“People are using it and people should continue to have access to it,” said Geoff Whaling, chairman of the National Hemp Association. “But wouldn’t we all like to know what we’re taking is what is claimed on the label?”
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LOS ANGELES — Greg and Gary Avetisyan make no secret of it: They proudly sell all manner of products infused with CBD, from essential oils to bath bombs to fruity tealike beverages that promise calming relief in a frantic world.
Regardless of the law, CBD continues to develop a reputation as a remedy to dozens of ailments, even though just one purported use for the extract — to treat epilepsy — has scientific evidence supporting it.
The Avetisyan brothers’ belief in the alleged benefits of the extract is so steadfast that they opened California’s first CBD-only store, Topikal, in Tarzana last year and opened a second along the Venice Beach boardwalk in April.
Eppers said that despite these bureaucratic challenges, the company is still doing well and will not stop making the CBD drink. His lawyers contend that he is within his legal rights to do so. They point to Proposition 64, which not only legalized the recreational use of marijuana but also contained provisions authorizing the commercial production of industrial hemp in California.
The Avetisyan brothers are riding that wave, but say they would welcome regulation on any level — state or federal.
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"It's a Wild West, it's buyer beware. There's hundreds of these websites making all kinds of claims from A to Z," Busse said. "And it's left to the consumer to somehow sort all this out."
In fact, the CBC lawyers advising on this story said that Marketplace could not legally test black market products because it would mean breaking laws that police controlled substances. It's a hurdle tripping up many Canadian researchers — and it means no one really knows what is in the illicit CBD being sold.
'We've got very little evidence'
Busse says because CBD is regulated as a controlled substance, which puts it in the same legal category as drugs like fentanyl, he and other researchers have run into the same legal hurdles as the CBC in their attempts to test black market CBD products.
Unlike in the U.S., CBD is a controlled substance in Canada; it is considered among drugs the government thinks can be addictive or potentially abused. These include illegal street drugs and prescription medication. CBD was lumped in with THC when cannabis was legalized in Canada in 2018.
Thriving black market full of misleading health claims, potentially contaminated products
So when palliative care veterinarian Dr. Sarah Silcox was called to help Robyn Golding find an end-of-life treatment for Golding's dog, Georgia, Silcox could only offer "guidance" and dosage help. Silcox recommended Golding try CBD, and suggested human CBD from a legal dispensary on the nine-year-old Shiloh Shepherd.