The Williamsburg Drug Company hopes to potentially help area consumers treat ailments with a surprising source: cannabidiol, or CBD oil.
The pharmacy has held three seminars featuring Dr. Alex Capano, a Philadelphia-based nurse practitioner and advocate of the treatment option.
Prior to her most recent lecture Tuesday evening, she made one detail about the oft-misunderstood supplement exceptionally clear: “It’s not medical marijuana. It won’t get you high.”
While CBD oil is derived from marijuana, it lacks the levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, that result in the high typically associated with the plant.
It’s also available legally over-the-counter in Virginia, including at the Williamsburg Drug Company’s McLaws Circle and Mount Vernon Avenue locations.
“The results we’re seeing in our customers are absolutely amazing,” said Lisa Genakos, head of community outreach for the pharmacy. She uses the product herself to control back pain sustained from a car accident.
Capano said she wants to educate people about ways in which the supplement can safely help them feel better. The oil can help treat afflictions such as pain stemming from ailments such as fibromyalgia, arthritis and Crohn’s disease as well as withdrawal symptoms from quitting the likes of cigarettes and opioids.
“It’s fantastic for decreasing dangerous medications, like opioids,” Capano said. “You’re not just substituting one addiction or dependency for another.”
CBD oil is non-addictive and there’s no possibility of overdosing — although too much oil might make for one upset stomach. It lacks the psychoactive side effects of THC intake, including intoxication and the potential for anxiety and psychosis. The World Health Organization also touts its safety.
Capano acknowledged that it’s a hotly debated issue, and it’s intriguing the Williamsburg community. Tuesday’s seminar saw 235 people sign up to come out and explore the topic at the presentation at the Williamsburg Community Building.
Capano said the current lack of regulation can make buying effective CBD oil tricky, especially when the source isn’t an informed medical professional. She likened the current market to the wild West, but much like those early settlers who tamed the wilderness, there’s the potential for much to be gained from exploring available options.
“This isn’t a cure-all for everyone or everything, but often, it’s a very good supplement,” Capano said.
Birkenmeyer can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 757-790-3029 or on Twitter @sethbirkenmeyer.