An alternative medicine, without the high
BY GRIFFIN MESSER-KRUSE
Liver damage, low fever with nausea, stomach pain, loss of appetite and jaundice—these are just a few of the side effects associated with popular over-the-counter pain relievers. Prescription drugs, meanwhile, have their own risk of serious side effects. Kevin Spitler, Toledo native and owner of the Toledo Hemp Center, proposes an alternative: medicines made from industrial hemp products.
“My inspiration came from my mother’s pain from pancreatic cancer,” says Spitler. “Through her fight, I realized that there are lots of people out there who have no idea about the effectiveness of medical cannabis. People don’t realize that hemp has some of the same benefits as marijuana, but without the high.”
Spitler sells industrial hemp products enriched with cannabidiol, or CBD—one of over 60 different cannabinoids found in cannabis. The most well-known cannabinoid, THC, is the chemical responsible for marijuana’s euphoric high. CBD, on the other hand, provides relief for a number of maladies, but without the psychoactive high.
“Most of our supporters come in to find a solution to their pain,” says Spitler. “The vast majority of our [customers] are over 40 years old, with many of them in their 60s, 70s or 80s. CBD products manage pain, act as an excellent anti-inflammatory, help prevent anxiety, and can even provide relief for skin conditions such as psoriasis.”
The Toledo Hemp Center offers many types of CBD products, from vegetable-based tinctures that are ingested under the tongue to CBD-infused body wash, massage oil, tattoo balm and vaporizers that create CBD-infused water vapor. The products are all legal in the United States because CBD is extracted from the industrial hemp plant rather than the marijuana plant.
“The way cannabis is treated in this country is similar to the history of the apple,” says Spitler. “Early Americans relied on the apple to create cider, since the water wasn’t always safe to drink. People eventually got tired of everyone being drunk all the time, so they started a campaign to chop down the apple trees. Most apples in those days were crab apples, sour apples, so instead of eating them people would turn it into a drinkable cider. With the introduction of red, sweet apples, people realized that there are health benefits and that they can enjoy the fruit. By analogy, if marijuana is hard cider then these hemp-based products are the sweet apple that can win society back over.”
Beyond just being an effective alternative treatment for a number of ailments, Spitler believes that hemp-based products can potentially reduce heroin and pain-killer abuse in North America.
“Less pain equals less pills which equals less heroin,” says Spitler. “Many people turn to heroin because of their dependence on prescription drugs. We have had multiple supporters come in and claim that they are completely off of painkillers or anti-anxiety medicine thanks to our products.”
To purchase industrial hemp products, patients need to be over 18 or accompanied by a parent or guardian. No prescription is necessary. For Toledoans looking for a legal way to treat their pain without pharmaceutical pills, CBD-products offer an alternative with significantly less side-effects.