PEORIA — Dr. Ted Rogers, a family practice physician at the UnityPoint Health Clinic in Chillicothe, was skeptical about CBD oil when he first suggested it to a patient about two and a half years ago.

He’s is not skeptical anymore.

“I’ve had tremendous success with CBD oil,” he said during a recent telephone interview.

Roger’s patients have reported that the supplement, which contains a non-psychotropic cannabinoid found in hemp and marijuana, is helpful for dealing with both pain and anxiety.

Rogers has been practicing medicine for 33 years, and many of his patients are elderly. He’s quick to point out that his observations regarding CBD oil are anecdotal. As a supplement, CBD is not regulated by the FDA and has not been well-studied in the U.S., though that may be changing. Last spring a drug called Epidiolex, which contains CBD, was approved to treat two rare forms of childhood epilepsy.

While Rogers said CBD oil has not worked for all his patients who tried it, there have been many who have reported positive results.

“One patient, a person with cancer, started taking a daily dose and now seems to be talking better and eating better. It’s a terminal case, but she seems to be doing better with her symptoms. I also have an MS patient taking it, and it’s helping his neck pain and some arthritis in his hand.”

Another patient suffering from Alzheimer’s disease was so agitated she couldn’t interact with people. Tranquilizers didn’t work. Then Rogers suggested CBD oil to her caregivers.

“Her husband feels very positive about how she’s doing. Now she’s going out to eat and taking walks, and interacting with people in a very positive way,” said Rogers. “It’s pretty dramatic.”

Buyer Beware

CBD oil is for sale in many shops and gas stations around central Illinois, but buyers should purchase with care, said Eric Diekhoff, executive vice president of operations for Revolution Enterprises, a cultivation facility producing medical marijuana in Delavan. Not all CBD oil is the same, and in fact some don’t contain any CBD at all.

“Most of the hemp oil you find in gas stations has not been tested,” said Diekhoff. “There was a local lab that tested 12 different hemp products being sold in the area and only three or four of those actually tested positive for CBD.”

In addition to not containing the key ingredient, products could be contaminated with chemicals like pesticides, said Diekhoff.

“The product needs to be third-party tested, otherwise you don’t know what you are putting in your body,” he said.

Corey Dolan, a pharmacist and owner of Preckshot Professional Pharmacy, agrees.

“Supplements are not regulated by the FDA,” he said. “What we carry here, all of our supplements, are third party tested. However, if you were to got to a big box store, not all of their products are tested.”

CBD products sold at Preckshot have QR codes consumers can scan with their smartphones.

“You can call up a third party analysis in a matter of minutes,” said Dolan.

Preckshot has been selling CBD oil for about three years, and in the last year they brought in a professional line which contains a higher level of CBD. Business is booming.

“We are actually shipping all over the U.S. Not everyone has access to the quality product we carry,” said Dolan.

Another issue people have when buying CBD oil at nutrition stores is determining the proper dosage, said Dolan.

“They don’t really know how to dose it,” he said. “I just had a patient come in today who had picked up some CBD oil from a nutrition store and it wasn’t working because the dosage was too low. We’ve done so much research and worked with so many patients, we are able to dose patients with more successful outcomes.”

Another issue people should be aware of when taking CBD oil or any type of nutritional supplement is that they can interact with the other medicines they are taking, said Dr. Rogers.

“If they are taking a lot of other medicines, they should take it with caution. Watch carefully to see if there are any reactions to their other drugs,” he said.

People are buying CBD oil to ease a variety of ailments, said Dolan.

“We’ve seen an influx of physicians sending their patients to Preckshot for CBD oil to help support conditions like PTSD, anxiety, depression, and these physicians and patients have been reporting successful outcomes to our pharmacy.”

The success stories has been traveling by word of mouth. While some physicians are still skeptical, many have become more open minded.

“The climate is changing, where it’s becoming much more mainstream with a physician being ok with it, or actually being a proponent,” said Dolan.

Rogers first learned about CBD oil from the pharmacists at Preckshot.

“They were talking about it and they had seen some good results,” said Rogers. “It seemed like a fairly safe thing, so I started throwing it out there as an option for patients, and I started hearing positive results. There’s a lot of patients with anxiety or cancer or pain that nothing works on. We just started using it on some of the worst cases and they got better. While I don’t have good, evidence-based results, anecdotally I’ve had some really good, positive outcomes.”

Leslie Renken can be reached at 686-3250 or lrenken@pjstar.com. Follow her on Twitter.com/LeslieRenken, and subscribe to her on Facebook.com/leslie.renken.