Photo Credit: The Clear
Aging isn't easy, and one of the worst aspects of it is having a sharp mind trapped in a body that is wearing down and getting harder to use.
That's what David Sparer, a brilliant entrepreneur, found himself experiencing. He had debilitating arthritis - so much so that simply walking up a staircase was a challenge.
A close friend of his who founded a cannabis company, The Clear, located in Los Angeles, thought he might have a solution for Sparer's arthritis: cannabidiol, or CBD.
The day after his first CBD treatment, Sparer was up and moving with less pain than at any time in the previous decade.
At that moment, Sparer knew that CBD was his way forward. Suddenly his career at a Fortune 500 company didn't seem that significant, so he left his position to go to work for The Clear.
Part of it was motivated by his own struggles, but another motivating factor was his 28-year-old son.
His son had lived with epilepsy since the age of 2 and now also takes The Clear's CBD tincture to manage said seizures. But his family's CBD success stories didn't stop there.
His 88-year-old mother is on board now too, swearing by a CBD balm to help manage the pain of her arthritic knee. His brother, suffering from stage III Hodgkin Lymphoma, has also found comfort and relief from The Clear's products.
"We know the many different conditions that are helped by CBD, but the thing that's crazy is that this is one molecule," Sparer told LA WEEKLY. "It's really exciting stuff for us to be involved in."
The Clear is involved with some really inspiring work. It has provided multiple products to two East Coast universities for research into CBD.
One is an FDA-approved double blind epilepsy study and the other is a study of how CBD functions in our brains.
It hasn't always been this easy to study CBD and cannabis in general. The Drug Enforcement Agency only 12 months ago eased restrictions on studying it.
CBD, which is nearly completely non-psychoactive, is still classified as a Schedule I substance with "no currently acceptable medical use," rendering it illegal in all 50 states in the eyes of the federal government. But Sparer's family would attest that there absolutely is a medical use.
"Marijuana has been around for a long time, but like a lot of other things, once it's prohibited then it loses the ability to be researched appropriately," said Dr. Kamyar Assil, a pain specialist at Ventura Orthopedics. "I think we lost many years of being able to use a potential agent that naturally grows out of the ground."
Assil states that about 10-20% of his patients use cannabis in some form or another for relief, but he can only prescribe medications like Tylenol and Naproxen, which are both known to damage organs. He can also prescribe opiates which run a high risk of abuse.
In California, where The Clear calls home, CBD and all cannabis products are considered illegal and are unregulated until Proposition 64 goes into effect on January 1st, 2018.
But The Clear is ahead of the game. Sparer says they have a team of scientists overseeing production and carefully regulating dose strength and labeling their products accurately.
"If we're going to treat a serious illness, we need to know that the product is good and we need to know the molecule is good to treat that particular thing," says Sparer. "And most doctors aren't going to touch anything until the FDA puts their stamp on it — that's just the way it is."