WELLS, Maine — A father and son who are both in active recovery started a CBD company in Wells to help people struggling with substance use disorder.
CBD oil is derived from the cannabis plant and, when taken topically or orally, it can interact with the body's nervous system, impacting mood and the immune system.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, cannabis-based products may help treat chronic pain in some adults, but more information is needed to know if pain relief from cannabis is any better or worse than other pain relief.
Thomas and Dan White run Exact Nature. The online business sells oils, capsules, and stick packs that target addictive cravings, as well as others to help with depression and anxiety. The products don't contain THC, which can produce a "high." Thomas says the products are not a magic bullet and should only be a part of a comprehensive treatment plan.
"People should consider attending Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, counseling, therapy, and talking about it, it can't be CBD alone," Thomas said.
Thomas and Dan know firsthand what it's like to break free from substance use disorder.
Thomas took his first drink at the age of 14, which then led him down a difficult path.
"I tried all kinds of drugs," Thomas said.
Life repeated itself with his son Dan. The 22-year old started experimenting with drugs and alcohol when he was in middle school, following his parents divorce.
"It became a need in my life, and it escalated from there," Dan said.
Thomas was able to hold down a career while struggling with substance use disorder until it caught up with him. He went to rehab, relapsed several times, but then got sober on his own. While living in Nevada, Thomas tried CBD for the first time. He said it helped him sleep better and improved his mood.
"I didn't use CBD to stop drinking, I white knuckled it like so many others. But how CBD does help immensely is with my depression, which moved in when my addiction moved out," Thomas said.
CBD is a chemical compound derived from the cannabis plant. It interacts with the body's endocannabinoid system, a series of transmitters throughout your body that help regulate a wide variety of processes, including sleep, appetite, memory, and mood.
"We make three types of products. Some to help addictive cravings, some to help with depression and anxiety and with better sleep," Thomas said.
After a downward spiral of drugs and alcohol, Dan got a wake-up call when his best friend passed away following an overdose.
"That was the final straw for me. It opened my eyes and made me realize how fragile life is," Dan said.
Now four years sober, he is helping run Exact Nature with his father. Dan says the products keep him calm and relaxed so he can enjoy the things he loves, like motocross.
The online company, which is less than a year old, has received a lot of positive feedback from customers across the country. Father and son say helping others on their journey to sobriety is also helping them heal.
The Food and Drug Administration has only approved Epidiolex, which contains CBD to treat a few rare seizure disorders in children. Right now, its use for other conditions remains unapproved and unregulated. Patients should discuss using CBD with their health care provider.
For more information from the FDA about the safety and use of CBD products, click here.
If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol and/or drug use, call 211 in Maine to get help.