The Long Island Capital Alliance (LICA) gathered investors and cannabis businesses in Melville, New York for the Cannabis Capital Forum on Friday Dec. 7.
Newsday reported that among the businesses and trends presented at the forum, CBD was the most prevalent.
Attorney Neil Kaufman, 58, of Dix Hills, NY, has been a member of LICA for 25 years and has invested in CBD companies and products, but not exclusively. He seeks “optimal returns wherever they may be” and believes that “CBD is exploding all over.”
“There are a great many CBD companies being started and many companies getting into CBD, including on Long Island,” Kaufman said.
CBD is a chemical found in marijuana plants that has recently exploded in popularity. Research thus far suggests that CBD, officially known as cannabidiol, potentially has an array of medicinal uses including reducing or curing anxiety, inflammatory, pain, tumors, psychotic episodes, seizures and substance abuse disorders.
“I do not have any bad experiences,” Jacqueline Walker, 21, of Smithtown, NY, who uses CBD to relieve stress, said. “My best experiences involve a significant reduce in anxiety.”
In December of 2017, the World Health Organization officially recommended that CBD should not be internationally scheduled as a controlled substance. Countries who have eased CBD regulations are Australia, Canada, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and now the United States.
Currently, CBD is illegal at the federal level because it is derived from marijuana, which under the Controlled Substances Act, is a Schedule I drug — a drug that has no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.
CBD can also be ingested with edibles, topicals, vapables and smokeables.
“I generally recommend first-time users to come in and try the tinctures because they are the most efficient way to get the medication,” Ian Davies, who works at Utopia Clothing store, which is also a smoke shop, in Centereach, NY said.
A self-proclaimed “bud-tender,” Davies likes to use CBD tinctures once in the morning and vapes throughout the day if he feels inflammation, pain or anxiety.
Craig Zaffe, a Cold Spring Harbor resident and hemp advocate, calls CBD a “miracle drug.” In 1973, Zaffe graduated from SUNY Farmingdale with a degree in agriculture and a focus in soil science. In the past five years, Zaffe has done research on hemp and CBD, created two informative websites for CBD and makes, sells and uses CBD products himself — he even makes CBD products for dogs and cats.
“There are two things you can control in your life: what you put in your body and how you take care of your backyard,” Zaffe, 68, said. “You can make that decision consciously that ‘I don’t want to use any poisons in my backyard.’ I want to have the safest environment not only for my family, my pets, but also overall life.”
He has smoked marijuana since 1966. He uses CBD tinctures — oil usually taken orally under the tongue — and balms, which he uses when his back goes out or if he has sore muscles. He also takes CBD capsules every day.
There has been a recent push to legalize industrial hemp. Hemp comes from a variety of Cannabis sativa bred to contain more CBD than delta-nine-tetrahydrocannabinol, THC, the psychoactive chemical in marijuana that makes users feel “high.” For hemp to be considered industrial hemp, it must contain .3 percent or less of the THC chemical. This extremely small amount of THC, allows industrial hemp to not be classified as marijuana, which is why states are pushing to legalize and cultivate it.
Industrial hemp can be used in over 25,000 products in nine major markets including agriculture, construction, personal care and food. According to the Brightfield Group, a market research company, the CBD business is growing faster than marijuana and will soon be a $22 billion industry.
At the state level, CBD and its products specifically derived from industrial hemp — not marijuana or regular hemp — are legal and able to be sold in states that have legalized industrial hemp.
As of 2018, at least 41 states have passed legislation related to industrial hemp and at least 39 states have allowed for hemp cultivation and production programs.
In New York State, universities and the government are allowed to cultivate industrial hemp if it is part of an agricultural pilot program. Within the state, the commissioner of agriculture and markets is allowed to authorize up to 10 hemp-growing sites. The commissioner also develops regulations for the acquisition and possession of industrial hemp seeds.
It is currently unknown how exactly CBD works, why it works, how to price it, how it interacts with other drugs and the dosage per ailment and person.
According to Harvard Medical School, side effects of using CBD can possibly include nausea, fatigue, irritability, and a rise in the natural blood thinner Coumadin and a rise in other medication levels in the blood.
This year, the FDA approved its first CBD-containing drug, Epidiolex. This drug is taken orally for the treatment of two forms of childhood epilepsy.
Results from clinical trials showed that the Epidiolex was effective at reducing seizures when taken with other drugs, Like all epilepsy drugs, Epidiolex must be dispensed with a patient medication guide that describes its uses and risks.
CannaGather is the largest cannabis industry community in New York and New Jersey and is made up of over 6,000 cannabis industry leaders and newcomers.
They provide education and networking events. As a sponsor, Craig Zaffe will have a table to promote and sell his CBD products and will speak for a few minutes at their upcoming event Tuesday night, Dec. 11, at the Galvanize Center in Lower Manhattan.
“I truly feel that CBD is the elixir of life,” Zaffe said. “I think that everyone can benefit from using them.”