MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It is being called the miracle product to treat everything from anxiety to pain.
There are people who swear CBD oil has changed their life. And then there are those who believe CBD cannot do everything people say it does.
Debbie Clark sits at our dining room table in Cooper City praising CBD oil for giving her back her life.
“So you are a believer?” CBS4 reporter David Sutta asks her.
“Oh my gosh. True believer. It has literally been life altering for me,” Clark responds.
There is no shortage of people like her. Someone with chronic pain who tried everything, and then turned to CBD oil desperate for relief.
She recalls when a friend first told her about it.
“I was like I don’t even know what that is,” said Clark. “I have never heard of it before. So he explained it to me and he was like at this point what do you have to lose? You already are miserable.”
After a few weeks she noticed a change. Today, taking daily does, she says most of her pain is gone.
“It’s not medicine and it’s not a cure all,” Clark said. “But I would have to say 85-90% of my pain is gone. I mean it’s scary but true.”
Clark buys her CBD from Green Roads, a Davie Startup founded by Arby Barroso and Pharmacist Laura Fuentes. Both claim their products are saving lives.
Barroso invited CBS to their distribution facility in Davie. A warehouse that has been expanded several times to handle the booming business.
He opens up a sample package pulls a syringe prefilled with CBD oil and demonstrates how to take it.
“Typically what I will do is I will take this tip off, put it on my tongue. Leave it there for about 10-15 seconds and I’ll consume it,” said Barroso.
The oil is sold in a variety of packages. There is oil, gummies, and capsules lining the warehouse selves.
Laura Fuentes, Green Roads co-founder and pharmacist believes in the products they are producing.
“I absolutely believe in this product,” said Fuentes. “Because I’m seeing the results every day. Every day, I see the results.”
Results, when it comes to CBD, is a tricky subject. We pressed Fuentes to see the results. What she could provide was stories about those who have taken the products.
“All we really have right now, especially on my end, is anecdotal,” she told CBS4.
Barroso added, “We are limited on what we can say what the product can do. Can’t say anything. So it’s kind of like test and trial and see how it works for you. But it is really a supplement. If you go to the gym you might take protein.”
It turns out, aside from one drug used for seizures, the Food and Drug Administration has not approved CBD for anything else.
That means Green Roads or any other company selling CBD cannot legally claim it prevents, diagnoses, treats, or cures anything.
If you take a closer look at what they are selling most of the boxes do not say what the CBD is for.
Their latest product, Max Strength Muscle and Joint Heat Relief, is selling faster than they expected. Yet some of the ingredients in this $85 dollar bottle are identical to what you would find in an $8 dollar tube of Icy Hot.
We asked if the box was claiming the heat relief is coming from CBD or the ingredients also found in products such as Icy Hot. Barroso made it clear they make no claims at all regarding CBD.
“We are not saying CBD is your relief. We are saying heat is the relief. So you have to be extremely, our attorneys guide us in the right direction,” Barroso said.
And what about the suggested serving size on the package? How did they decide how much CBD you should take?
Fuentes says she based the serving on feedback from clients. We asked her directly if it should be considered snake oil or it is product that can help people.
“I have to say on all the anecdotal information we get, we get customers calling all the time, writing us, sending us notes, coming in talk to us, crying as they talk about how this has changed their lives,” Fuentes responded. “I have to say it is definitely real.”
CBS4 reached out to a number of South Florida researchers to see what science has proven regarding CBD. However, there were no experts in the field of either CBD and/or THC.
CBS4 contacted Dr. Kent Hutchinson, a researcher at Colorado University’s REACH center. He is part of a massive project studying the effects of THC and CBD.
When asked what CBD is good for he responded, “We have no idea. Nobody has really. We are really at the beginning of the research on this.”
Despite the marketing of CBD for pain he has found no evidence supporting that.
“I have not seen a single peer reviewed study on only CBD and pain. So there really is no scientific studies on CBD and pain in humans,” Dr. Hutchinson said.
When it comes to anxiety, he knew of two small studies. Again, nothing near the caliber of research that would justify the phenomenon CBD is currently experiencing in the market place.
The main reason there are no or very few studies is CBD has been illegal for many years. The FDA approved it to help with seizures.
But all these stories of cures for pain, sleep, anxiety, diabetes, arthritis and on and on could really be a placebo.
“We know the placebo affect is huge,” explained Dr. Hutchinson. “A placebo can account for as much as 50% of a person’s response to a medication. I think at the end of the day I think you are going to see that CBD is useful for some things. This certainly is not useful for all the things that people say it’s useful for.”
Until the research comes in Hutchinson suggest you use your best judgement.
Meanwhile back at Green Roads, Fuentes is an agreement. The science needs to catch up.
“It is going to take a while before we get good concrete evidence. But it is in the works now, which is amazing,” she said.
Despite the lack of scientific evidence, the CBD craze is taking off. Many people like Clark happy to pay. She holds a small vile in her hand. It is basically her month’s supply.
“This bottle retails for $180 dollars,” said Fuentes. “For me it was well worth it because I don’t have pain anymore.”
The FDA is now paying more attention to CBD oil in light of how hot it has become. At the end of this month, they will be holding public hearings on how it should be regulated.