CBD oil has seen an increase in popularity in recent years but not much is known about the new supplement.
CBD stands for cannabidiol. It comes from the hemp plant which is a cousin of the marijuana plant.
According to Island City Vapors, Harvard Medical School and other sources, despite popular belief, CBD cannot get a person high.
According to the World Health Organization CBD also has no dependence or abuse potential.
“To date, there is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD,” the World Health Organization stated.
Because of its close relationship with marijuana Katie Jensen, Winona State University health and wellness promotion coordinator said she believes CBD has been more popular.
“I think that is why people are drawn to it a lot of the time,” Jensen said. “It’s almost like a forbidden fruit.”
According to Harvard Medical School, CBD is legal on some level in all 50 states. The federal government puts CBD in the same class as marijuana but doesn’t enforce it regularly.
In Minnesota, as of Jan. 1, 2020 products with CBD can be legally sold if conditions outlined in Minnesota Statue 151.72 are met.
CBD products are sold now because products derived from hemp were removed from controlled substances laws which many took as an indication that selling CBD products is legal, according to a MinnPost article.
The Minnesota Board of Pharmacy said selling CBD products is not legal, according to a MinnPost article but no enforcement ever happened.
Harvard Medical School also stated the legality of CBD is expected to change because of a bipartisan consensus in Congress to make the hemp crop legal. That would make it hard to prohibit CBD.
One major issue people have with CBD is the lack of research and information available.
Jensen said when typing CBD into Google or other search engines what most likely will come up is companies marketing the product and stating CBD a miracle drug or a cure-all.
“There has been a lot of inflations of how good it can be for different people,” Jensen said.
Research from Harvard Medical School showed the most effective use of CBD oil is for Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, which are some of the worst child epilepsy syndromes.
The FDA approved Epidioles for these conditions which does contain CBD.
The FDA does not regulate CBD overall, which is the same for supplements and vitamins people take every day.
Another common use of CBD is for anxiety and insomnia.
Studies have suggested that CBD helps with falling and staying asleep.
There has also been research on CBD effects on chronic pain.
According to Harvard Medical School, the European Journal of Pain used an animal model to show that when CBD is applied to skin it can help lower arthritis pain and inflammation.
“Another study demonstrated the mechanism by which CBD inhibits inflammatory and neuropathic pain, two of the most difficult types of chronic pain to treat,” Harvard Medical School stated.
For each of these conditions, there are options of how to take CBD.
Someone who uses it has the option of ingesting, apply to skin, smoking, among others.
An article on the Harvard Medical School website stated more human study needs to be done to know the true effects of CBD on pain and other conditions.
Ben Rayburn, first-year Winona State student, said he uses CBD oil for his Tourettes and Asperger’s syndromes, anxiety and depression.
He said he decided to use CBD oil because there is not any medication specifically for Tourettes and with his combination of health concerns it’s hard to find something that works.
Raybrun said he has tried every anti-psych, ADHD, and anxiety medication, each time getting strange side effects.
He said he likes CBD oil because it’s easy to use and has helped with all of his conditions.
“When I use it regularly like I am supposed to it really reduces my anxiety and my Tourettes goes down,” Raybrun said. “They are reduced by I would say a good 75 to 80% of what they normally would be.”
Harvard Medical School and Jensen recommend talking to a doctor before using a CBD product.
“If you decide to try CBD, talk with your doctor – if for no other reason than to make sure it won’t affect other medications you are taking,” Harvard Medical School stated.
Rayburn said he was told by Island City Vapors, a local shop that sells CBD products that if a medication reacts poorly to grapefruit CBD products are not recommended. He did not know why that was.
Prices for CBD products range depending on the product, the seller and the quality.
Rayburn said at Island City Vapors a bottle of CBD oil that lasts about a month is about $150.
Since its opening in 2015, medical equipment retailer Winona Home Medical has risen to occupy the void left by Bourne Medical Service, a fellow equipment retailer which closed in July 2018.
Winona Home Medical sells equipment like CPAP machines, wheelchairs, physical therapy products and more, and has the added benefit of being across the street from its parent organization, Winona Health hospital and clinic.
