MOBILE, ALA. (WALA)- Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the hottest products on the market right now. You may have heard of CBD oils, but CBD doesn't just come in a glass bottle, you can have it in your coffee or tea, wear it as a patch, rub it on your skin and even smoke it.
The product comes from hemp, which is in the same family as marijuana, but unlike the illegal drug, you can't get arrested for using it..or can you?
Erin Craig is a CBD user. She said, "All I asked was to have my surgery and move forward and it didn’t work like that and when CBD came along. It saved my life."
Years ago, Craig was in a serious car accident and had to have surgery for her injuries.
Pointing to her neck, she said, "I have a plate and four screws."
Her pain remained constant.
"They had me on three Percocet 10’s a day, three Lortab 10’s a day...a steroid, it just got overwhelming," Craig said.
Then a friend introduced her CBD.
"I couldn’t do the pills anymore, they were going to do bad things and ruin my life. So instead of going that route I said let me see what CBD can do for me. If it really works then well move forward. I haven’t had a pain pill in so long. I haven’t had a muscle relaxer. CBD helps so many things," Craig said.
She's not the only CBD believer. So is occupational therapist, Terry Breitung.
He said, "In my 40 years of practice, I've never seen anything quite as good as this come across my office. it's phenomenal."
Breitung studied CBD, tried it himself and now recommends it to his patients, including Jennifer Adkins.
Adkins said, "I don't have pain anymore. I sleep better. Everything is different. I don't have the anxiety, the depression that I use to have and I don't take the medications for any that."
If you're trying to buy a CBD product you won't have to look far anymore. It's at many local health stores or places that only sell CBD, like "CannaBama", in Satsuma and downtown Mobile. Jennifer Boozer is one of the owners.
"We have people that come from Mississippi and West Mobile, we have people that drive across the bay," Boozer said.
So what is CBD? No. It's not marijuana. It doesn't get you high. According to the Food and Drug Administration, CBD can come from marijuana, but it also comes from a hemp plant. Both hemp and marijuana are in the cannabis family.
By signing the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, President Trump made it legal for farmers to grow hemp under federal law, but there's still some uncertainty. Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall issued a public notice making it legal to produce, sell and posses CBD from hemp as long as the level of THC, or the chemical that gets you high is 0.3% or lower.
While Alabama has allowed CBD, under the Federal Controlled Substance Act, it's still unclear as to whether CBD is legal.
The FDA has sent warning letters to several CBD companies and the Federal Trade Commission has said its reviewing claims made by CBD companies.
So with little regulation, how do you know what you're buying is legal, containing the state mandated .3% THC or less?
We put it to the test. We sent four CBD samples from stores in Mobile and Baldwin Counties to a laboratory for testing.
We wanted to know two things: If the products really contain CBD in them and didn't contain an illegal amount of THC.
We tested CBD gummies, oil, a topical and a CBD flower, which some people say looks just like marijuana.
According to test results, each product has THC levels below the .3% threshold and were all in fact, CBD.
Legal under current Alabama law, but it still might land you in the back of a police car.
FOX10 News Investigates talked to law enforcement officials across Mobile and Baldwin counties. None of them wanted to go on camera because they say the situation is still so new, but they did say, you can still get arrested if you're caught with CBD, especially if it resembles pot. I'm told officers can perform field tests that will pick up even those trace amounts of THC and, by law, they could arrest you. More sophisticated tests could get a charge thrown out, but who wants to take a ride in the back of a patrol car?
It's why the owners of CannaBama have this back up plan.
Boozer said, "A police officer if they stopped you, they may not even be interested in your little piece of paper but we hope to turn the tide with education and hopefully they’ll catch up with a test that would be able to show a difference between high THC and low. That’s the biggest hurdle. We encourage them to just take it home and use it at home."
Erin Craig who uses her CBD daily, isn't worried about jail.
"It sits in my ashtray cup and I wait until I’m getting to wherever I’m going and I smoke. I’m not doing anything wrong. If I had an actual spliff in my car with marijuana, yeah I’d be worried, but with CBD, you can take it back to any lab it’s going to come out as CBD," she said.
A study done at the university of Alabama at Birmingham, indicates CBD helps patients who have frequent seizures. Because of that study, the Food and Drug Administration, regulates CBD use for that. But there is no regulation for any other medical use, and the FDA warns buyers to beware when they purchase it.