Julietta Caibaiosai has always battled stress and anxiety, and as she got older, a career as a nail technician spurred the onset of carpel tunnel syndrome, making her wrists and hands ache.

The former Stephenville resident who now lives in Dallas says it was her boss - the owner of an organic nail salon - who first turned her on to the benefits of CBD.

“I started using it about a year ago,” Caibaiosai said. “I was a skeptic at first and thought it was just another way for people to try and make money. But now I’m a believer.”

Her boss sells products made with CBD and gave her a bottle of body butter.

“It calms me down and helps with pain,” she said. “I put a little on my temple, shoulders and bottoms of my feet and I get the best sleep of my life. I also rub it on my wrists and forearms for pain. It really helps.”

Caibaiosai is not alone when it comes to her faith in CBD products.

Consumer demographics show that the average CBD users are in their 40s and have college degrees, according to BDS Analytics.

After the federal government passed the 2018 Farm Bill legalizing hemp, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill bringing state policy in line with federal law.

Since then, interest in CBD products has exploded.

Users say benefits include help with managing joint pain, arthritis, gastrointestinal disorders, anxiety, depression and alleviating cancer symptoms.

Stephenville resident Angela Chick gives CBD to her eight-year-old daughter to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

“She was diagnosed with ADHD and having a lot of problems focusing and calming down at school,” Chick said. “I learned about CBD from a friend who introduced me to the products.”

Chick said her daughter had been taking Adderall to treat the disorder, but it had caused her to lose 15 pounds.

“She didn’t like the way it made her feel and she was skin and bones,” Chick said.

Since beginning a CBD regimen, Chick says her daughter has gained back the weight, is focusing more and making good grades.

“I love it,” Chick said. “I am such a believer.”

Making its way to rural Texs 

Hemp and CBD’s association to marijuana is evolving and so are the people willing to give it a try, even in places like rural Texas.

Amy Wade was one of the first people to begin selling CBD products in Stephenville, and as her faith in the products has grown, so has her knowledge.

Wade, 43, said she began “dabbling” with CBD hoping to relieve chronic shoulder and back pain.

After sampling products from a variety of distributors, she came across a company called Vasayo.

“That’s when I became a believer,” she said.

Wade began selling products for the company last year.

“One of the reasons I went with this company is that they guarantee that there is no THC in their products so it’s safe for people like pilots, truck drivers, school teachers - anyone who might have to take a drug test.”

THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is the main compound in marijuana that gives the sensation of being “high.”

Wade said her clients range from young parents who give it to their children to middle-age women dealing with hormonal changes to the elderly battling chronic pain and arthritis.

She takes a daily dose of oil and says her shoulder and back pain are gone.

Her husband Vance is also a believer. Last year he broke his hip during a snow skiing accident and had to use a cane to walk.

“He was taking 12 ibuprofen a day,” she said. “Now we don’t keep any of that stuff in the house. All we use for aches and pain is our CBD oil and cream.”

Wade even began giving a few drops to her small Pomeranian that had begun to have seizures.

“She hasn’t had a seizure since,” Wade said.

Education has also become Wade’s passion, and she hosts free weekly seminars for the public at La Quinta Inn in Stephenville .

“I always say ‘education over ignorance.’ There is such a misconception about these products,” she said. “I tell people that I’m not a dope dealer, I’m a hope dealer.”

The medical community

Despite the growing popularity of CBD products, confusion about exactly what it is remains high among those interested in using it.

Short for cannabidiol, CBD is a compound found in the hemp plant, and products claiming its vast healing powers are everywhere, but none of those claims are recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Today’s market for CBD includes everything from tinctures to topical creams and oils. You can even have it added to your coffee and smoothies.

Dr. Kelly Doggett, a family physician in Stephenville, said he is not aware of any clinical trial documenting the benefits of CBD, but he has patients who use it.

“I have patients that say it works for them to help with pain, insomnia and anxiety. I can’t say that it is harmful so if I have patients that want to try it, I don’t discourage them,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s the placebo effect or if it really works but the bottom line is I have patients that use it every day and are happy with it. I don’t know that I’d go so far as to encourage use of it at this point, but until I see evidence to the contrary I won’t discourage it either.”