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CBD oil sales expected to soar in 2019

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Hemp oil going mainstream in Nelson County, Kentucky

By Randy Patrick

Cannabinoid Solutions was closed New Year’s Eve because they had a run on CDB oil during the holidays and couldn’t get more of their product.

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“We were just selling it so quickly we couldn’t keep it in stock,” store employee Lisa Wooton said when the store reopened Wednesday.

During the holidays, she said, many customers were buying cannabidiol, or CBD, as Christmas presents and stocking stuffers.

“We went through a whole lot of oil,” she said.

The store’s owner, Mark Lundy, who is a franchise holder for the national chain Endo Scientific, said he sells several thousand dollars worth a month.

He sells 600 milligram vials for $40 and 1,500 mg for $90 of his organic product.

Other local retailers say their sales have also been brisk.

Rhonda Davis of Shepherdsville, who opened Cannabis Phrog on Bloomfield Road in Bardstown in May 2017, has moved it to a more high-traffic area near Walmart and opened her third store, in Lawrenceburg, in August. Her sales have probably quadrupled in the last year, she said.

“For me, it’s like Jesus in a bottle...”

Scott Lindsey, American Shaman owner

Scott Lindsey, who holds the American Shaman franchise on North Third Street, is also expanding his business. His company has stores in Elizabethtown and Louisville as well as Bardstown, and he hopes to have six by March, including one in Mount Washington.

According to Statista, the online statistics portal, CBD oil sales increased from $108.1 million in 2014 to $262.2 million in 2016, and are expected to reach $813.2 million in the new year.

And CBD shops aren’t the only ones selling it. Pharmacies are getting in on the act, and even some gas stations, such as FiveStar, keep it behind the counter, along with cigarettes and lottery tickets.

Hemp, it seems, has gone mainstream.

And it’s expected that both sales and production will soar now that hemp is completely legal under the recently signed 2018 Farm Bill, which removed it from the list of Schedule I controlled substances. Kentucky farmers have been growing it since 2014 under state licenses and strict supervision,.

Hemp is actually the same plant as marijuana, but it’s often referred to as a “cousin,” because it’s grown differently, for the cannabidiol, or CBD, rather than for the psychoactive agent, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Hemp grown for its oil has less than .3 percent THC.

Lindsey said customers could drink every bottle of CBD oil in his store and it wouldn’t get them high.

Hemp oil is sold for its therapeutic value. Many of those who take it say it helps them with ailments including arthritis pain, anxiety and depression, migraine headaches, fibromyalgia, seizures, even Parkinson’s disease.

Lindsey is a believer. He’s a former bodybuilder who suffers from neck pain and sleep apnea, but after he started taking CBD, he said, his pain lessened and he can sleep all night without waking.

“For me, it’s like Jesus in a bottle,” he joked.

During his first trip to Kansas City, where American Shaman is based, Lindsey said he met a woman who had migraines until she started taking CBD, and they just disappeared. He also met a teenager whose anxiety was so bad she didn’t want to leave the house, but after she started taking it, she was able to work as a waitress.

“We can’t diagnose, treat or cure anything. We can’t make any claims at all,” Lindsey said, at least not until the Food and Drug Administration does more research on it. But many of his customers return for more and tell him it works.

Davis said she’s also heard some remarkable testimonials from customers.

“It’s helped so many people,” she said.

Ben Mudd, a pharmacist at Medica, said his company also can’t make medical claims, but as a pharmacist, he recommends it based on patients’ experiences.

“We’ve seen a lot of patient success with pain, anxiety, depression” and other illnesses, he said. “We sell a ton of it.”

But he also urges caution.

“It’s not addictive. It’s not habit forming. It has very few side effects,” he said. Overall, he said, it’s a “safe supplement.” But, he added, there is a potential for interaction with some drugs, including statins for controlling cholesterol and some chemotherapy drugs for cancer patients.

“We want to make sure that if people are using supplements, they check with their pharmacist or doctor before they start it because there are drug interactions that we’re sometimes worried about with some of our patients,” he said.

Lindsey also said he and his associates tell customers to consult their doctors before taking CBD if they have concerns.

Something else consumers should know is that CBD can cause them to fail a drug test by testing positive for marijuana because there are “trace amounts of THC” in the product, even if it isn’t enough to be intoxicating, Mudd said.

Mudd said the FDA has already approved a high-dosage CBD product, Epidiolex, as a prescription drug for epileptic seizures, but has taken a wait-and-see approach to low-dose CBD since the Farm Bill made hemp oil legal. If the agency doesn’t regulate it as a nutritional supplement, consumers who are already used to buying it over the counter will “throw a fit,” he said.

“It’s going to be an interesting year,” he said.