The demand for products containing the marijuana plant-derived cannabidiol (CBD) has become so high that one local health and wellness store has had trouble keeping CBD products on its shelves since they were introduced.
Owner of New Life Natural Vegetation Cell Food Julian Smith said he first stocked the shelves of his store with a variety of products containing organic United States government-approved CBD about two months ago.
“We have been selling hemp oil for the past eight years, but the CBD oil we just started selling recently, and immediately when the CBD oil came, it was basically sold out,” he told Guardian Business in an interview yesterday.
“I have some Cabinet ministers who can’t wait to get their hands on a bottle. They know the medicinal value. I have some cancer patients, the CBD oil addresses it. It’s a miracle plant.”
However, at about $140 per product – provided in an oil, capsule or pain rub ointment – Smith said the company is not making a tremendous profit from the sales just yet.
“We are dealing with the manufacturers now. We are just selling it for maybe five or six dollars more than they are selling it. But what I really want to do is move it on volume, because I want people to understand the medicinal benefits of it,” he said.
Still, he said, he considered himself a trailblazer by being one of only a few local establishments to offer such products.
“I think we are being a trailblazer. Let me tell you something, the CBD oil has been out a little while now, but it has not been as popular because of the legislation around it. But since the legislation was passed in the United States that’s when the market opened up,” Smith said.
“A lot of companies are carrying CBD oil, but we have done a lot of research to ensure that whomever we align ourselves with is at the highest level.”
Smith said his company has aligned itself with a supplier in the United States that operates at the highest standards.
“We have been working with a company based in Kentucky. They have a farm that is governed by the U.S. government. It is restricted, they have to grow the plant organically in certain conditions. Once that product is grown, it is taken to California, where they extract 99 percent of the potency of the product, the CBD part. They remove the THC out of it,” he said.
“The product is certified. It’s tested three times before it actually leaves the lab for distribution. The fact that this company does due diligence through the U.S. government, working with Kentucky, and going through California for the extraction. We decided to align ourselves with them, based on the integrity of the company and its association with the United States government.”
The marijuana plant contains dozens of cannabinoids, the most well-known being tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which can cause a feeling of being high.
However, research has found that other cannabinoids such as CBD will not induce a feeling of being high, and can be used to treat medical ailments.
According to the Dangerous Drugs Act it is illegal to import Indian hemp which “includes all parts of any plant of the genus cannabis, whether growing or not, from which the resin has not been extracted; the resin extracted from any part of such plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt derivative, mixture or preparation of such plant or resin”.
Last October, when asked about the legality of products containing CBD that were being sold in another establishment on the island, Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands said, “Is it legal? Yes, it is legal. However, you would need to have an import license.
“So, the existing framework allows for CBD to be imported with the approval of the Pharmaceutical Council and the Ministry of Health. There have been no applications to my knowledge for approval.”
Smith yesterday called the marijuana plant a “miracle plant” that can address many ailments in The Bahamas.
“Any athlete, or anybody who has a rotator cuff problem, or if they have any kind of pain in the body, the CBD oil addresses it. I had a lady who brought a dog to me. She had a pit bull, and the pit bull had cancer and they couldn’t do anything with the pit bull. We have what they call a pet CBD oil and it will begin to break up the cancer cells. If you talk to that woman now you can see her dog moving around and walking around. When I first met the dog, the dog couldn’t even move; it had cancer,” he said.
“When God created the marijuana plant, he created it for a reason. The fact that you don’t know the reason doesn’t cancel its purpose. If you abuse the plant, if you abnormally use the plant, it’s abuse. I personally don’t believe in the recreational use of it because there’s a thin line between entertainment and addiction, and people don’t know when they’ve crossed it.”
Paige started working as a business reporter in August 2016.
Education: Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2006 with a BA in Radio and Television News