Derived from the hemp plant, CBD’s reputation has spread as a healing agent and solution to many people’s health problems.

CBD stands for cannabinoids, a compound we naturally produce in our body as part of the endocannabinoid system. This system is found throughout all areas of the body, including the brain, organs, glands, and connective tissue. In each area of our body, the endocannabinoid system performs different tasks, but maintaining internal stability and keeping the body at equilibrium is the main function. Because of lifestyle choices, poor diet, a surplus amount of toxins, or naturally occurring illnesses, we generally do not produce enough cannabinoids. CBD oil aims at replenishing in a natural way what the body already produces to help it maintain homeostasis. For this reason, the list of ailments that CBD oil benefits are seemingly endless.

“Our endocannabinoid system, which is known to be one of the largest systems in our body, binds with every other system that we have,” said Flavio Padron, co-owner and general manager for Your CBD Store. “When you’ve got more cannabinoids flowing through your body, it will help you, for example, lose inflammation, and with inflammation goes pain. It helps with the production of melatonin, which will help you sleep, serotonin and dopamine for mood, or insulin, which will help you regulate diabetes, which is big down here in the Valley.”

But the list doesn’t end there. Padron recounted how he has personally journeyed with customers ranging from 2 to 90 years old through a host of varying illnesses, including neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, and dementia. Other ailments he’s seen addressed are Parkinson’s, cancer, autism, depression, anxiety, insomnia and other sleep disorders, general pain, and even psoriasis and eczema. According to Padron, his clients enjoy his products because they are non-habit forming with no side effects.

“On a daily basis I’m moved by what I’m doing,” he said. “More than 20 times I’ve cried with people because they’re looking for an answer for their pain and then the other set of tears is the better one because they found the answer.”

One story in particular resonated with Padron. A man stood crying in the store seeking a last resort for his 2-year-old daughter, who was struggling with epileptic seizures on a weekly basis. But after three weeks using the oil, the man returned to the store ecstatic that his daughter’s seizures had ceased.

“That’s what really fills my heart. You have no idea how good I feel waking up every day wanting to come and help,” Padron said.

Padron co-owns the first CBD oil franchise in the Valley, and currently only carries products with a labeled 0 percent THC content. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the psychoactive compound found in marijuana. While the marijuana plant carries high contents of THC and little content of CBD, the hemp plant has a high content of CBD and a low content of THC. While in other states, high THC found in CBD oil, and medical and recreational marijuana is allowed, in Texas only a low THC level of .03 is legal without the use of the Compassionate Use Act, started by Texas state Rep. Stephanie Klick in 2015. The act allows patients with epilepsy to use CBD oil products with a higher content of THC of .05.

The Texas House recently advanced a bill that aims to expand the list of people able to use products with a higher THC content. Bill 1365, authored by state Rep. Eddie Lucio III, D-Brownsville, would extend the use of products to patients with Alzheimer’s, Crohn’s disease, muscular dystrophy, post traumatic stress disorder, and autism, among others, that Klick’s bill is also still fighting for. The House passed the bill, which is currently engrossed in the Senate Health & Human Services Committee.

Lucio described how veterans came before the Legislature to testify about their personal experience with being prescribed highly addictive prescription opioid medication for their PTSD. Many of them lost functionality because of the onslaught of side effects like suicidal thoughts, losing control of emotions, and a terrible inability to stay focused stemming from the drug and causing them problems with family and work. Similar medication was prescribed to children with autism, Tourette syndrome, and spasticity, which caused some families to become medical refugees who sought  more holistic solutions from medical cannabis in other states.

“I think that people don’t even realize this is an option for them or of the benefits they could derive from its use,” Lucio said. “It is an entirely new world for a number of patients who suffer from opioid addiction, pain symptoms, or from a disease that research and experience has shown will overwhelmingly benefit from the use of cannabinoids in cannabis — I think it is the future of holistic medicine and an alternative to opioids, which have cost our state and county hundreds of millions of dollars in addiction services or rehab treatment for people that get addicted to prescription drugs. It’s significantly important for the Valley and a huge breakthrough in medicine and pain treatment for Texas.”

The confusion that surrounds the issue about THC in CBD oil, along with its relation to marijuana, is one of the biggest stigmas for people not wanting to try it. Still, people who do try it experience its many benefits.

“So we’re just going to keep fighting the good fight session after session so as many patients in the state of Texas can have access to this medication,” Lucio said.

Eric Linares, a customer of Padron’s, decided to try CBD oil for anxiety and depression symptoms he suffers from a hormonal disorder called hypothyroidism after his prescription painkiller medication stopped working,. He also suffers from inflammation and pain from arthritis in his knees and hands. After two weeks of consuming CBD through edible gummies, he reported his joint pain had severely decreased and his mood drastically improved.

“I was like, there’s no way this actually works!” Linares said. “I was in a very good mood. I was very hyper, and I hadn’t been hyper in a couple of years. To think back that I was so skeptical about it is really funny. I’m glad I took a chance on it. It’s a safe product, actually, and it can really do a lot of good for a lot of people.”