CBD Rises High

CBD Rises High

Read in Coulture Magazine’s Spring 2020 Metamorphosis Issue

Lord Jones—a rising player in the wellness industry—sells raspberry hemp-flavored confections infused with Martha Stewart’s favorite botanical: marijuana gumdrops. 

Cannabis has officially debuted in the classy self-care market. Weed has entered the chat — April 20, 2020 was the ultimate 4/20. 

 Can we blame Stewart? Maybe. Wellness matriarch Gwenyth Paltrow? Perhaps.

I suppose I have some mild authority on this topic. I grew up in Denver, Colorado, a place where weed shops are as common as coffee shops. My hometown, the Mile High City, throws a marijuana festival every year. There are 12 dispensaries within walking distance of my house. 

I get the hype. 

The economic value of the cannabidinol (CBD) industry cannot be ignored. A box of Lord Jones gumdrops will put you back $50, and the whole company is valued at around $300 million.

 The former Reefer Madness drug is evolving into a staple of pop culture, a beacon of alternative health care and a lucrative cash cow. The business venture has been featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour — and, of course, Goop. The list of celebrity Instagram endorsers is full of A-List movie stars, supermodels and fitness influencers. Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Antison have even started using the CBD game. 

In the past 5 years, the marijuana industry has undergone a major transformation. The use of cannabis is currently legalized recreationally in 11 states and medically in 33 states, and the market for stress-reducing CBD oils, lotions and teas is growing rapidly. 

High-end luxury marketing is being used to sell CBD coffee, pet products, tea and beauty essentials. Lord Jones is in the spotlight with its impressive sales of CBD-infused candy, bath salts, oils, tinctures, gel capsules and skincare products. Smaller, more locally-based companies, like Bluebird Botanicals (Colorado), Receptra Naturals (also Colorado) and Johnny Apple CBD (California) also contribute to CBD being an estimated $20 billion industry by 2024, according to Forbes. 

However, it’s important to note that CBD gummy bears won’t make you high —

you’ll have to get your Scooby Snacks elsewhere. The cannabis element that causes the  psychedelic high is Δ-9-THC. CBD is a naturally occurring element in marijuana, that offers the calming, pain relieving qualities of marijuana without the bake. 

Marijuana continues to be an illegal Schedule I drug on the federal level — meaning there is no federally recognized medical use and the drug is considered to have a high potential for addiction. Specifically, purified CBD is Schedule V, the lowest drug class, but is still not legal to sell openly in most states. 

Most CBD sales occur online, and are shipped nationally from states where weed is fully legal, like Colorado, California and Oregon. The Hemp Store on Franklin Street, for instance, is able to operate because it sells low potency products that are below the North Carolina legal limit of THC. 

This is perhaps where the drug’s popularity gets blurry, and why there is inherent privilege in having access to luxury cannabis. Although rates of marijuana use are consistent  across demographics, Black people — Black men in particular — are four times more likely to be arrested for possession than white people. The New York Times reports that, in 2018, 64 percent of drug-related arrests in New York were people of color. The ability to consider CBD trendy is largely dependent on a person’s socioeconomic status, gender and the color of their skin. It is not be to be negated that weed sales drive The War on Drugs and the mass incarceration of non-white individuals. 

Despite its legal complexities, the drug has some merit. Cannabidional might actually cure your ails.

The more mild effects of CBD indicate that it is safe and effective for people of various ages and demographics. Scientists are beginning to look at CBD as an alternative pain management source outside the easily-abused opiates. Recent studies in the Journal of Clinical Neurophysiology show CBD is effective in treating symptoms and development of endometriosis and pediatric epilepsy. Natural CBD oils, lotions and salts have also been proven by Harvard Health to treat arthritis, neuropathic pain and chronic inflammation in chronic patients.

Maybe the Colorado girl is biased — but weed gumdrops might be onto something. 

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