The business’s website says its staff includes a respiratory therapist with “more than 30 years of experience in home respiratory care, along with other caring experts who will make choosing and using home health products easy and enjoyable.”
As the only home medical equipment provider in the city, director of retail services Bill Cota says the business has been increasing what it has to offer.
“Once Bourne Medical went out of business last July, we really saw the need to expand and offer more products,” Cota said.
The business’s current location was purchased two years ago by Winona Health, but Cota said the hospital didn’t have any plans for the property until the closing of Bourne Medical.
“As the home medical equipment sales had obviously risen on a very consistent basis, it made the most sense for us to take over this location and continue to expand,” Cota said.
Before taking over the location formerly used by Wells Fargo bank, Winona Home Medical was stationed in the hospital in what Cota described as an exam room.
In the six months since opening in their new location, Cota said the business has been finalizing what the product line is going to look like, as well as changing certain elements to ensure their services are the best for their patients and customers.
Cota said he expects business to keep growing and adapting to their customers’ needs.
“It’s going to continue to grow,” Cota said. “Because every month or two we’re adding new products, adding new services. Both of those have obviously continued to make us steadily grow.”
by Allison Mueller & Elizabeth Pulanco – photos by Taylor Nyman
When spring arrives in Winona, the melting snow reveals a layer of trash. The beginning of this season is when the City of Winona Fire Department and the Winona Parks and Recreation Department work together to remove garbage and tidy up Garvin Heights and other parks.
According to Chad Ubl, director of Community Services for the City of Winona’s Parks and Recreation Department, the park maintenance department does daily trash runs for the park system, which includes Garvin Heights. He said the department needs assistance with items that require heaving lifting. Due to its access to machinery and on-call employees, the park maintenance team works with the Winona Fire Department.
On Wednesday, April 5, at 6 p.m., the two departments met at Garvin Heights to participate in the annual cleanup.
Joel Corcoran, assistant fire chief, said they have collaborated with the park maintenance department for the Garvin Heights cleanup for 15 years. Corcoran said he coordinates with park maintenance and organizes the event.
Ubl and park maintenance crew member Jon Mullen said the crew of 10 to 20 on-call fire department participants and the few park maintenance employees gather and dispose of 500 to 600 pounds of garbage during each cleanup.
Due to the use of equipment and climbing required to retrieve the trash, the only people who participate in the cleanup are employees from the park maintenance department and fire department.
The cleanups take place during the spring, Corcoran said, after the snow melts and before the trees and bushes bloom. Due to weather delays and staff changes, last year’s cleanup was cancelled.
“We got to it little too late in the spring season and the trees and bushes were growing up to the point where we couldn’t do it anymore,” Corcoran said. “We postponed the event until this year. There is a significant amount of garbage that you can see, and if you go below, there is even more.”
Both Ubl and Corcoran said the trash found is usually plastic bottles and food containers. Every once in a while, someone will dump large items such as a microwave, bike or shopping cart.
During the Wednesday cleanup, the fire department retrieved an old sofa that was thrown over the edge of the bluff as well as a broken TV.
Ubl said the litter is a sad illustration of what is happening at the Garvin Heights lookout.
“It is a place where many visitors come and overlook the cities and members of the community use the park as well. It is sad that we have individuals dump bikes and couches over the edge of a park,” Ubl said.
In order to bring up the sofa, the fire department set up the Arizona Vortex on the west end of Garvin Heights. This equipment is an artificial high directional system that serves as a tripod, which allowed the firefighters to rappel down the side of the bluff and attach pieces of the couch to be pulled up.
On the main lookout at Garvin Heights, a system of ropes and pulleys were set up to lower firefighters over the edge to place trash in buckets. A fire engine ladder was also used to bring up a tarp full of large items from further down the bluff. Workers below filled the tarp with trash, while others walked around the lookout picking up trash with garbage pickers.
According to Corcoran, the workers collected 320 pounds of garbage in this year’s haul. For the disposal of the trash, a garbage truck was parked near the lookout that could hold up to 2,000 pounds of waste, according to Mullen who was operating the truck. Ubl said park maintenance will recycle what they can, and other items are taken to the scrapyard.
