Are CBD products in Utah safe to use? Or are retailers just modern day ‘snake oil’ salesmen?

CBD products available at Cloud 9 Vapor, Washington City, Utah, date not specified | Photo by Andrew Pinckney, St. George News

FEATURE — From gummies to lotions and even treats for furry friends, it seems lately that products derived from various chemicals in the cannabis plant are showing up everywhere with claims of a wide array of  benefits. But are they safe to use? And more importantly, do they actually work?

The past 10 years have seen an explosion of interest and research into the possible uses of CBD (cannabidiol), one of over 100 cannabinoid compounds extracted from the cannabis plant.

While another of the plant’s compounds, THC, causes a high when smoked or ingested, the CBD compound is nonpsychoactive and only meant to help your health and overall well-being, said Brendon Gunn, owner of Washington’s Cloud 9 Vapor.

Snake oil or salvation?

Studies on CBDs and other cannabinoids have shown benefits to wellness in many ways, such as improved sleep cycle and pain management, as well as lessened stress, anxiety and inflammation, but with hundreds of different products hitting the shelves recently, Gunn said people are understandably concerned that CBD retailers are just modern day “snake oil” salesmen.

In response to consumer and industry concerns, the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food established a list of rules in May 2018 for the purchase and sale of any CBD items, something which Gunn said has helped relieve some consumer confusion. Every product must now be registered before it can be legally sold by any retailers in the state.

The purpose of the law is to ensure the product is free from harmful contaminants, complies with the state’s labeling requirements and meets all imposed testing standards. In short, the state wants everyone to be assured what they are buying is safe and exactly what they are paying for.

To stay in compliance with the 2018 Farm Bill, President Donald Trump signed into law, all CBD products must remain under 0.3%  THC content in order to meet federal regulations and be sold in the 50 states legally. This low percentage makes it almost completely impossible to get high from the product, Gunn said. For a point of reference, in order to be considered “alcohol-free,” beer may contain up to 0.5% alcohol by volume. 

Full spectrum CBD lotion on sale at Cloud 9 Vapor, date unspecified, Washington City, Utah | Photo by Andrew Pinckney, St. George News

For registration to be considered, retail applicants must submit the product’s intended label and certificate of analysis, which includes the following:

  • Cannabinoid profile by percentage of dry weight.
  • Solvents.
  • Pesticides.
  • Microbial.
  • Heavy metals.
  • Batch identification number.
  • Date received and date of completion.
  • Method of analysis for each test conducted.

Every CBD product must also include on its label a scannable bar code, QR code or online address that links back to the information for easy consumer access.

The department began enforcing the rules in November, and many products have been disappearing from the market, but Gunn said Cloud 9 Vapor has a great selection of quality CBD products that other outlets are no longer able to sell, including vapes, and may be the only place in town to find what you’re looking for.

How it can help

Because the effects of CBD products vary depending on how each person’s body metabolizes the compounds, Cloud 9 cannot make claims CBD will do anything specific for customers, but Gunn said when used as a daily supplement, he has personally seen “astounding” results.

The staff of Cloud 9 Vapor, date unspecified, Washington City, Utah | Photo by Andrew Pinckney, St. George News

A short time ago, he said a good friend came to him seeking help for symptoms related to post-traumatic stress disorder from his years serving in law enforcement. Suffering from difficult sleeping patterns and uncontrollable insomnia, he had tried many different things, including prescription medication, to help his PTSD, but nothing gave him any sort of relief. Usually conservative, at this point he was ready to try anything and Gunn said he immediately gave him a CBD gummy supplement he thought might be able to help.

Within days, Gunn said his friend returned, hopeful, saying, “You have no idea what this is doing for me. I’ve had better sleep and a better calm about me over the last three days that I haven’t experienced in decades.” Now over a month later, his friend said he can’t imagine not having them.

There are many delivery methods for CBD products, including topical solutions such as lotions, body butters and balms; sublingual products that are absorbed orally; capsules and gummies that process through the digestive system; and vape products inhaled through the respiratory system, which Gunn said he personally uses daily and which provide immediate relief from debilitating anxiety symptoms.

The human body is biologically engineered with cannabinoid receptors to process and effectively utilize CBDs, and according to the National Institute of Health, their use can be effective in treating a variety of ailments, including pain, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, ADHD, psoriasis, panic attacks, irritable bowel syndrome, Parkinson’s, acne, diabetes and depression.

Gunn said one of the great benefits of the new Department of Agriculture and Food regulations is having consistent standards and reliable quality, which means his customers know they are getting benefits.

You’re going to want to use really good CBD products to make sure that you’re getting the maximum amount of cannabinoids,” Gunn said, adding that full spectrum items contain several cannabinoids that work in conjunction with each other. His experienced staff can help with any concerns or questions about their products at both their St. George and Mesquite locations.

Besides his personal use, Gunn said his entire family regularly uses several of the products Cloud 9 sells, and he wouldn’t use them if he didn’t feel they were safe and effective. While he never feels any intoxicating effects from it, he said he definitely feels a physical response – more relaxed, focused and a general sense of well-being that sweeps over him that was not present before. For him, the sense of calm and direction are its greatest blessings.

A full listing of registered and legally available CBD products in Utah can be found online.

Cloud 9 Vapor Washington is located at 1055 W. Red Cliffs Drive, Suite B. It is open Monday-Saturday 10 a.m to 9 p.m and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. A second location in Mesquite, Nevada, is located at 114 N. Sandhill Blvd., Unit G.

Written by ANDREW PINCKNEY, St. George News.

Resources

  • Cloud 9 Vapor Washington | Address: 1055 W. Red Cliffs Drive, Suite B, Washington, Utah | Phone: 435-767-1301 | Website.
  • Cloud 9 Vapor Mesquite | Address: 114 N. Sandhill Blvd., Unit G, Mesquite, Nevada | Phone: 702-703-4874 | Facebook.

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