Photos Cameron Flaisch
Disclaimer: Being non-medical, CBD distributors cannot diagnose or treat any symptoms a person may have. They can and do, however, stand behind their product.
While natural remedies like CBD have existed for centuries, recent years have seen an uptick in both interest in and use of the product. V3 spoke with three local stores to get a glimpse into what CBD is, how it has captured the attention of our society, and the benefits that it has to offer.
CBD, which stands for cannabidiol, is naturally found in plants in the cannabis family. “CBD comes from the same plant origins as marijuana,” says Andrew “Red” Ross of Native Escapes. “You have the hemp plant and the marijuana plant. CBD comes in both plants, it’s just that the marijuana buds have a high THC content and have low CBD content, while the hemp plant has high CBD and very little THC content.”
“Like many other seeds or plants that have the oil extracted from them (corn, sunflower, castor for example), CBD is a product from the cannabis plant that is cold-pressed,” explains Larry Lassiter of The Herb Shop. “The oil is the beneficial part of the actual plant that helps you (with stress, anxiety, sleep, arthropathy, systemic arthritic pain) versus buying a street drug, smoking it, and getting high. It’s two totally different animals.”
The oil, which can be consumed in a variety of forms from infused drinks to gummy candies, works by affecting the endocannabinoid system in the brain. This is the regulatory system of the body that maintains homeostasis (internal stability) in other systems of the body.
Despite the medical benefits that CBD offers, the potential for negative associations with marijuana has required that local proprietors work to educate their consumer as to the difference between the two products. In the seven years that The Herb Shop has carried CBD oil, “the mindset about it has changed,” explains Lassiter. “When we first started selling CBD, we would literally have people from the churches telling us that what we were doing was wrong. But after seeking more education on the product, now entire congregations of churches are referring CBD oil to their friends. The elderly generation in particular have been able to be more mobile and have more energy, they call it their ‘Go-Go Juice!”
“While the product falls in the family of cannabis, it is not marijuana,” says Nishad Pandya of Rome CBD Farm. “It’s not even the same as medical marijuana. A distributor of medical marijuana may sing the praises of their product but as medical marijuana is not available here, CBD is the next best option. There is no psychotropic effect; you won’t get high, you won’t have hallucinations and you’re not going to be tripping. CBD gives you all the benefits of medical marijuana, minus the high that comes associated with it, and that’s a win-win. You cannot lose there.”
Each proprietor prides themself on not only the quality of their product, but also the direct connection they have with their suppliers. The Herb Shop has worked with an organic farm in Canada for several years where all production steps are performed by a single source. “I don’t believe in buying at market price, where per se this guy is cheaper,” says Lassiter. “I want the quality, I want it tested, and I want the certificate of analysis saying that there are no funguses, pesticides, or other elements in the oil, so that I can provide to a customer on demand.”
Rome CBD Farm, which wholesales and distributes CBD in addition to selling retail, is affiliated with the product lab at Green Monkey Farms in South Carolina and gets their product ‘from scratch’. Green Monkey Farms focuses especially on flour and oil, with one of their most unique products being an organic MCT coconut oil infused with CBD. “Organic coconut oil is expensive. We’re about quality, we want to push the right product until the market,” Pandya says. “Go to the right stores to get the right product. Remember, the right product is not always cheap. Price is the number one driving factor.”
Native Escapes takes great care to only work with transparent, reputable distributors. They are able to track their product through production from the seed all the way to bottling. “We’ve done a diligent job of taking the guesswork out for the consumer,” says Ashley Canty. “They are all third-party tested and lab-tested for quality and assurance. We supply mostly Full Spectrum products, but we do utilize a variety of brands. We also have brochures on each product we sell for the customers and we have literature on how you could use the products.”
For more information or to purchase CBD, visit The Herb Shop at 103 Broad Street, Rome CBD Farm at 610 Shorter Avenue, and Native Escapes at 326 Ste 100 Broad Street.