For years, Lussel Mata couldn’t find any relief for chronic pain or anxiety.
Then she discovered CBD – which stands for cannabidiol – and has not looked back. She said the substance has changed her life and she’s using that experience to join a nationwide movement.
Mata is the owner of Sacred Leaf Zero in Missouri City, where the store opened just last month. The sale of CBD products is fast becoming a booming business in Fort Bend County and beyond, with the industry expected to be worth $646 million by 2022, according to the Hemp Business Journal.
There are Sacred Leaf stores in Sugar Land and Missouri City, and shops such as Edgy Smoke and Vape in Stafford and Sugar Land Smoke Shop and CBD, that sell or specialize in CBD products.
“Even if you’re naturally healthy, you can still benefit from the supplement,” Mata said. “Anything that’s attacking your nervous system, the components have extraordinary benefits.”
CBD comes from the hemp plant and is different than marijuana, which comes from the same plant species. The national Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, otherwise known as the Farm Bill, legalized the regulated production of hemp and also stated the Food and Drug Administration will regulate CBD production.
Then, in June, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed House Bill 1325 into law, allowing farmers in Texas to grow hemp products with regulations. The law says products containing CBD can be sold legally so long as they contain no more than 0.3 percent of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
Early returns are positive for some in the area.
Fort Bend County resident Amanda Lunsford said on Facebook that she initially began using CBD to treat her dog’s aggression toward other dogs before learning of its benefits regarding her own sleeplessness and anxiety.
“CBD has been life changing for me,” she said.
In another comment on Facebook, Beth Pegues said, “Since I started using CBD oil about three weeks ago I haven’t had one moment of anxiety since. I also had a sinus issue for three years that nothing helped. It’s now almost completely cleared up. I had a small amount of soreness and stiffness in my knees and feet and that’s completely gone. I sleep more deeply. Minor irritations don’t bother me anymore. I’m sold.”
While the use of CBD products has become more popular, the practice does not come without questions.
Marcel Bonn-Miller, an adjunct assistant professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, called the CBD trade the “Wild West” in a 2018 WebMD article titled, “CBD Oil: All the Rage, But Is It Safe & Effective?”
“Joe Bob who starts up a CBD company could say whatever he wants on a label and sell it to people,” Bonn-Miller said.
However, Harvard Medical School instructor Peter Grinspoon said in a 2018 article entitled “Cannabidiol (CBD) – what we know and what we don’t,” that there is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD according to a report from the World Health Organization, as long as it’s used and sold responsibly.
“We need more research but CBD may prove to be an option for managing anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain,” he wrote.
Mata initially began using CBD to treat her own chronic pain and anxiety, which led her down the path to owning the Lawrence, Kansas-based franchise’s store. Sacred Leaf offers edibles, oils, creams and other products – which she said don’t contain a trace of THC – for those who can’t or don’t wish to use over-the-counter opioids and treatments for pain, anxiety, inflammation and other ailments.
CBD is a supplement that tells your body what to do by working with the natural endocannabinoid system in our bodies, Mata said.
Basically, she said CBD doesn’t do the job, but tells the body how to work with itself to do the job.
“What people miss (on CBD) is that it can be a natural supplement for your daily improvement,” Mata said. “We have an endocannabinoid system that we’re born with. Those receptors work well with CBD, so when we start taking CBD, we naturally kick-start that system we already have.”
Lunsford said her sister-in-law had debilitating migraines but has not suffered any since beginning to take CBD products two months ago. Lunsford also said her mom has used CBD to help control her dog’s seizures.
“In May I began using CBD on a daily basis. With constant body aches, depression and anxiety, I would sometimes take 8-10 Advil a day to get through the day,” she said. “Since May, I have not taken anything for pain. I feel amazing, I am happy and I am sleeping well.”
However, some users and medical experts advise due diligence before trying CBD products.
“Without sufficient high-quality evidence in human studies we can’t pinpoint effective doses. … It’s difficult to know exactly what you are getting,” wrote Grinspoon, also a physician who practices at Massachusetts General Hospital. “If you decide to try CBD, talk with your doctor — if for no other reason than to make sure it won’t affect other medications you are taking.”
In light of her experiences, Lunsford said she has begun selling CBD products online. She advised beginning with small doses.
“It is very important to read the label on your CBD,” she said. “There should not be any fillers like coconut oil, Xylitol, or alcohol in your CBD.”
Users such as Clint Starrett, owner of the Sacred Leaf store in Sugar Land, say the side effects are minimal and that those using them barely feel any effects. So he said it’s as good an attempt as any for those who no longer wish to use over-the-counter options for help.
“We’re here to educate. We’re not trying to upsell anybody on anything. It’s not a cure-all. It just helps put your body into balance. If you’re in pain, and modern medicine hurts you, you have to open up your mind,” said Starrett, who discovered CBD and opened his store after it treated his mother’s arthritis. “If you tried and it doesn’t work, fine. At least you tried it.”