SANDPOINT, Idaho — A North Idaho company that markets CBD products hopes technology it's familiar with may help combat dangerous algae blooms on local lakes.
The Sandpoint-based company, Global CBD, said methods employed by hemp growers it works with could help eliminate and neutralize blue-green algae in two different ways.
The company said it's currently fundraising in an effort to further develop and study the technology.
"I have kids that swim in lakes, and I don't want to get them sick," said Global CBD owner Joel Bordeaux of blooms currently affecting local lakes.
Earlier this year, state officials warned of dangerous blue-green algae blooms in both Fernan Lake and Lower Twin Lake in Kootenai County. The blooms have the potential to produce dangerous toxins that can be harmful to children, the elderly, pets and people with compromised immune systems.
Global CBD markets extracts, lotions, and other products infused with the CBD compound. Short for Cannabidiol, proponents of CBD say the chemical compound can be effective in treating pain, seizures, and other ailments.
While CBD can be found in cannabis plants, Bordeaux says the CBD used by Global comes from hemp plants and contains no THC, the psychoactive chemical commonly associated with marijuana.
Bordeaux said that a technology called 'structured water' is one way that the company hopes to combat algae blooms. According to Bordeaux, structured water contains frequency waves designed to kill bacteria and make better use of nutrients. A hemp grower that the company works with, he said, currently uses the technology and says it's effective in killing off blue-green algae.
"With that technology, we've learned it's literally a kill-switch with algae," Bordeaux said. "When I learned that, I was like 'My gosh, we've got to at least give this a go.'"
A second technology called micro-encapsulation could help neutralize algae, Bordeaux said.
Micro-encapsulation, according to Bordeaux, preserves and stabilizes certain compounds. For their products, the process preserves the efficiency of CBD and captures the compound in a "sphere," Bordeaux said. By utilizing the technology in algae-infested waters, bacteria could be captured and neutralized.
"They'll come into contact with the blue green algae and turn it into a benign substance," Bordeaux said of the technique.
Bordeaux said that using the processes to combat algae has only been done on a small scale before.
Global CBD is currently in the process of fundraising to purchase a machine that would emit frequency waves in water. The company says it has collected algae-infested water samples from both Fernan Lake and Moses Lake in central Washington to test on.
Bordeaux didn't provide a timeline or estimate as to when the tests may start, but said that the company was eager to start the process.
"We're excited to help the environment with technologies we're using in our everyday life at Global," he said.