Taking the mysteries out of CBD

Tom Polyniak, manager of Bluegrass Hemp Oil in Spokane Valley, hopes to educate shoppers about the benefits of CBD oil. (Linda Ball / Evercannabis Correspondent)

In the brave new world of legal cannabis, something called CBD is receiving more attention. But at the same time, CBD can create confusion among newer consumers and even some lawmakers who aren’t sure whether to treat it differently than other forms of cannabis.

CBD is one of the naturally occurring, non-psychoactive molecular compounds called cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. There are more than 100 of these, including THC, short for tetrahydrocannabinol, which causes the more recognizable mental and physical “high” that many users enjoy.

Many of today’s plant strains have been bred or evolved to offer larger percentages of THC. But hemp and cannabis plants and extracted products from them are also available with higher amounts of CBD, which are known to provide pain relief without the other effects.

Tom Polyniak, manager of the Bluegrass Hemp Oil store location in Spokane Valley, said CBDs have been found to be useful for a variety of physical ailments, as well as overall health.

The shop sells a variety of products made from non-industrial hemp, which legally can’t contain any more than .3 percent THC.

The staff also has personal reasons for wanting to help the community – CBDs have already helped their family.

In 2009, Tom’s brother Bill and sister-in-law Adriane were looking for ways to help their 3-year son Colten, who began experiencing debilitating seizures.

He was eventually diagnosed with idiopathic generalized epilepsy, and was prescribed a number of pharmaceuticals. Polyniak said the first drug, Keppra, didn’t stop the seizures. The cocktail of pharmaceuticals completely changed Colten’s personality and caused cognitive delays. A medicine called Depakote was believed to cause organ failure.

The family, who lives in Kentucky, was told by their doctor to “prepare a room for him long-term and you will bury him someday.” This prompted them to get a new doctor who prescribed a different medicine that reduced seizures but still altered his personality.

The Polyniaks continued to pursue other options, including cannabis.

In 2013, the Kentucky Legislature passed a bill to allow hemp growing. The federal Farm Bill of 2014 also allowed hemp to be legally cultivated in states that had already legalized it.

When that law took effect, the Polyniaks began cultivating and producing high-quality CBD oil from American hemp grown on a farm. The product wasn’t just for Colten, but anyone who could benefit from CBD oil.

The family harvests cannabis flower, extracts the cannabinoid content and packages the oil for shipment to individuals and retailers around the country, including the Spokane area.

Today, Colten, who turned 13 in June, has been taking CBD oil since 2014. He doesn’t take any other medications and is four years seizure-free, living a normal life, doing great in school, his mom said.

“We knew this could be a business,” Adrian Polyniak said. “We wanted to create the highest quality product we could for our son and for other kids.”

She said their hemp oil has been reported to help kids on the autism spectrum and people with anxiety. Some customers with Type II diabetes said the CBD products help regulate their blood sugar levels.

“One patient stopped using 10 pharmaceuticals and is using one CBD product. He had high blood pressure, diabetes and heart conditions,” she said.

Tom Polyniak was a good choice to locate, open and operate the Spokane Valley location, Adrian said.

“He’s seen the effect CBD has had on his nephew,” she said.

Bluegrass Hemp Oil uses a proprietary blend that incorporates three varieties of the hemp plant. Products include Genesis Blend of CBD oil, Genesis capsules, and popular bath soaks, which contain CBD, essential oils and Epsom salts.

The company also sells hemp soap, and CBD-infused Body Budder that is said to help with sore backs and arthritis.

“This never would have happened if my nephew hadn’t had the seizures,” Tom said.