In addition to helping clean the community, the fire department uses the cleanup event as a way to train employees with the rappelling equipment. By giving his staff a chance to use the equipment on the bluffs, Corcoran said he is helping his staff prepare for emergencies in the future.
“You can only do so much training within the fire station until it becomes unrealistic and redundant. Getting out and doing something like this gives us a chance to encounter the real-world problems that we have when we respond to an incident,” Corcoran said. “Unfortunately, things happen and people may fall or need assistance hiking and if the first time we’ve ever been up there is for an emergency like this, we are not as prepared. This is good, real world training for the future.”
Corcoran said the team was at Garvin Heights for nearly three hours cleaning up trash.
“We got most of what we intended on getting picked up that night. I believe it was successful,” Corcoran said. “It is a nice thing to do, not only for the community but for our training purposes. Keeping our parks looking nice and clean is important to all of us.”
Besides the annual Garvin Heights cleanup, the fire department and parks and recreation department work together on other projects.
When the parks and recreation department was looking to remove buckthorn, an invasive plant species, Ubl said they were able to receive a burn permit from the fire department.
“They gave us a burn permit and monitored the burn following the removal,” Ubl said.
The parks and recreation department and fire department have also collaborated to clean up the Sugar Loaf bluffs, according to Ubl.
“As a city we are trying our best to keep the parks clean and attractive for all the users, so we appreciate everybody’s assistance in helping us do that,” Ubl said. “Whether it is volunteers, or workers from the fire department.”
For Corcoran, the chance to clean up the community and provide his staff with hands-on training is meaningful and important.
“Being an employee of the city and a lifetime citizen of the community, I enjoy making it a little nicer,” Corcoran said. “I also enjoy having good, hands on training for the employees. It’s meaningful to people and they are more likely to learn something from it.”
Michael Krug has never received the flu vaccination because he is skeptical about the efficacy of the drug itself.
For Johnna Miller, vaccinating against the flu is one of her priorities when flu season begins.
Krug and Miller, graduate students at Winona State University, have contrasting ideas about vaccinations. No matter if they decided to vaccinate against the flu this year, they both had to show proof of certain vaccinations in order to be enrolled at the university.
According to the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, vaccination requirements changed over time and continued to be updated as new vaccines were developed for more diseases. Since the 1940s, some vaccines have been added while others have been removed or replaced.
Polio immunization was recommended in the 1950s, and tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, polio, measles, mumps and rubella appeared in the 1970s. A vaccine for hepatitis B was added in the mid-1990s.
The College of Physicians of Philadelphia also stated by the 1990s, all 50 states required students to receive certain immunizations in order to attend classes.
Mitzi Girtler, a licensed school nurse and the coordinator of health services at Winona Public Schools, said vaccination recommendations are not the same in every country.
In the U.S., she said, school immunizations laws are not imposed by the federal government, but by the individual states. For instance, the state of Minnesota has different requirements than the state of Wisconsin.
According to the Minnesota Department of Health, the law requires all children seven years of age and older to show proof of vaccinations against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, mmr (measles, mumps and rubella), hepatitis B, varicella and meningococcal.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, children entering kindergarten through fifth grade, and sixth through 12 must have received a specific amount of doses of polio, hepatitis B, mmr (measles, mumps and rubella) and varicella vaccines depending on the age group.
Students who enroll in college have to show proof they have been vaccinated against measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus and diphteria, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. Any student who fails to show proof of vaccinations within the first 45 days after first enrollment cannot remain enrolled.
Despite the requirements, not every individual is in favor of vaccinations.
Girtler said some people and communities object to school immunizations because they disagree with the mandates and have religious or personal beliefs that are in disagreement with vaccinations.
Other factors imply a lack of confidence, uncertainty toward the effectiveness of the vaccine and increased perceived risk of side effects of the vaccine, Girtler said.
Individuals who do not want to immunize their children, she said, can request an exemption to address their concerns.
In Minnesota, the Department of Health may allow exemptions from immunizations if a statement signed by a physician is submitted to the administrator, or in case of conscientiously held beliefs of the parents.
