By Joyce Reingold
The Delray Shores Pharmacy and Soda Fountain on Northeast Fifth Avenue is a bright, cheerful family affair owned and operated by second-generation pharmacist T.J. Dildine.
Inside the Art Deco-style building, Dildine greets pharmacy patrons by name while his wife, Rhyan, helms the old-timey soda fountain. Together their goal is to serve customers by offering the best of the old and the new.
That vision has come into focus at the lunch counter, where diners can choose a traditional tuna salad sandwich, or a cannabidiol-infused ice cream treat, soda or brownie from the “Adulting” menu — just for the 21-and-older set.
The store carries a curated selection of traditional drugstore items, while on the pharmacy counter, CBD gummies, salves and tinctures from brands like Ananda Professional and Funky Farms await interested customers. “Ask us about CBD!” a sign says.
The Delray Beach pharmacy is one of a growing number of retail and online businesses selling the hemp derivative to consumers who have heard CBD may provide relief for ailments ranging from anxiety to pain.
Now that the 2018 Farm Bill has recognized hemp as an agricultural commodity, and delisted it as a controlled substance, some experts predict CBD is on its way to becoming a $22 billion industry. However, health departments in some municipalities, like New York City, have ordered restaurants to stop selling CBD-infused foods.
“This is just getting started,” affirms CBD enthusiast Josh Hoffman, who with business partner Sal Mirtalebi owns and operates Health Synergy, a Boca Raton-based company that offers a full line of CBD products from its storefront on North Federal Highway. “Cannabis is the new everything.
“These oils will be in every single product that you use, from your beverages to your makeup, to your shampoo, to your soap to your pet products, to your vitamins, to every single thing under the sun.”
CBD is a cannabinoid found in hemp and marijuana, both of which come from the Cannabis sativa family. Hemp has a high concentration of CBD and, unlike its cousin marijuana, has low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive agent that causes euphoria.
Hemp’s THC concentration is .3 percent or less. “That’s what keeps these products legal” says Hoffman. “Marijuana, it could be up to 30 percent.”
Hoffman and Mirtalebi also operate ALLleaf, a medical cannabis education and certification center.
At Delray Shores, T.J. Dildine says customers curious about CBD often are dealing with “chronic pain, anything inflammatory in nature, arthritis, autoimmune conditions, fibromyalgia, insomnia, anxiety. Those are certainly the most common conditions where we see patients looking for an alternative option.”
In research, CBD has shown promise in treating seizures, leading to U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of Epidiolex (cannabidiol), a medication for patients with two rare forms of epilepsy.
Other small-scale studies have suggested CBD may have anti-anxiety properties and the ability to reduce inflammation. More research is ongoing for the CBD-curious, and much more research is needed. And it’s always a good idea to check with your pharmacist or physician.
Lynn, a Boynton Beach resident in her 30s, did just that. With her doctor’s OK, she added CBD to the mix of medications she takes for inflammation, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis and pain.
“The first night I took it, I was able to get a good night’s sleep. When I woke up, I wasn’t groggy and had relief,” she says. (We’re using Lynn’s first name only, for privacy reasons.)
Now she takes CBD nightly and says she has decreased her prescription drug use. “It’s helped with pain and inflammation, and it’s helped me with sleep and anxiety.”
CBD comes in different strengths, formulations and forms, but if you plan to try it, before deciding between oil or a capsule, Hoffman says there’s a more important place to start.
“The first question you should always ask: Does this product have a third-party lab analysis? If it doesn’t, conversation’s over because you don’t know what’s in it.”
Health Synergy’s products are third-party tested twice, he says. The entire Delray Shores CBD lineup is third-party tested as well.
Dildine begins conversations with new customers by explaining the formulations.
“I think the oils, the tinctures, have a lot more flexibility with dosing,” he says. “We tend to recommend a starting dose of 10 to 15 milligrams a day in the evening, just to kind of see how their body responds. And depending on what they’re using it for, if they want to increase the dose after a period of time, or incorporate a daytime dose as well, we certainly can do that. It’s very individualized.”
Hoffman says a month’s supply averages $80, but it varies by customer. “And that’s not to say this is like a miracle silver bullet, you know, a one size fits all. It’s an adjunct. You’ve got to be eating healthy, you’ve got to have enough sleep. It’s never one thing. But in conjunction with other things, it can be pretty powerful.”
The Farm Bill that legalized hemp recognized the FDA as the regulatory body for products containing CBD, and the next few years are likely to be lively as boundaries are defined and tested. Today, many working in the CBD space cite “gray areas.”
But there is at least one non-gray area: The FDA prohibits manufacturers from making health claims about CBD products. “This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease” is common terminology on the websites of CBD purveyors.
“The FDA has sent warning letters in the past to companies illegally selling CBD products that claimed to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure serious diseases, such as cancer,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said in a statement.
As Funky Farms explains on its website: “We are not allowed to make medical claims regarding CBD, but encourage you to do your own research and reading online and offline to find the answer. What we can tell you is that CBD is a very interesting discovery, indeed.”
Joyce Reingold writes about health and healthy living. Send column ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.