John Nix: The medicine
If you mention the word "hemp" in Eastern North Carolina, you’ll get one of two reactions -- one of approval or a funny look. In my first column on industrial hemp at NeuseNews.com, we discussed the many uses of the hemp plant. In this column, the focus will be on “The Medicine” or hemp extract used for its medicinal value.
The extract comes from the flower of the hemp plant. Through individual protected methods the extract from the flower is suspended in selected oils and applied sublingually or ingested by other means.
The extract is Cannabidiols or CBD and can be infused into tinctures, topicals or edibles. The flower can also be smoked. Additionally, the seeds are rich in protein.
Hemp oil, the flower and the entire plan has been used for thousands of years. U.S. Federal law allows no more than 0.3 percent THC in these plants for them to be legal and allowed for trade.
Growers use special hybrid plants that are bred to produce the limited amounts of THC and higher CBD. There are protected methods each producer uses to get the best quality yield and extraction from the plant.
When I say "protected", I mean these signature methods are kept secret and growers do not talk about them publicly or amongst themselves.
What makes the hemp extract medicinal?
I sat down with a local hemp farmer, Gator Williams, this week at his farm west of Kinston. Gator is one of 11 licensed hemp farmers in Lenoir County and founder of Lazy Gator Hemp Farm. He and his wife Tracie, along with Chris and Jessica Seymour and Tommy Parker, comprise Lazy Gator Hemp Farms.
Photos by John Nix and Lazy Gators Hemp Farm at Lazy Gators Hemp Farm.
Gator talked about "The Medicine," stating there are literally too many medicinal uses for CBD to name, but topping the list would be:
- reducing inflammation
- pain management
- improved quality of sleep
- reduced anxiety and depression
- suppressed seizure activity
- improvement in a variety of chronic illnesses like Chrohn’s disease and multiple sclerosis
- used in treatment of certain types of cancer
CBD oil is documented to have helped with all of these problems. Gator has seen first-hand the positive effects on slow healing wounds from diabetic patients. Personally, I have heard testimonies from several cancer patients regarding the healing effects of CBD oil.
CBD positively affects the body’s natural endocannabinoid system. Endocannabinoids and their receptors are found in many places in bodies. CBD binds with these receptors and signals the body to produce more cannabinoids. By doing so, it helps the body reach homeostasis or internal stability.
It is believed the body may even learn to produce more natural cannabinoids by using less CBD products over time. The introduction of CBD helps balance the body's immune system. Cannabinoids have antioxidant properties and produce a healing effect in many cases.
Gator is looking for qualified growers and provides consulting services. He and his company are leading a movement to unlock the potential for this cash crop in Lenoir County and the surrounding area. Educating the public, law enforcement, and law makers about the difference in the hemp plant extracts and the higher THC Cannabis plant could help industrial hemp become a boon for Lenoir County.
You can visit their website at www.lazygatorshempfarm.com for further information. Information can also be obtained by visiting N.C. Department of Agriculture information page on the Hemp Pilot Program at www.ncagr.gov/hemp.
In my next column we will focus on understanding the laws surrounding this mysterious medicinal plant.