Colorado is preparing to see heavy growth in the hemp industry this year, particularly in regards to one of the most popular hemp-derived products, CBD.
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive compound found in hemp, a relative of marijuana, that is low in THC, which is the compound in marijuana that gets users high. According to the Colorado Sun, CBD is the biggest driver for hemp in the state and around the country.
Following the passage of the Farm Bill in December, hemp is no longer a Schedule 1 substance and, therefore, hemp-derived products, including CBD, are no longer illegal.
While CBD products can already be found online, the change in its legal status is expected to make CBD more common in both small businesses and chain stores, including Target and CVS, according to Colorado Public Radio.
Grand County residents can find all sorts of CBD products at both the Granby and Winter Park locations of K&J Smoke Shop. Amber Saldate, manager for the Granby location, said the store started to sell the products because customers were coming in seeking them.
“We learned about CBD because we had a few people come in and say it had been helping them,” Saldate said.
Saldate explained that the CBD products the store sells have no THC in them, so there aren’t restrictions on who can buy. However, K&J requires all customers be 18 or older and show proof of ID.
K&J Smoke Shop offers customers plenty of options for CBD products, including lotions, transdermal patches, edibles, vape cartridges, bath bombs, tinctures, capsules and even dog treats.
While CBD products can’t make health claims in marketing without the approval of the Food and Drug Administration, Saldate said she hears from customers who use the products for a wide range of issues, including quitting smoking.
Since there is little research surrounding the health benefits of CBD, much of the evidence is anecdotal. Customers seeking the products use it for anything from muscle pain to anxiety or nausea, as well as a sleep aid.
“I’ve really only ever gotten positive feedback,” Saldate said. “I sold this guy a balm that he uses on his joints and he actually came back and bought two more because he wanted to give one to his mom.”
Saldate said there’s no one kind of customer that asks for CBD products and that she has definitely seen more interest in the products lately. Because of the popularity of CBD products, she said K&J is considering expanding their selection and moving it closer to the front door.
Dispensaries often also sell CBD products, but, unlike CBD products online or in smoke stores, they contain at least .3 percent of THC. Tyler Dodd, general manager at IgadI, said CBD products are popular at the store, even among marijuana-users.
“There’s definitely a market for both (CBD and THC),” Dodd said. “We’re getting great feedback, so we’re starting to widen the range of our products.”
Like K&J, IgadI has CBD products ranging from ingestibles to topicals to ones that can be smoked and also makes its own CBD products. Dodd said some customers like CBD products because they don’t get the user high so they can be used during the day and others prefer CBD products with higher THC levels.
“Some people are going to find relief through CBD only, where they don’t want the mental effect or the high,” he said. “If they’re saying they want pain relief or sleep, we can always recommend (CBD), especially if they have a daytime job and they need to try it before work.”
David Michel, general counsel for IgadI, said one benefit of buying CBD at a dispensary is that the product is tested multiple times for purity, unlike CBD products sold online. Another is the benefit of knowledge from the sales associates.
“Really, it’s all anecdotal, the evidence that we’re working on is evidence from our experiences and seeing what feedback we get from customers and the feedback we get in our own personal lives and we use that to try to help people figure out what’s best for them,” Michel said.