Rise in CBD stores, but what exactly are the products you’re purchasing?

Published: Apr. 22, 2022 at 3:43 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - You may have noticed CBD dispensaries popping-up all over Savannah.

So, what are they and what exactly are they selling?

Savannah city officials say there are now 24 CBD dispensaries citywide. You may have spotted a few of them.

CBD gummies, Delta-8 lollipops, and “pineapple express” smokable buds - walk into one of these dispensaries and you’d think you were in Colorado or California.

But these shops are in Savannah, the products are legal and the people who run them say they’re on a mission.

“Take away this whole [stigma] about it being the devil’s lettuce, and that it’s only about getting high,” Jay Cooper said.

Cooper owns Hemp Leaf CBD Supply Company off DeRenne Avenue. He says he started using CBD after he was hit head-on by a wrong-way driver.

CBD is a compound in the cannabis plant, advertised to help with things like pain, inflammation, and even anxiety. Those claims have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

But Cooper says CBD has helped his customers get off opioid painkillers.

“Actually, I got my orthopedic doctor to start sending me people here,” Cooper said.

Cooper opened his shop right after Governor Brian Kemp signed the Georgia Hemp Farming Act into law three years ago. That law opened the door for hemp cultivation statewide.

Cooper sells CBD and Delta-8 products. He says he gets all his products tested by third-party labs, to ensure they’re safe.

The labs then issue a “Certificate of Analysis.”

“Not only does C.O.A. stand for Certificate of Analysis, it’s also for ‘Cover Our _.’... because it also protects us,” Cooper said.

They’re far from the only game in town.

Anthony Golden manages Huta CBD Essentials near Eisenhower Drive. He says he was working in manufacturing before taking-on this role.

Golden says he’d never even tried cannabis products before.

“It was a big transition knowing that I had to try this stuff for research purposes,” Golden said.

Huta also sells multiple cannabis-derived products including CBD and Delta-8.

The FDA says Delta-8 THC is a legal, psycho-active substance derived from the cannabis plant.

Golden says - producers concentrate Delta-8 THC - making it much stronger than CBD oil - and more like traditional marijuana, known as Delta-9.

“Kind of like a legal work-around,” Golden said.

Both shops sell other products, too, including dog chewables, strains advertised to give you energy and others, to reduce appetite.

Cooper says he feels they’re making a positive impact.

“This is the right thing that we’re into, because it does help out people,” Cooper said.

The FDA does warn that Delta-8 products are not approved by the FDA.

“The FDA is also concerned that Delta-8 THC products likely expose consumers to much higher levels of the substance than are naturally occurring in hemp cannabis raw extracts. Thus, historical use of cannabis cannot be relied upon in establishing a level of safety for these products in humans.”

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