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Could a cannabis cousin change your life? - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Could a cannabis cousin change your life?

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

For many of us if we had an ache or pain, we wouldn't hesitate to pop an ibuprofen. What if you could find relief in a form of cannabis. Would that influence your decision? And we're not talking about medical marijuana. Anyone can buy this and stores are popping up all over.

It looks like pot. It smells a lot like pot, but this is not pot. It's actually a cannabis cousin.

"People associate cannabis with getting high," said Shayne Lynn from Ceres Natural Remedies. 

That won't happen with hemp. It still has THC. But it's low and neutralized by the other component in the plant called cannabidiol or CBD. The compound is being touted by some as a natural anti-inflammatory that can also help with seizures, depression and anxiety.

"One of the best ways to get CBD into your system is through a capsule form," said Chris Copley. 

We visited a Burlington shop selling it. A year ago that wasn't an option in Vermont.  

"A lot of athletes use this. Muscle freeze," said Chris. 

We found CBD in the form of patches, pills, tinctures and topicals. 

"We are really excited by it. It's a real change that's occurring throughout the country in recognizing the benefits of CBD. It's kind of still a new field," said Lynn. 

Reporter Jennifer Costa: If this is a legitimate business, why is it cash only? It makes it feel like something is wrong.

Lynn: I agree. The larger banks and credit cards companies are still shy to get into this industry.

Lynn is not a newcomer to the world of weed. He runs the Champlain Valley Dispensary, an outlet for medical marijuana. Ten months ago he added Ceres Natural Remedies, recognizing a market demand for CBD specifically.

"What we learned is that people were really interested in trying CBD products and they didn't necessarily want to sign up with the state to get their ID to go into the dispensary, to buy cannabis products, marijuana products," said Lynn.

"It took a lot for me to try this, but it wasn't without doing my research," said Amy Bertrand, CBD user. 

Four years ago Bertrand, an adventure athlete, was thrown over her handlebars during a mountain biking trip. 

"I've always refused to take anything," said Bertrand.

Chronic pain took over her life -and threatened to end her active lifestyle. She tried physical therapy and chiropractors with little relied. And then Bertrand discovered CBD.

"This is a game changer," said Bertrand. 

She takes one capsule before bed. Nine months later she tells us she's at the top of her game.
   
Costa: Do you feel any sort of high? 

Bertrand: Nothing at all. 

Many of these products are not from Vermont. So how do they get here legally? What we found out is that in order to be shipped across state lines they must be derived from hemp and be below .3% THC.

The Food and Drig Administration is currently reviewing scientific data on CBD. So far the regulatory group has not come out with a clear stance.

"If you have the opportunity to talk to your health care professional, you should always talk to them," said Lynn.

UVM Medical Center and the Vermont Health Department declined our requests to weigh in on the efficacy and safety of CBD.

"I don't feel at all uncomfortable about using it or encouraging others to use it," said Bertrand. 

As for Bertrand, she has all the evidence she needs.

"Everybody probably is going to have a different reaction, what I can say is that it's been able to really hand me back a huge part of my life," said Bertrand. 

It's still unclear to us whether CBD would show up on a drug test for THC. We got conflicting answers to that question\.

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