Students turn to CBD in place of prescriptions


CBD, also known as cannabidiol, comes in many forms. Students on campus say they use the natural compund to remedy anxiety.

Mackenzie Airey, Graphic Designer

A growing number of students are relying on a cannabis extract called CBD as a natural alternative to prescription medications for their ailments.

CBD—cannabidiol—is a compound found in the cannabis plant. It is known for its health and wellness benefits.

CBD is different from THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana. In other words, CBD doesn’t cause the user to get high.

Maryland approved the use of medical marijuana in 2013, and legal sales started in 2017. Both medical marijuana and CBD are legal in Maryland, but CBD doesn’t require a prescription.

“I think [CBD is] a good alternative” to prescription medicine, fifth-year business management student and CBD user Marcus Hayes said. “It’s a good natural remedy for healing.”

Hayes has used CBD products such as a CBD roll-on for back pain and a CBD vape pen. He is trying to get his father to trade some of his prescription medicines for CBD.

Hayes’ father “has had some ailments and he uses more prescriptions,” Hayes said. “I’m trying to wean him off and find alternate methods, and CBD oils and other products seem to be very helpful. … [CBD] could perhaps not hold the side effects that other medications or prescriptions could hold, which is crucial and concerning.”

Students said they like CBD over opioids as a form of medicine.

“I think if people had medical marijuana it wouldn’t be abused as much as opioids,” first-year transfer studies student Shawn Pollard said.

“Weed is just less detrimental to people’s lives than anything else, and it doesn’t have any addictive properties.”

Studies have proven CBD can help with a range of physical and mental ailments, from seizures and chronic pain to anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

In a 2015 review in the medical journal “Neurotherapeutics,” researchers said CBD can help with disorders stemming from post-traumatic stress, general anxiety, panic, social anxiety and obsessive-compulsive behavior.

“CBD is an incredible resource for a lot of people,” second-year financial accounting student, veteran and CBD user Eli Barnard said. “Whether it actually helps or if a lot of it [is] placebo, it doesn’t matter. I know a lot of people who suffer from severe psychological trauma and the only reason they actually function and have families is because they use cannabis.”

Former film student Rico Donnelly said CBD is a stress reliever.

“I have family in the military,” he said. “They’re … veterans, and they say it’s good for PTSD. It’s a better stress reliever for psychological issues instead of over-the-counter medicines. … It’s good for insomnia, too.”

Students said they buy CBD products, such as oil, gummies, chewing gum and topical ointments in local pharmacies and smoke shops.

Some varieties of  CBD oil cost around $30 for a small dropper bottle.