CBD gains popularity as local retailers enter cannabis market

By Brandon Anderegg

Jan. 3, 2019

 CBD consultant Butch Chamulak at Full Spectrum Holistic Healing discusses the different methods of using CBD as well as the various products the store has to offer.
Brandon Anderegg/Freeman Staff

WAUKESHA — The popular cannabis extract from hemp known as cannabidiol or “CBD” has emerged in storefronts and street signs as Waukesha-area businesses find their place in the cannabis market — some of which specialize in CBD while others offer CBD products in addition to their usual wares.

Passing by Ink Gun Clothing on Clinton Street in downtown Waukesha, it’s hard to miss the sidewalk sign with “CBD” in large lettering. Not too much further down the road, more signage can be found at Full Spectrum Holistic Healing, a CBD dispensary retail store that opened at Five Points in early December.

Retailers have even added CBD to some of their products, such as Waukesha coffee house Café De Arts Roasting Company, whose CBD-infused coffee has become a big hit among customers, said Ayhan Munzur, Café De Arts Roasting Company owner. For those not familiar with the relative of marijuana, CBD is a legal extract from the hemp plant known for its health benefits such as relieving pain associated with chronic ailments.

But even though cannabis, marijuana and hemp seem interchangeable, they’re different.

Cannabis is a family of plants with hemp and marijuana being a part of that family. Both have similarities, but a major difference is that hemp, or its CBD extract, has less than .03 percent of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. This means CBD does not produce the “high” or intoxicating effect associated with marijuana and by law, it can’t.

CBD legality, popularity

So, what brought these three little letters into the spotlight?

The federal 2018 Farm Bill legalized the production of hemp in the state of Wisconsin, which had been outlawed since 1937, said Gary Landreman, national ambassador for Zilis, LLC, a national company that produces and distributes CBD oil.

“It is now an agricultural commodity,” said Landreman. “It’s just like corn or wheat.”

The Farm Bill essentially removed industrial hemp from the Controlled Substance Act, which in turn gave hemp farmers in Wisconsin access to the CBD market. Moreover, it gave Wisconsin hemp farmers access to crop insurance and they can now fully participate in United States Department of Agriculture programs.

Back in May, Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel issued a memo where he clarified state laws as Congress worked on the bill.

“With the 2018 Farm Bill now working its way through Congress, it is likely that our current laws will be changed even further to make industrial hemp’s legality clear,” Schimel wrote in the memo. “Therefore, I am advising law enforcement not to take enforcement action against products made from industrial hemp that is grown under a lawful hemp research pilot program, including CBD, until Congress considers changes to the law, enabling the Wisconsin State Legislature to further clarify the status of these products.”

But it’s also clinical trials and studies backing the positive health benefits of CBD that’s making the product more popular and publicly acceptable, Landreman said.

“People have realized now that it’s a perfectly legal product that has a tremendous amount of benefits that can help them with their health,” he said.

Full Spectrum Co-Managing Director Michelle La Count said CBD’s exploding availability on a local level can in part be attributed to its high demand.

“It is the same reason that every restaurant had a low carb option when Atkins and the South Beach Diet were at their peak — if consumers will buy it, everyone wants to stock it,” said La Count.

While 1 million Wisconsinites voted in favor of legalizing marijuana for either medicinal or recreational purposes in a November referendum, the referendum was advisory or a way of gauging public opinion. In other words, CBD had nothing to do with the referendum while marijuana remains illegal in Wisconsin both medicinally and recreationally.

 Full Spectrum Holistic Healing in Waukesha offers three different varieties
of hemp flower that can be smoked.
Brandon Anderegg/Freeman Staff

Education still an issue, says attorney

La Count, who’s an attorney by trade, said she entered into the CBD business with Full Spectrum COO and co-managing director Aleksandr Gerasyuta after her husband Vince died from glioblastoma multiforme, a form of brain cancer.

CBD comes in a wide array of products with different strengths and preparations including oils, topicals, raw flower and edibles such as gummies and lollipops.

While La Count said she’s not sure whether CBD would have saved her husband, she’s familiar with the pain and anxiety relief the cannabis extract can offer.

Part of the reason she opened Full Spectrum was to provide customers with the access and education necessary to make an informed decision about CBD, she said.

“I am all for people having access to this product; when Vince was sick, maybe this would have helped him — we will never know because it was illegal then — but that doesn’t mean every version of it out there is right for every person,” La Count said. “There needs to be education.”

However, just like any other supplement, people should consult with a physician or a pharmacist before taking CBD, especially if you’re already taking other medications, La Count added.

“Full Spectrum is dedicated to education,” La Count said. “Once people know about all the ongoing research and potential benefits that scientists and researchers are publishing seemingly every week, they are going to be able to make informed decisions about whether CBD makes sense for them.”

<<EARLIER: CBD oil shop coming to downtown Waukesha