By John Lehndorff for Northern Colorado Life

The first thing you need to know is that CBD is not “pot.” CBD is extracted from hemp but it doesn’t make you high and is legal in all 50 states.

CBD is short for “cannabidinol.” It’s a non-psychoactive relative of THC, the active substance present in recreational and medical marijuana.

The second thing is that users of this suddenly popular supplement report that it helps relieve their symptoms ranging from pain and insomnia to stress in themselves and their pets.

At The CBD Store in Loveland, the shelves are stocked with a dizzying array of CBD-infused products including oils, salves, capsules, candies, drinks and CBD hemp pre-rolled cigarettes.

More than half of the store’s regular customers are seniors, according to Caprice Sweatt. With her husband Eric Sweatt, she owns The CBD Store (with other locations in Greeley and in Illinois.

CBD can be incorporated into food but shouldn’t be cooked because it loses potency. “Some of our older customers don’t like that earthy taste of the tincture so they put it in their coffee and other foods. I like the CBD gummies we make ourselves in 20 flavors, especially the mint and strawberry,” Caprice Sweatt says.

She became interested in CBD for very personal reasons. “I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease at 17. They said I wouldn’t have kids, I’d have to a colostomy bag, and possible colon cancer,” she says

Sweatt started by using medical cannabis which dramatically reduced her flareups and then added a daily CBD regimen. “I’m able to eat. I’m able to sleep, and I don’t use pain pills … or any pills. I’m in my mid ‘50s with four kids, six grandkids and super active,” she says.

Different flavors make CBD oils more palatable to many consumers. (Courtesy The CBD Store)

“With CBD, we make it clear that it isn’t a cure-all by any means. It makes life livable. It helps give back the quality of life that may have been lost,” she says.

To get started with CBD, Sweatt and her staff get to know customers via phone or safely in person and help them learn about CBD and devise their own regimen depending on the problem.

“According to the FDA, we have to be very careful about how we advertise and what we suggest to customers. We’re not physicians and we can’t prescribe,” she says.

Research has shown that CBD has anti-inflammatory therapeutic benefits when used regularly, whether it’s eaten or rubbed on the skin.

“We recommend oral tinctures for people with arthritis to help keep some of that discomfort at bay,” Sweatt says, adding that topical salves and lotions seem to be especially effective on hands, feet and smaller muscles.

The key with CBD is to discover the ideal dose that alleviates the symptoms. Many people who report “no effect” from CBD may have simply taken an insufficient amount to affect the problem, according to Sweatt.

“We start people out slowly on CBD and have them gradually increase the amount. We don’t want them to use more than they need because of the price,” she says.

While prices have steadily dropped as supplies have increased, CBD is still not an inexpensive. “We started offering CBD tinctures in smaller bottles so people could try it out without spending a lot. We give out a lot of free samples – basically anything in the store, so customers can see how it they like it,” Sweatt says.

The couple had successfully operated medical cannabis dispensaries but, Sweatt says, they saw many people who could benefit from cannabinoids who didn’t want to use THC.

Colorado and Federal law allow CBD products to contain a miniscule amount of THC which has no psychoactive effect but can show up in drug tests.

“That’s why we developed a CBD blend that is totally THC-free. We have customers who are police officers, bus drivers, school teachers,” she says.

The CBD store also offers tinctures and treats specifically formulated for dogs and cats. “CBD definitely helps anxiety in dogs,” she says, as well as aggressive behavior and excessive barking. “It really helps them chill out,” Sweatt says.

“I have five dogs and two of them are seniors – one is going on 17. CBD has really helped them,” she says especially with arthritis and reduced mobility.

You can consult with your vet to make sure CBD is right for your pet.

CBD may just be the beginning of the therapeutic possibilities since hemp contains dozens of cannabinoids including CBN which seems to help with insomnia. “CBN may end up being even bigger than CBD,” Sweatt adds.