EL PASO, Texas -- Nanette Lattimer-Gamboa can’t do her job without her hands. When she began suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, her work, as a licensed massage therapist, was put at risk.
“I was at the point where I was going to quit doing massages because it was getting super painful,” she said.
Nanette wanted a natural cure, so she tried CBD.
“I noticed after the massages that my inflammation wasn't as great as it was and it was a lot less painful.”
The CBD did more than address Nanette’s pain. It sparked an idea: blending the product, already popular on the wellness market, with her business. She began infusing CBD into a facial or massage at ‘Infused Massage & Wellness,’ along with her partner and co-owner Anthony Rincon.
“When someone's stressed and you, you massage them, it's just a different feel as opposed to you getting yourself and rubbing it (CBD) in,” said Rincon.
CBD is derived from a cousin of the marijuana plant, called hemp. CBD won’t produce a high. The ingredient responsible for that is THC. Some CBD has THC, which is legal in Texas as long as the THC count is under 0.3%.
However, the Federal Drug Administration has only certified one drug as safe, meaning at this point, the products in stores aren’t legal at the federal level.
José Rivera, the founding dean of UTEP’s School of Pharmacy, says more research on CBD needs to be done.
“Not all products are equal, especially in the internet. You're going to find claims of products in terms of this is how much CBD is in it and studies have shown over and over that what's on the label is not necessarily what's on the product.”
Limited research can confuse consumers.
“You know, El Paso is a small, small town, and you know, it's still got a stigma,” said Rincon.
Others, like Ciara Horton, claim the product is life-changing. She gets two massages each month infused with CBD to manage pain and anxiety.
“It's such a relief and it's something that I really, really enjoy and I'm happy that I found this,” Horton said.
Demand for CBD is continuing to grow.
“It feels really good to be able to help people and to kind of change their perspective,” said Lattimer-Gamboa.