Depending on each state, some communities of people, she said, will not follow the state requirements. For instance, she said home school families typically are against vaccinations.
Vaccine hesitancy refers to those parents who show concerns about the decision to vaccinate one’s self or one’s children, according to Daniel Salmon, author of an article in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
The article specifies the number of parents who claim non-medical exemptions to school immunization requirements has been increasing over the past decade. Other causes of vaccine hesitancy may include the fear of allergic reactions, the inability of parents to control the risks of adverse reactions, and the possibility the child’s immune system might be weakened.
The influenza vaccination is one of the immunizations parents are skeptical about, Girtler said.
In terms of influenza vaccination, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported on the national early-season flu vaccination coverage with findings showing approximately 40 percent of all persons and 37 percent of children were vaccinated by early November 2016.
The late flu season vaccination report from 2013 to 2016 showed 45 percent of all persons and almost 60 percent of children were vaccinated against the flu.
The CDC noted efforts are needed to increase the percentage of the population vaccinated during the next few months in order to reduce the burden of flu.
The CDC showed the percentage of vaccinations in Minnesota is higher compared to other states, with a coverage in 2010-11 through 2015-2016 of 49.7 percent of all persons that is compared to a 42.7 percentage in Wisconsin.
Winona Senior High School, Girtler said, is an example of schools in Minnesota where vaccination trends are high.
Girtler said the school claims a high percentage of the required vaccinations needed to be registered, with over 96 percent of the students being fully vaccinated.
The school does not provide the vaccine but encourages students and families to go to their health care provider.
Because immunizations are a state law requirement, Girtler said the high school acts as a gatekeeper, and keeps track of them through school attendance.
The district’s immunization plan includes three groups of students: incoming kindergarteners, seventh graders, and new students coming in from another state or district.
With kindergarteners and seventh-graders, the district makes sure to contact the families months before the beginning of school, letting them know about the state requirements. Parents of the incoming students will individually meet with school officials.
The school officials send alerts to parents of sixth graders, similar to a phone system of advertising, she said. Girtler said the school encourages vaccinations in an effort to protect students who cannot be vaccinated due to health reasons or allergies.
Students who do not have the proper vaccinations at the beginning of the school year will usually get the shot right after they have been notified. The district, she said, occasionally has to turn away a student or two due to a lack of immunization.
“We provide them resources and try to find funding or transportation if needed,” she said.
In the Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau school district in Wisconsin, Registered Nurse Barbara Hogden said almost every student in the school is vaccinated. Only 37 out of 1,392 students have personal waivers, exempting them to immunize, she said.
Hogden said 103 students decided to get the influenza vaccination at the school, and the other children had the choice to get it through their health care provider.
This year, Hogden said there were only three cases of influenza at the school because most of the students are vaccinated. The few who decide not to vaccinate usually do not believe in the vaccines, or they do not have enough information about them, she said.
For those parents who are in contradiction with the vaccines, Hogden said she encourages them to gather information from reliable online sources and to talk to their health care provider.
“Parents should always weigh both sides and do their research,” Hogden said. “There is a lot of information out there; they just need to look for it.”
While parents determine children’s necessity of receiving a flu vaccination, college students like Krug and Miller, can decide whether to vaccinate on their own.
Krug said he is skeptical about flu shots because he read online the vaccine protects against three types of the virus only, though there are more; and the virus constantly changes.
“I have always trusted that with good hygiene and proper nourishment, I can stay healthy for the most part,” Krug said.
On the other side of the spectrum, Miller takes advantage of the flu shot every year.
Miller said she is glad the flu vaccine is so easily accessible for students, especially in a college environment where germs are passed easily. The flu, she said, can spread quickly, and have a large impact on a population.
Vaccination requirements, Miller said, should be recommended but not mandatory because people need to have a say in what they receive in their bodies. She said she thought it is important to get vaccinated not only for a person’s health, but for the health of a whole community.
“When different things are forced or required, they can have negative connotations associated with them,” Miller said.
Winona State University Registered Nurse Joyce Peckover said the Health and Wellness Services on campus administered about 350 flu shot vaccinations this academic year.
