WARREN, Vt. — Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a non-psychoactive compound that is found in cannabis plants. If the psychoactive THC is the ‘Yin’, then CBD is the ‘Yang.’ As Chris Copley, Retail Manager at the Champlain Valley Dispensary and CVD Shop in Burlington described to Heady Vermont in October 2016:
““Basically the way that I talk about CBD is that it is like a see-saw, it’s the opposite of THC–everything that THC does, CBD does the opposite. That’s kind of a rudimentary way of talking about it, but it’s a place to start. There are so many different things that CBD has been implicated in, in terms of treatment, many of which can be made worse by THC.” For more background read “Top Cannabis and PTSD Researcher From Veterans’ Affairs Shares New Research at VT Dispensary.”
Much of the original popularity of CBD came from its usage in treating specific neurological disorders in youth and adolescent patients, such as those suffering from Dravet’s Syndrome (watch “Medicine for Maitri“, a 2014 news story produced by WCAX about a young VT patient) and other forms of epilepsy using products such as Charlotte’s Web (recently rebranded as “CW”).
While people like the Stanley Brothers were some of the first pioneers to popularize the non-psychoactive therapeutic possibilities of CBD over the past decade, the consumer market is presently exploding:
Forbes recently cited the Hemp Business Journal report indicating that CBD consumer market will grow from $90 Million in 2015 to over $2.1 Billion by 2020, an increase of 700%.
Today, the CBD industry is bridging the gap into more general neutraceutical and natural health care purposes and being marketed for more mainstream, natural healthcare applications, from reducing inflammation and soreness for athletes to easing joint pain caused by arthritis, to boutique pet products to overall general wellness.
From a marketing perspective, CBD has the sexiness of a natural health care product that includes the hot ‘new’ herb du jour (think acai berry, pomegranate, echinacea, all of which have legitimate naturopathic uses, but have enjoyed meteoric rises driven in part by marketing and the never-ending zeitgeist for the new all natural ‘super food’ or plant compound.
Still, CBD is viewed as much more than just hype by a growing number of serious scientists and researchers from Illinois to Israel who point to the neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, and anti-anxiety properties without the psychoactive properties of THC, but possibly even stronger anti-oxidative properties. When compiling the different research examining applications from treating dementia to traumatic brain injuries to arthritis, Leafly Science and Tech writer Jeremy Kossen mused that CBD “could be as close to a ‘magic bullet’ as we have right now.”
So with all of the hype building and with Heady Vermont starting to review CBD products, I decided to try one of these products myself and check what the hype is all about. It’s important to note that everyone is unique and that I am NOT a licensed medical professional providing medical advice. In terms of my personal profile as the test subject, I’d say that I’m in pretty average health for a Vermonter: a few extra beers, the occasional cigarette on the back deck of a bar, the occasional cheeseburger…but overall, I’m blessed to not have any major lingering injuries, allergies, or debilitating diseases and after just hitting 60 days of snowboarding today, the calves are at least looking good even if the winter love handles are still there.
I’ve got a high familiarity with THC in all kinds of forms, but no previous experiences using manufactured CBD products, and certainly not before in an environment where I could test a product accurately (read: was already way too stoned). But for this first product review, I wanted to give the Mary’s Medicinals CBD Transdermal Patch a truly fair shot with a clear head and a set environment—in this case, the day I chose was a mid-week powder day when I had the chance to meet up with a close friend and fellow powder hound at a Vermont ski area.
As we met up in the lodge and I pulled out the thin clean package and handed another to my skiing and testing buddy. Aside from being super allergic to gluten, he’s even healthier than me and it’s also his first time trying the CBD patch, so I relay to him the short version of what I had been told at the Ceres Shop on the Burlington Bike Path, where I had picked them up: “we’re supposed to feel it taking effect pretty quickly after we put them on, but not like a high or a numbness”
We peeled off the patches and applied them to our wrists (wrists or top of feet were suggested, I took a little liberty and went farther up the forearm as I was nervous about ripping it off taking mittens on/off) and hopped on the chairlift, stoked for a smooth powder turns. On the lift ride up for our first run, I shared a little more background with my buddy (also pretty familiar with THC but new to CBD and ongoing research) about some of the different kinds of cannabinoids, the compounds found in cannabis plants. While THC is the most commonly-known, it’s actually CBD, which is the most versatile and promising in terms of potential applications.
