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Why cannabis products are for sale in Garstang

PUBLISHED: 00:00 13 December 2017

Cannabis sativa

Cannabis sativa

glynn ward

Garstang is an unlikely hotbed of cannabis use but locals are taking to this interesting - and legal - plant

Garstang herbal shopGarstang herbal shop

IF you head to the market town of Garstang and think the locals have a slightly glazed expression, don’t worry. It’s all in the mind.

While this attractive community is far from being a hotbed of drug taking, many residents will privately admit to a flirtation with cannabis.

Before the drugs squad wake the sniffer dogs, we should point out this is not the narcotic that makes you put flowers in your hair and reach for the nearest tie-dyed t-shirt. This is 100 per cent legal with the hallucinogenic components – some might say the fun parts – taken out.

But for the people using it there is a serious point and it’s all about the efficacy of extracts from this unassuming little weed.

CBD One productsCBD One products

Historians believe we have had cannabis as a herbal treatment since Neolithic times. Physicians from the eighth century onwards have made a wide range of preparations from it. Through ancient Egypt and Greece to the 19th century, it has been claimed to have a positive effect on many conditions. It was even prescribed for Queen Victoria to ease period pains. Research is being carried out in several countries to investigate these benefits.

Of course, in recent times it has been more widely known as a Class C recreational drug and, while it’s claimed to ease conditions like MS, users in the past have had to make illicit purchases. It is now available on the NHS if you can get a prescription.

However, an osteopath from Garstang is hoping to change perceptions of the plant, cannabis sativa, despite dogged resistance from social media operators.

Nick Tofalos has a clinic in the town and he also runs the Natural Health Food Stores where, he believes, he is the first in the north to sell a unique brand of cannabis oil with no trace of THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, which gives you a euphoric high.

There’s a very personal reason for Nick’s interest. His brother, Deno, died after suffering MS at the age of 42. ‘We were aware of reports that cannabis could help that condition but it was illegal,’ said Nick. He and another brother, Alex, maintained an interest in its herbal use and they were excited when they received a message from a farmer in Eastern Europe offering very high quality cannabis oil with the THC removed.

‘We decided to get some samples,’ added Nick. ‘That proved to be a dead end. Our prime concern is, of course, to protect the public so we spent £1,000 on having it tested in a specialist laboratory in Spain only to discover it contained lead.’

However, a Dutch company also offered their version of the oil which uses an advanced carbon dioxide extraction process. More lab tests showed this time the product lived up to the promises of quality. The result is a bespoke product called CBD One produced exclusively for Nick’s business.

‘All our products are sold as food supplements so we make no medical claims. But there is a growing appreciation for CBD and its apparent vast array of uses towards maintaining a healthy balance within the body,’ said Nick, who also has a business in Barnoldswick.

The oil has become popular in Garstang and there is much anecdotal evidence from people saying arthritic pain has been diminished or even eradicated, sleeping patterns improved and a couple of people have said it has helped with their cancer treatment. One also claimed to have experienced the same effect as you would get from conventional ‘pot’ but as there is no drug in the oil that’s left Nick a little puzzled.

The vast majority of his sales now come via the internet. When he first went onto Facebook with the product he had 7,000 people viewing his pages. However, actually selling it had proved more complex as Facebook, Twitter, PayPal and Instagram all banned him, believing him to be selling drugs.

‘It’s utter stupidity and I’ve asked my MP to look into it,’ said Nick. ‘I’m now having to sell it through a card payment business based in Denmark.’

The oil is thought to interact positively with receptors in the brain and the nervous system regulating many different functions such as the immune system, appetite, mood, pain and memory. It is water based and can be applied orally via droppers, added to food and drinks or inhaled. Prices start at around £40.

‘People are coming from far and wide after hearing about it,’ said Nick, who lives in Earby. ‘I take it every day and find it works as a pick-me-up and I sleep a lot better.’

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