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When Florida resident Greg Bendis learned his brother was growing hemp on a 17-acre Oregon farm and creating CBD-infused beverages and other CBD products, he considered it nothing more than a passing fad. His brother knew beverages after working in that industry for years, but Greg knew science and medicine. Greg worked on medical therapies and partnered with universities in the biotechnology field of regenerative medicine. He liked studies that showed results backed by plenty of scientific data.
“I was skeptical of CBD,” Greg said, “even though my brother was now in the business of growing hemp and selling CBD products.” His brother’s stories of his customers’ various ailments being helped by CBD seemed too good to be true.
Still, Greg was curious enough to ask more questions and examine any evidence he could find. Greg suffered from severe neck pain and took the prescribed painkiller Vicodin twice a day. He knew Vicodin, a combination of the pain reliever acetaminophen (Tylenol) and the synthetic opioid hydrocodone, activates the same neuroreceptors as drugs like heroin. As a Christian, Greg wanted to take good care of his body. If he could find a natural, plant-based product that would ease his pain and allow him to wean away from the potentially addictive Vicodin, he knew that would be best.
In addition to CBD-infused sodas and sparkling waters, his brother’s company also offered topical CBD-infused rubs for muscle and joint pain and CBD tinctures (oils) to ingest orally. One weekend, Greg decided to use one of his brother’s rubs to see if it would help some joint pain he was experiencing. He didn’t expect much to happen, but he knew the topical was all-natural and couldn’t hurt. He realized after the first weekend that his neck felt better. He also realized he had not taken as many prescription painkillers. Greg wondered if CBD might actually be helping him.
Greg discovered that the CBD-infused rub works its way into the tissue and from there into the bloodstream. He learned how some scientific studies show that CBD activates endocannabinoid receptors in the brain and throughout the body and reduces inflammation. He started to use CBD oil under his tongue. To his surprise, he was able to quickly stop taking the more dangerous Vicodin.
“After starting CBD and making no other diet, medicine, or lifestyle changes, my systemic high blood pressure lowered by ten points,” Greg said. “I believe CBD also lessened the pressure on my spine from an injury and the accompanying constant pain. My disk is no longer pinching the nerve that caused the neck pain.”
Greg wanted to continue taking CBD. He trusted his brother but soon found information about the growing-in-leaps-and-bounds CBD industry that alarmed him.
“There is so much misinformation out there,” Greg said. “I found that the medical marijuana industry is often deceiving people, and many products are mislabeled or not labeled well at all.”
For example, Greg notes that lip balms might be helpful to lips because hemp oil that contains CBD has natural moisturizing properties. However, CBD-infused lip balm would not have the potential to help heal the body in the same way tinctures or topicals applied to skin on the arms, legs, torso, and back would. Lips can’t absorb the CBD balm into the bloodstream the way larger areas of skin on the limbs and trunk can.
Greg set out to help others learn more about CBD. He trusted his brother’s products and decided to become a distributor for Ablis Southeast.
“I market the products through trade shows and direct sales to health food and beverage stores and direct sales on the website,” Greg said. “I also have people under me who distribute and sell in Tennessee and Alabama.”
Ablis beverages include 12-ounce bottles of sparkling Lemon Ginger, which contains natural lemon and ginger root juices, purified sparkling water, cane sugar, and an infusion of 25 mg of THC-free CBD crystals from organic hemp, the website says. The company also makes a smaller lemon sparkling water beverage with 10 mg CBD and blood orange and cranberry beverages too.
“Most people get a ‘therapeutic’ effect with 25 mg of CBD, others with as little as 10 milligrams,” Greg said, although science has a hard time backing that statement at this point. CBD is not water soluble, meaning it does not mix with water. CBD crystals may get left in the bottle. Even if the full amount is swallowed, the CBD would largely be broken down in the digestive system instead of getting into the bloodstream for the most potential healing benefit.
Greg says the beverages are a novel and enjoyable way to ingest CBD, even though it is not as effective as placing CBD oil under the tongue. The company’s rubs can be used in massages and for topical treatment of pain in the specific area needed. The oils in the topical go into the surrounding tissue with the goal of reducing inflammation.
For Greg, tinctures have become part of his daily healing routine. “I’ve used the CBD products for two-and-a-half years now,” Greg said. “It took a little while to figure out the best dosage for me. Now I put a dropper of the CBD oil under my tongue once a day.”
Greg’s personal relief from pain means he is now able to enjoy spending time with his wife and friends again. He serves as a community leader for his church and starts small groups and organizes gatherings. Greg often shares his own testimony, and he loves to hear stories from his customers about how CBD has helped them regain their activities and healthy lives.
“One man shared how our drinks helped him give up his addiction to alcohol,” Greg said. “He says he is much healthier now. He simply started drinking the beverages instead of beer and other alcoholic drinks. It changed this man’s life.”
Others have told Greg CBD has relieved their arthritis pain, lowered their anxiety, and lowered their blood pressure. Greg feels blessed to help people and change their lives as well as reduce their pain levels.
“One woman stopped using THC-filled marijuana by using the beverages and rubs after trying a rub at a trade show,” Greg said. “She emailed me with the great news that her mom is also now pain-free and stated, ‘My mom is off all prescriptions.’”
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