POWELL — As information and testimony becomes more readily available, cannabidiol (CBD) products continue to rise in popularity due to its medicinal benefits. And now, with its grand opening set to take place Saturday, Nov. 16, M/I Wellness CBD is set to bring those benefits to the community.
M/I Wellness CBD, one of Ohio’s first dedicated CBD boutiques, is located next to BeFit Cafe at 10255 Sawmill Parkway. The shop, which officially opened Nov. 2, offers a wide range of hemp-based CBD products meant to alleviate various ailments.
CBD is the non-psychoactive component found in the cannabis plant, meaning that unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), its consumption is highly unlikely to lead to any sort of euphoric reaction associated with the “high” of marijuana.
Furthermore, the hemp plant — a cousin of sorts to the marijuana plant — contains significantly smaller levels of THC than the marijuana plant. In fact, hemp plants contain less than 0.3% THC.
“If you think you’re going to take these products and go party, that’s not what this if for. It’s not a recreational product,” co-owner Edward Itayim said of the CBD products.
Itayim said many of the ailments CBD is often used to treat have to do with inflammation. He said CBD serves as a natural anti-inflammatory and pain reliever, so rather than prescription pills simply numbing the pain, CBD will actually serve to address the ailment.
Other ailments CBD has proven to be effective in treating include insomnia and anxiety.
Perhaps the most well-known case of CBD serving as a life-changing medicine comes from Charlotte Figi, a 6-year-old at the time, whose case was highly publicized in 2013.
Figi began experiencing seizures when she was just months old. By the time she was 5 years old, Figi suffered from as many as 300 grand mal seizures per week after being diagnosed with Dravet syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy.
After exhausting all options, and to no avail, Figi’s parents were finally turned on to CBD treatments and saw immediate and drastic results in their daughter. Now, their daughter suffers only a few seizures a month. The results were so revolutionary, in fact, that perhaps the most well-known CBD product on the market — Charlotte’s Web — was renamed after Figi.
Telling that story, and many more like it, is just part of the experience Itayim is focused on creating for his customers as they work together to ultimately increase the day-to-day wellness of those in the community who suffer every day.
“Our biggest factor — what we pride ourselves on — is education,” he said. “We know our products inside and out. We understand what CBD does, we listen to the individuals that come in and what their ailments are, what products they’ve tried. And then we direct them to a product.”
Itayim stressed the personable interactions at M/I Wellness CBD that are tailored to the specific individual and their needs, rather than the generalized process of having a prescription written.
“We’re not just going to say, ‘take a dropper full every hour’ for everybody,” he said. “Because that’s the easy way. That’s just not what we do, and I think it holds us more accountable than (big) pharma.”
Products offered include a little something for everyone, from tinctures to lotions to CBD-infused coffees, teas, and waters. There are even pet care products for cats and dogs.
Itayim said the only side effect to consuming CBD products is that they will make the consumer sleepy if too much is taken. However, he said that issue is easily remedied by simply figuring out what the correct dosage is for each individual.
Asked about the common misconceptions of CBD products, Itayim was blunt in his response.
“They think they’re going to get high,” he said. “Everybody thinks this is weed … It looks like it, it smells like it. But it’s all lab-tested, 0.3 percent THC and below.”
For those who might be weary of failing a drug test by using CBD products, Itayim, who is a former marine and now a criminal defense attorney, said they offer products that are entirely THC-free, although he added that it would be highly unlikely for anyone to fail a drug test after consuming any of the “full spectrum” products that do contain the minuscule amounts of THC.
Itayim said he stumbled into the vast capabilities of CBD products, as well as medical marijuana, when he was representing medical marijuana companies in 2016. A non-user himself, Itayim said he found he had been “deceived for far too long” when he began to realize the possibilities that were associated with the plant.
“It helps people,” he said. “I know that sounds cliche to say. I do a lot of the local drug court things and I see people who are addicted, and I see fellow veterans who are addicted, and I know where it starts. It starts at pills. They get an injury or have surgery, they’re prescribed something, they use it, and the prescription runs out. Doctors won’t give them any more, so they go to the street. Then they’re realizing that the pills are $20 a pop and the heroin is a lot cheaper. And then they spiral out of control from there.”
He added, “I am certainly a fan of alternative medicine. I am certainly a fan of anything that will relieve somebody naturally without having to swallow pills. And I am definitely into helping veterans. I have veteran discounts, and I’d love for them to get comfortable with (CBD treatments). I’d love for the VA to get comfortable with it.”
A Powell native himself, Itayim said he was well aware there would be some challenges and opposition, even in the community, given all the misconceptions surrounding CBD. However, he said he has already received plenty of great feedback and seen plenty of folks come through his door, particularly in the middle-age group, which he said is the targeted demographic.
“The stigma is the biggest thing I think I need to overcome,” Itayim said of the ultimate success of his business. “I think if people would come in and have a discussion with us, I think we would alleviate a lot of that (stigma). If they can come in, see the product, touch the product, read the product, discuss it with (store manager) Nikki (Myers) … She knows the products inside and out. She has a real passion for it.”
Itayim said he would like to eventually leave his law career and transition into the CBD industry full-time. Asked what he enjoys most about it, he said the positive engagement is a relief of its own to the daily confrontation he experiences in criminal law.
As for his message to the community, Itayim said he hopes people will reserve any judgments they may have for after they stop in and see what the shop — and CBD in general — is really all about.
“Our goal is to give them an alternative to pharmacies in feeling better,” Itayim said. “So, when they come in, they can understand that our products aren’t going to get them high. They’re not intended to get them high. This is not a party store. You come in here to find the relief you are looking for. We want to engage the community to educate them more than anything. To get them to feel comfortable trying a product I know is going to help them.”