LACONIA – Theresa Fornea, 52, said she’s grateful for the emergency rental assistance that paid for her and her 60-year-old husband to stay at the Best Western in Concord until they could move at McKenna House, the Salvation Army’s homeless shelter in the city. capital
Three weeks ago, Laconia residents were grateful to have a two-night campsite near Weirs Beach, where they stored their belongings under a tarp.
“Our life has been hard and harder. We stay together. This is how we overcome it”, said Fornea.
A pop-up tent, two sleeping bags and hoodies provided by Isaiah 61 Cafe allowed the couple to stay dry and warm after they and 10 others were discharged from the Salvation Army’s Carey House in Laconia after failing a drug test.
“My life is messed up and messed up for something I can legally buy over the counter,” Fornea said.
The Forneas used cannabidiol products, better known as CBD, which contain traces of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana, which was apparently enough to register on a drug screen that does not detect levels of THC, only the his presence
Fornea, who has asthma, emphysema and a brain cyst, said she uses a CBD bar and CBD lotion to relieve anxiety, depression and pain from spinal problems. “I’m not going to take opiates. I’m not going to,” he said, adding that CBD has helped him stay drug-free after quitting marijuana.
Now, without a car or transportation to get from Concord to her job at the deli counter at Laconia’s Vista Foods, she has no paycheck and no steady work. “I’ve lost my job because of it,” he said.
To offset the cost of staying at McKenna House, the couple has volunteered at the Salvation Army thrift store in Concord.
“This is a stop, and I haven’t stopped yet,” Fornea said.
A tricky issue as CBD products become widely available
Carey House, like other homeless shelters, has rules designed to keep its residents safe. Drug testing can happen at any time and for any reason. The 30-bed shelter has a substance-free policy and requires its guests to sign contracts specifying abstinence. Consequences for substance use violations during your stay include immediate expulsion, with arrangements to go elsewhere. The rules, the home administrator said, help ensure a safe and drug-free environment for families with children.
“We take shelter security very seriously. We definitely need to have a drug-free zone,” said Lt. Christopher West of the Salvation Army in Laconia. “There is a protocol in the system. The people who were asked to leave didn’t just have a CBD situation.”
What worries the Forneas is that they and another woman were kicked out for testing positive for THC, which is theoretically found in trace amounts and is federally allowed in CBD vaporizers and pain creams sold at tobacconists and convenience stores.
According to their drug test results, the Forneas tested positive for THC only.
In health food stores, some CBD products are labeled “THC-free,” meaning they are non-psychoactive and have no addictive properties, said Ryan McCourt, store manager at Sunflower Natural Foods.
Those not marked “THC-free” contain a non-zero amount below the federally allowable limit, according to the patient care advisor at Sanctuary ATC, one of the state’s four medical marijuana dispensaries in Plymouth . “If there is no THC, CBD is not psychoactive or addictive,” said the employee, who asked not to be identified in the story because of the sensitivity of the subject. “They’ve isolated CBD from other components. I’ve seen a lot of people get a lot better transitioning from opioid use to CBD. That’s anecdotal. Much more research needs to be done to establish the mental health benefits.” .
Medical marijuana became legal in New Hampshire in 2013, but recreational pot remains illegal.
For many, CBD presents a safer and more effective alternative to pharmaceuticals and anti-inflammatory products that can have side effects over time and lead to dependence.
At Sunflower, displays of CBD products, which come from the hemp plant, like marijuana, include lotions, shampoos, skin tonics, oils, tinctures, capsules and gummies that contain no or trace amounts of THC and are labeled to indicate that they are THC Free.
“We have doctors who send their patients here to get CBD products,” McCourt said. “We have people on the street asking for them. We have people in retirement communities. Every day someone buys a CBD product.” They are used by people suffering from arthritis and those with persistent pain from sports injuries.
Lack of research, awareness and regulation
Lack of sufficient research, awareness, and education among the public and health professionals is an obstacle when it comes to CBD. In recent years, following the 2018 federal farm bill that limited the amount of THC allowed in agricultural products made from hemp, CBD has increased in popularity and its products have proliferated in stores.
Today, many question the THC content listed on product labels and believe that control and regulation of CBD is essential.
Currently, the Food and Drug Administration does not certify or inspect CBD products. The 0.3 percent THC content allowed in CBD products was specified by the federal Farm Bill, which removed hemp from the definition of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. substance abuse and mental health. It is derived from parts of hemp that are different from those that produce marijuana.
“They have isolated CBD from other components,” said the Sanctuary ATC patient care advisor.
Natural health professionals argue that CBD can be crucial when pharmaceuticals fail to relieve pain or cause unwanted side effects.
Dr. Andrew W. Seefeld, an emergency physician at Speare Memorial Hospital in Plymouth, said CBD appears to have a balancing effect on the human body’s endocannabinoid system, which regulates sleep, digestion, the immune, mood and other systems intrinsic to humans. Health.
“It can help boost immune function and reduce inflammation. Studies support its use in mood disorders, pain [management] and opioid use disorder to mitigate cravings and facilitate withdrawal,” he said.
Seefeld added that he is not an authority on CBD and that more research is needed to clarify its uses, benefits and long-term effects.
“There’s a lot of confusion and not a lot of robust data,” he said.
On the ground floor, the lack of understanding and regulations surrounding CBD is confusing people making decisions that affect others, including those in recovery.
“CBD is not going to be a gateway drug,” Seefeld said. “But THC is a problem for someone who is predisposed to addiction.”
Local recovery experts contacted for this story said they didn’t know enough about CBD to comment. Concord Hospital: Laconia and a manufacturer of CBD products in Belmont would not comment on the issue of CBD use.
“It is an emerging and evolving science. There are new studies coming out all the time,” said Bethanie Vachon, director of development and public relations for the Lakes Region Mental Health Center in Laconia. “What we can say for sure is, just make sure your sources are regulated The market is flooded with CBD and no agency is consistently testing. It is not regulated”.
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