaching CBD from different directions, Kessler, Canideux.com and Donatello all made a point to say that foremost they want to provide quality information. Stay tuned for more information as this industry continues to grow.