The Health and Wellness Services is able to administer immunizations for several diseases, and the flu shots are available at the clinic for $25 billed to a student’s insurance. Peckover said the shot is covered by most students’ health insurance under preventable care.
According to Peckover, the amount of flu shots the university administers depends on whether there has been a bad outbreak of influenza across the U.S. In that case, she said, the following year people are more willing to vaccinate against the flu because they are afraid they might get sick again. This year, influenza started later than usual, with a peak in January, she said.
When students walk into the Health and Wellness Services for an appointment, Peckover said the registered nurses try to encourage the flu shots. Sometimes, students decide not to be vaccinated because they do not believe in the vaccine, or they have never taken it before.
Peckover is in charge of the Ask-A-Nurse line, and said she often receives calls from parents who want to keep track of their son’s or daughter’s health and ask if they have received the shot. Other times, the students purposely will not get vaccinated because of their parents’ decision.
Until the flu shots expire in June, Peckover said she will keep administering flu shots. Health and Wellness Services collaborate with the health promotion center to encourage flu shots via online and across the university through informative posters.
“We are always looking for new ways to encourage it,” Peckover said. “As much as we market the flu shot, it’s never enough.”
Peckover said the registered nurses work together with nursing students every fall, and set up a flu shot clinic to make it more convenient for students to stop by the booth during their lunch break.
Peckover said it is important to educate on flu shots because they can prevent serious illnesses and doctors’ visits. At the academic level, she said students who get influenza might be absent from classes for a few days, and lower their performance.
According to the CDC, an annual seasonal flu vaccine can keep people from getting sick with influenza, reduce the risk of flu-associated hospitalization, and protect people with chronic health conditions who are more vulnerable to flu illnesses.
No matter if individuals have had a flu shot or not, in order to prevent influenza and the spread of germs, Peckover said getting good nutrition and resting helps to keep the immune system built up.
The CDC recommends avoiding contact with sick people, covering the nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu and others.
“Everything comes down to prevention,” Peckover said. “Our goal is to provide education and prevent diseases to stay healthy.”
Despite the high percentages of student vaccinations in the Winona area public schools, in some cases, Girtler said students could be sent home from school because they do not have the proper vaccinations, or proof of exemptions from them. Kindergarten is the time they can first be blocked from schools, she said.
Rochester public schools recently did not allow 80 students to attend classes in the school building because they did not submit the paperwork before the deadline on March 1.
The district notified the families whose children did not have all the required vaccinations from Jan. 27 through Feb. 20, but they were not successful in providing the documents.
Both Girtler and Hogden said diseases, which used to be common in the U.S., including polio, measles, diphtheria and rubella, can now be prevented with vaccination.
Those parents who are against vaccinations were not alive when polio spread all over the country and are not aware of the number of people who died from it, Hogden said.
Agata Blaszczak-Boxe, author of an article on vaccine refusals, said parents think vaccine-preventable diseases are rare these days, and their memory of these diseases may be fading.
Some of the recent measles outbreaks prove those beliefs wrong. Girtler said California experienced a large, multi-state measles outbreak at Disneyland in 2015 from a traveler who became infected overseas with measles. Other measles cases occured quickly afterwards.
Girtler said in order to encourage more vaccinations in the future, interventions are needed on the individual level. She said health care providers are the best source of information for individuals who are hesitant to immunize their children.
One-on-one conversations usually work best because parents are able to listen closely to an expert’s opinion on the matter, she said.
“We are encouraging vaccinations to protect not only children, but the whole community,” Girtler said. “This is a public concern.”
As they lifted their arms gently and steadily in different directions, the flowing movements of a group of 30 older adults were coordinated in grace and balance.
Tai Chi is one of the most popular classes offered at the Winona Friendship Center that gathers many on a weekly basis, Malia Fox, director of the Friendship Center said.
With more than a thousand members and a great number of programs, the Friendship Center is suffering from a lack of space. This has caused concern among members and administrators at the center.
To accommodate all of its programs, Fox said the center has expressed the desire to move to a different location.
“The process has been going at a slow pace but I see this happening soon,” Fox said.
