MADISON, Wis - Cannabidiol or CBD, one of the chemical compounds found in marijuana and hemp plants, is for sale as an oil at multiple shops in the Madison area.
But there is still confusion as to what makes it legally available to people in Wisconsin.
"Several people will come in to use it for pain, anxiety, some people will use it for seizures, PTSD. There are many other things, so people are coming in looking to find some relief," said Jennifer Helmer at Community Wellness Shop in Middleton, a satellite of Community Pharmacy.
A state law passed in April 2017 made it legal to possess medical CBD oil with a certification from a doctor. It did not allow the sale of medical CBD oil.
But Community Pharmacy has been selling a version of CBD oil for more than two years. Helmer said a federal law allows the store to sell the nutritional oil because it has a lower level of THC and is derived from the whole hemp plant.
"It's legal to carry in all 50 states as far as I understand if it's from hemp, agricultural hemp, and the THC is below .3 percent by dry weight," said Helmer.
But the legality of selling CBD is still unclear.
State officials said they are not aware of a federal law that allows for any version of CBD to be sold.
"To our knowledge, CBD oil, even derived from hemp, is still considered a schedule 1 drug, which would make it illegal to sell or distribute," said Nicole Anspach, spokeswoman for the Department of Professional Services.
Parents of children with seizure disorders have advocated for the legalization of CBD oil.
Anecdotal evidence shows the compound can help treat seizures, but no scientific studies have been done to prove it.
"It's really a buyer beware because you need to know who manufactured it, where it comes from; there need to be independent lab studies to know what's contained in it," said Art Taggart with the Epilepsy Foundation.
CBD has worked for some, but not all patients. Taggart would like to see more research be done on the drug.
He said it is frustrating for patients in Wisconsin that have a certificate from a doctor because there is still nowhere to buy the drug in the state. Some families have been buying it in Colorado.
Although this summer's new law did not allow the sale of CBD oil, it did bring awareness to its benefits.
"It brought more customers in, and a lot of people are coming in looking for information and they're like 'Oh, is this illegal?'" said Helmer. "The people that it works for, it works quite well."
Helmer and Taggart encouraged potential patients to do their own research.
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