Almost all cannabinoids have analgesic (pain-killing) properties and have also been proven to help reduce inflammation and soreness, which is one of the main reasons for a non-medical marijuana patient to use a legal CBD product.
For our first time using the Mary’s Medicinals time-released CBD patches before a full day of exercise, we were thinking that best-case scenario, we’d be able to prevent and delay the fatigue and soreness that come with skiing/riding in a foot of fresh snow and really maximize our powder day in terms of our physical performance and stamina. As two full-time ski resort employees in the middle of the season, our legs were both in top skiing/riding shape for our respective 30-year old frames, but I wondered if the CBD would have a noticeable impact at all. There aren’t any negative side effects of CBD of which I’ve ever read, and it’s not psychoactive or capable of causing paranoia, so while I had nothing to lose on my powder day, I soon learned how much I had to gain.
Somehow, shredding pow at @sugarbush_vt with #headyshreddy team rider, @headygnar802 felt even better rocking the @marysnutritionals patches 🙏💚🏂⛷ First time trying a #cbd patch was ✅We got after it all day hammering pow stashes in the woods and felt great! Most noticeable: sat down for #beers and hour later, none of that inflammation or soreness in the knees; went even harder in the PM and legs still feel good 5hrs later 👊 👀these #marysmedicinals and #VT @greenmountaincbd products at @cvdvt shop in #btv #vt
By the time that my friend and I completed our first and got on the chairlift for our second run, I already felt like I had discovered and unlocked a new gear and gotten an immediate boost in body, mind, and spirit. On top of the powder-induced adrenaline and natural high, I felt an extra psychological boost and slight effect—it wasn’t quite a high, but did give me an extra feeling of ‘lightness’ as I smiled to myself. Whooping back at someone cutting a fresh track below the lift, I turned back to my partner in the experiment and asked if he was feeling anything yet? He smirked and paused trying to find the words to describe the new sensations and in his best Jeff Spicoli impression, replied “everything just feels really, really good”…
As the day went on, the patch stayed consistent in terms of the elevated feeling and extra energy, which definitely allowed us to get in more and better runs, while also enjoying the anti-anxiety effects of CBD and focusing on the beautiful conditions and natural setting around us. Our lunch break was quick, but I remarked out loud that my feet and legs still felt fresh when we sat down, and when we stood up from the bar stools to head back to the slopes, instead of a heavy or sore feeling, I only felt the adrenaline and anticipation of getting back out as quickly as possible…
In the afternoon, I couldn’t believe my luck in choosing that day for testing the patch as I had an opportunity to take a guided run with ski legend (literally, he’s in the Hall of Fame) John Egan as part of a media promotion. Not usually one to snowboard in large groups when I’m on the hill, I have participated in a few skiing media tours in the past, and when you’re with competitors and peers, there’s usually either a sense of competition or intimidation, depending on the circumstances. This day, I was confident and energized, not nervous or paranoid about snowboarding with a hall-of-fame guide on his home mountain. Physically, I felt in complete control of the snowboard and focused popping off of natural features and carving deep soft turns underneath the Slidebrook lift, and when we paused halfway through the run to check on the rest of the group and head into the woods, the muscle tension and burning in the legs and knees was almost nonexistent!
By 3pm it was time to hit the road back up to the Northeast Kingdom, where I spent much of my 90 minute drive considering my experience and wondering why I had been so skeptical about the potential of CBD when a good number of smart and healthy people I know had not only told me they believed in the hype around CBDs and were using them, but were using them daily. As I looked at my Mary’s Medicinals patch, still soundly and comfortably stuck on my upper wrist, I thought about how to describe this new door that had been opened and received a text from my skiing partner thanking me again and asking me where to get more of the patches that had blown his mind. I laughed and told him I had been thinking the same thing and that I was pumped for Heady Vermont to start sharing CBD experiences and CBD product reviews from real Vermonters so we could really see what’s out there.
It’s safe to say that I’ll be meeting Mary’s Medicinals patches again in the near future, and am even more excited to explore the potential of CBD products as we look at all facets of the cannabis plant and it’s evolving role in our lives.
Product: Mary’s Medicinals Transdermal CBD Patch (10mg)
Cost: $10 per patch; use a full one the first time, then they can be cut in half instead of using full twelve hour dose)
Where to buy: Ceres Natural Remedies, Burlington Bike Path | 1 Steele Street | Burlington, VT 05401 | 844-789-9333