119 million. That is the number of Americans over the age of 12 who reported that they take some type of prescribed tranquilizer, sedative or pain killer in a survey conducted by the federal government. Out of that number, 19 million people admitted to misusing their medications. It is no secret that our country is plagued with a serious opioid problem. But what if there was an alternative to taking potentially addictive medications? Well, there just might be, and it’s been around for centuries. And just what is this potential miracle compound? Its name is Cannabidiol, but many know it as CBD.
CBD products are taking over store shelves, and the list of acclaimed health benefits seems to grow by the hour. But what do you really know about this miracle compound? We turn to two local experts for a bit of clarity on the matter.
“Many people don’t realize that there are actually two different plants that contain CBD,” Tara McCrary, independent advocate for Green Compass Global, explains. “There is the marijuana plant and the hemp plant. The marijuana plant is high in THC and low in CBD, whereas the hemp plant is high in CBD and low in THC.”
Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning users will not experience a high as one would ingesting THC. Although hemp and marijuana plants may smell and look the same, hemp plants do not contain more than 0.3 percent THC. Think of hemp as a close relative to the marijuana plant; like the cool aunt, who brings really cool presents every time she visits.
Users of CBD oils and CBD infused products report significant decrease in pain and anxiety. Studies have also found that the compound helps reduce depression in both animals and humans and may be beneficial in relieving cancer related symptoms. In addition to these benefits, many report little to no side-effects, and studies have shown that using CBD does not impact brain function or cause addiction.
The cultivation of hemp, a variety of cannabis, can be traced back to China in 2800 BCE. It was also used in the Mediterranean countries of Europe and spread throughout the rest of Europe during the Middle Ages. Hemp plants were found to be sown in Chile in the 1500s prior to making their way to North America.
“As a nurse of 23 years, I could not have been more excited at what I saw,” Tara Mcrary comments. “So many health benefits are being reported. We started asking our own friends and family what they knew about CBD and found many of them were already using a product or knew someone that was. We became involved with Green Compass before we even had a product to offer.”
Although we can find traces of CBD woven throughout our historical fabric and plastered on billboards for miles around, not all CBD products are created equal. As with anything, the steps taken to cultivate and manufacture products from the plant are what help to determine its quality. Green Compass takes pride in the methods they use to ensure they are providing the consumer with safe and quality product.
“CBD is not a regulated industry at the moment. It is important to know every source of your CBD,” Tara warns. “Whatever the soil has in it and is rooted in becomes part of the CBD you consume. You can end up with heavy metals, fungi and harmful bacteria if you don’t know where it’s coming from.”
Green Compass Global hemp farms are located in Whiteville, North Carolina. Their farmers are sixth-generation farmers and graduates of NC State’s Agriculture program. Their hemp plants are organically grown and free of pesticides and insecticides. Their farmers are a part of the Industrial Hemp Pilot Program created by North Carolina legislature in 2016, and they’ve consulted NC State professors on how to go about cultivating a quality plant. Additionally, Green Compass uses a third-party lab that tests every crop for chemical makeup, including CBD and THC levels. Customers can scan a QR code on every bottle of Green Compass oils to view the Certificate of Analysis. And recently, the company added topical creams and pain patches to their product line that are registered with the FDA.
One can’t help but think that this type of dedication to quality is what has led to Green Compass becoming one of the first CBD companies who will receive a USDA certified organic label for their hemp crops in October of 2019.
However, Green Compass isn’t the only CBD company making a name for itself in North Carolina.
In 2016 Hempleton Investment Group partnered with Hemp Farmacy Inc. to open its first retail franchise in 2018. While Hempleton’s corporate offices are located in Wilmington, the Hemp Farmacy retail franchises stretch across Virginia and the Carolinas.
“The Hemp Farmacy was built as the retail model of Hempleton’s vertical farm to cabinet initiative,” says CEO and founder Justin Hamilton. “The goal was to build a retail dispensary that was linked directly to the farm that offered customers trustworthy products along with accurate education.”
Hemp Farmacy, the first cannabis member to be inducted into the International Franchise Association, has two retail franchises in Wilmington and additional stores in Raleigh, Jacksonville and Fayetteville. There are also plans to open franchises on the Eastern Seaboard, Florida, Arizona and Tennessee.
“The stores have played a major role in not only cracking the stigma around cannabis, but they have also been models to allow Hempleton the data it needed to build the first hemp franchise in America,” Hamilton explains.
While it has been legal to grow hemp in North Carolina for research purposes since the 2014 Farm Bill, in December 2018, the United States Congress voted to approve the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. Commonly referred to as the 2018 Farm Bill, the bill legalized hemp and hemp-derived products. This opened the door for farmers establishing hemp farms in North Carolina and across the United States.
“The 2018 Farm Bill is a very important piece of legislative history, and the long term effects for the industry will be powerful,” says Hamilton.
However, despite the passing of the bill, there is still some confusion in the industry. “The primary misconception in the market currently is the use of the cannabinoid and term CBD. CBD is a very popular cannabinoid and has tons of benefits to the consumer, primarily as an anti-inflammatory, “ Hamilton says. “However, there are hundreds of other cannabinoids with just as many or even more specific benefits to the body.”
It is organizations like Hempleton Investments and Hemp Farmacy that are using their research to improve and educate about the industry.
“The market demands, regulations, legislation and even consumer education levels can change just over a couple of months, and a company and its employees have to be versatile enough to make the shift with the industry, or else the company is destined to fail,” Hamilton says. “It is important to have a partner or a proven and trusted system like The Hemp Farmacy Franchise to follow and work with as these changes impact the market.”
Despite the uncertainty in the CBD industry, one thing is definitely clear: CBD is here and taking the business, medical and farming communities by storm. It is up to you to decide just what role you will play as CBD becomes increasingly popular in today’s ever-evolving consumer market.