Increase in CBD stores, but what exactly are you buying?

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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 do they sell?

Savannah City officials say there are now 24 CBD dispensaries across the city. You may have spotted a few.

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

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

“Take away all that stigma that it’s devil’s lettuce and it’s just about getting high,” Jay Cooper said.

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

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

But Cooper says CBD has helped her clients get off opioid painkillers.

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

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

Cooper sells CBD and Delta-8 products. He says he has all of his products tested by third-party labs, to make sure they are safe.

The laboratories then issue a “certificate of analysis”.

“Not only does COA stand for Certificate of Analysis, but also ‘Cover Our _.’…because it also protects us,” Cooper said.

They are far from the only game in town.

Anthony Golden runs Huta CBD Essentials near Eisenhower Drive. He says he worked in manufacturing before taking on the role.

Golden says he had 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 several cannabis-derived products, including CBD and Delta-8.

The FDA claims that Delta-8 THC is a legal psychoactive substance derived from the cannabis plant.

Golden says – growers 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 workaround,” Golden said.

Both stores also sell other products, including dog chews, strains advertised to give you energy, and others to suppress appetite.

Cooper says he feels they are having a positive impact.

“It’s the good thing we’re in because it helps people,” Cooper said.

The FDA warns that Delta-8 products are not FDA approved.

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

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