Back in the 1960s, the Winona Friendship Center was located at the west and east ends of town, then it moved to the Valley View Tower in 1969 as people were starting to show more interest. In 1980, the center opened on the first floor of the Historic Masonic Theater on Main Street and has been there since.
“We needed a more permanent home,” Fox said.
The committee knew the demographic of the center would continue to grow and could have used the second floor of the building as well. That never occurred, Fox said.
During an Engage Winona event a couple years ago, many people said changes at the center were needed. The event revolved around a series of focus groups that asked participants questions regarding issues and problems the community was facing and ways to improve them.
“Out of all the ideas, one of them was to pull a community center together,” Fox said.
According to Fox, this idea would involve children to senior citizens. One of the main goals of the center, which goes along with a new location, would aim to dismiss ageist attitudes and get past culturally driven myths.
“We wanted to break down the myth that some classes or activities are meant for older adults only,” Fox said. “We need to engage with everyone. We can’t know about each other’s issues if we are not in relationship.”
Winona Friendship Center Program Coordinator Laura Hoberg said a new intergenerational development component would allow people of all ages to take part in programs together.
Sometimes, Hoberg said, people think older adults do not want to be connected with younger people. Members at the center see the new multi-generational center as a great opportunity to engage in meaningful and different kinds of interactions.
“There’s a really positive feeling from the community members,” Hoberg said. “Everybody brings different perspectives and ideas.”
A new location would meet some of the center’s needs in terms of changing the layout of the center that, Fox said, is not conducive for the members. In a recent evaluation, Fox said people felt uncomfortable walking through the main hall to access other rooms in the building. Because of the layout, sounds easily travel down the hallway, which might distract members who are taking a class.
Moreover, Fox is aware the center lacks a parking lot and does not provide an easy access to the main door.
According to Fox, the process of relocation may take years.
Some of the concerns include costs involved, and replacement of the center with another potential structure. The center is seeking to relocate either at the East Recreation Center or become part of a collaborative project between Winona Health and the Winona YMCA.
Despite its need for a bigger structure, the center has continued to grow through the years. Being the only structure in the state of Minnesota that is nationally accredited, Fox said, members in Winona have access to the best programs and facilities.
“People rely on us; they feel welcomed,” Fox said. “Their voices are heard.”
Diane Stevens was one of the members following the soft melody playing in the background as she was trying to maintain a straight posture.
For Stevens, Thai Chi was the answer to her physical health.
Stevens has been involved with the Tai Chi class at the Winona Friendship Center for more than 10 years and is taking an arthritis class as well. She said she had to take some time off when she started having serious health problems.
“I was in the back of the room in a wheel chair and worked my way up to the front,” Stevens said. “I wouldn’t be walking if it wasn’t for Thai Chi.”
Stevens said she believes the center could improve its space, because it is currently offering a big room only, where most of the activities take place, and smaller ones that do not fit large groups of people.
Through the years, member Dorothy Duellman has learned how the center operates and noticed how a bigger space would allow instructors to set up activities in separate rooms, without having to rush from one activity to another, she said. Ideally, she would like to see a swimming pool as well.
Duellman has been a member of the center since 2004 and said she visits the wellness center three times a week to keep herself active and plays cards from time to time.
“A lot of the programs help seniors stay more active and healthy,” Duellman said.
With her experience as a long-term member, Duellman said she appreciates how the center is always looking for new, innovative ways to help older adults and support them.
“It’s really a growing organization,” Duellman said.
One of the programs that has been consistent over time is the health and wellness center, which attracts many for exercise programs from yoga mat to zumba classes. Recently, the center has seen a push towards educational programming, encouraging older adults to be challenged not only physically, but also mentally.
About 100 people walk through the building’s main door every day for many different programs, Fox said. Many members today join the center after being in rehabilitation, and hope to continue their healing process there. Others attend the center for their own physical wellbeing.
Although the members bring to the center their own history and interests, for one to two hours of their day, they have the chance to be reunited in one place and take advantage of the center’s numerous programs.
“It’s a wonderful place,” Duellman said. “What I like about the center is that it focuses on keeping people healthy. It doesn’t separate people; it involves them in the community.”