Cannabis ice cream shows promise for Florida patients

It’s not often you see a doctor’s office with a sign advertising ice cream out front, but Dr. Ashok Khanna said he can’t argue with the results that treat’s bringing his patients.

"It makes sense to give them something that'll make them feel better,” said Dr. Khanna.

Khanna’s Winter Garden clinic is one of only about 30 selling a new, Florida-based CBD ice cream called Heavenly Hash.  The Lakewood Ranch company makes the ice cream mixed with pure CBD extract. You could almost call CBD: medical marijuana’s brother.

"CBD is the other part of the plant,” said Khanna.

It’s derived from hemp and Dr. Khanna said has a soothing effect for patients; even pain relieving. It doesn’t contain the THC of marijuana, or rather it only contains small trace amounts. The number’s so low that CBD can actually be sold to people who don’t have medical marijuana cards; an over-the-counter version, if you will.

Khanna’s clinic started selling a variety of CBD products this year as he saw patients making major improvements on them and often lessening use of prescription drugs as a result.

Staff at Heavenly Hash decided to create the ice cream version because, well, they said it just sort of made sense; especially for cancer patients.

"One of the big problems that cancer patients have is cachexia, which is their muscle waste and weight loss," said Matthew Eastman of Heavenly Hash.

So a staff member at the creamery, who just happened to be an oncology nurse, Fran Fanning thought to create a high fat, high protein ice cream that contains CBD.   The idea: help those patients get some food in them while soothing their pain and hopefully reversing other effects of the cancer.

"It helps with the anxiety, it helps with the pain, it helps with the inflammation and it also has this calming effect without them getting the high so to speak,” said Fanning.

Dr. Khanna said the only major drawback he’s seen to the CBD and medical marijuana products so far is the stigma the products still carry. 

Khanna admits even he was skeptical at first and his wife, a former drug councilor was firmly against the products, but after doing a lot of research and seeing the positives it was bringing patients, they’ve now made the natural-alternative a major part of their practice.

"As long as you're doing it within a norm of use that you're not overdoing it: it's safe,” he said.