MUSCATINE — In March 2021, the state of Iowa and the Iowa Board of Pharmacy changed their cannabis laws and guidelines to allow for the manufacturing and sale of consumable hemp products containing Cannabidiol (CBD) so long as these products are solids or liquids and contain less than 0.3% of THC, the active chemical in marijuana.
With consumable hemp now legal in the state, Wester Drug of Muscatine and Wilton has become one of the first health care providers in the county to offer these products.
“It’s been great,” Michelle Garvin, co-owner of Wester Drug, said. “We had CBD several years ago, but then it was pulled from our shelves. We’ve went through the channels now with the state of Iowa; we’ve obtained the proper certifications to be able to have it back in the pharmacy, which we are so excited about. The only reason why we haven’t been selling it is because we couldn’t (until now).”
Since Wester Drug began advertising its CBD products publicly, Garvin said that a lot of the pharmacy’s customers have been excited and interested in these products, which have so far been well received. At the same time, she observed that many are thankful to not only have access to the products but to also have trained medical professionals that they can discuss the products with.
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Although Wester Drug isn’t the only business in Muscatine County to legally sell CBD products, being a pharmacy allows it to provide customers with information on CBD and the side effects it may have when taken alongside some prescription medicines or how it may affect someone with a certain health condition.
“We’re trained to know about medication and how it works with the body, and talk to you about its side effects and things as it relates to a specific condition,” Garvin said. “If someone comes in and asks about it, I’ve got the background, the training and the knowledge — as do my husband (Cory) and my staff — to be able to provide them with guidance and information from a clinical standpoint.”
It is still recommended, however, that someone talk to their doctor before they try CBD. Additionally, while sales outlets can provide available information on CBD products, they legally cannot make claims or sell it as a specific cure or treatment.
Some have found CBD provides relief from anxiety, pain or inflammation or those who are have gastrointestinal issues or trouble sleeping.
“Several patients have asked (about CBD), and they’re reporting back that it’s helping them sleep better or making it so they’re not in as much pain,” Garvin said. “I myself use it for joint pain in my shoulder, and we’ve had people use it to help with their fibromyalgia pain. There’s also a women’s product line out there (made with CBD) that a lot of other women that I’ve talked to are trying to see if they can get some benefits in terms of sexual health and wellness.”
CBD does not make people “high” and instead stimulates the body’s own natural endocannabinoid system, which can then affect a person’s nervous system and other certain bodily functions. The extent of how endocannabinoids affect the body is still being researched. One benefit that Garvin said she appreciates is that it can act as a possible replacement for opioids.
“With the opioid crisis that’s out there, if we can help people manage their pain better with a product that isn’t a narcotic and get them off of those medications, then why not try it?” she said.
Wester pharmacies offers CBD gummies, oils, topical balm and capsules of pharmaceutical-grade quality, each with a certificate of analysis that shows what each product contains.