Legal cannabis industry comes to Cleveland

Legal cannabis industry comes to Cleveland

All photos by Sydney Pressley.

A recently opened Cannabidiol (CBD) oil dispensary in downtown Cleveland sells cannabis products some believe to be the future of wellness.

CBD is derived from hemp, a cannabis plant product that does not contain Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which gives the psychoactive “high” effect.

Bienestar CBD specializes in cannabis products that may provide pain management, ease anxiety and improve general wellness.  

CBD can be ingested through vaping, chocolate, soaps, capsules, tinctures and other forms.

Bethany Coleman is the manager of the Bienestar Cleveland location.

“What makes us stand apart is quality and our approach to wellness, not just a product,” Coleman said. “We’re not doctors. We can’t make any medical claims. CBD is something that reacts to everyone in a different way. But the overwhelming response is that it works.”

Bienestar has been open since February 2019. The store would not have been possible before the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalizes the cultivation and sale of hemp at the federal level, according to an article by the Farm Bureau.

“The hemp industry is blowing up. It’s so up and coming, and it’s on the cusp of doctor knowledge,” Coleman said. “There still is a detachment from medical practice. I haven’t seen a prescription, but I have had people whose doctor recommended them to come (to Bienestar).”

Hemp has anti-inflammatory ingredients that can ease various symptoms. CBD influences the body to use its own naturally occurring cannabinoids more effectively, which may regulate sleep, pain and autoimmune responses.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has only approved one prescription containing CBD— Epidiolex—to “treat rare, severe forms of epilepsy.” The FDA reports it has “not approved any other CBD products, and there is very limited available information about CBD, including its effects on the body.”

Clinical trials show that the effects of CBD oil may include some “adverse affects,” according to the FDA. The FDA goes on to state that “additional information about the safety and effectiveness of cannabis and its constituents is needed.”

Similarly, the Lee University Health Clinic does not currently utilize or recommend CBD oil in any capacity.

“The uses and effects of CBD oil need to be monitored to make any decisions moving forward,” said Jan Wright, registered nurse at the Health Clinic. 

Dean of Students Alan McClung explained that Lee has clear rules on marijuana use, but regulation on the use of CBD oil is still pending.

“We’re currently reviewing the use of CBD oil to determine our approach,” McClung said. 

McClung urges students to use discretion and follow the student handbook, which says on page 23: “the use of alcohol, illegal drugs, or tobacco in any form and the abuse of prescription and over-the-counter drugs violate our community standards.”

According to Coleman, some mistake hemp for marijuana, which is illegal in Tennessee. But all products sold at Bienestar, including products with THC, are legal.

Bienestar has received mainly positive feedback from the community, Coleman said. She predicts that the hemp industry will continue to gain momentum, especially in Tennessee, which has an ideal climate for growing cannabis.

“We’re projecting more stores in the future. We’re growing, we’re doing well,” Coleman said. “Hopefully we are taking the right steps to get [CBD] to the heart of a wellness regimen.”

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