Healthy Outlook: CBD products could help treat what ails you

photo by: Mackenzie Clark/Journal-World Photo

An assortment of flavored CBD tinctures sits on the counter at CBD American Shaman Lawrence, 1530 W. Sixth St. Suite C, on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. The tinctures can be taken sublingually (under the tongue) or added to water or another beverage.

It’s not a big surprise anymore for Brandon Zoeller when customers return to his store without the walkers or knee braces they used in their first visits — but he said it’s still one of the most rewarding parts of the job.

Zoeller and his wife, Heather, opened the doors of their franchise of CBD American Shaman at 1530 W. Sixth St., Suite C, on July 6. Since then, a lot of folks have sampled their wares, but their reactions don’t get old.

“You just watch this look come over their eyes, and (they’re) like, ‘I can walk again; I can move, my knees don’t hurt; I can open my hands — I haven’t been able to do this,'” Zoeller said.

The variety of products the store offers contain cannabidiol (abbreviated CBD), a chemical derived from industrial hemp. It’s completely legal — which is good, since our bodies’ endocannabinoid systems naturally produce the chemical.

Consider CBD products more as supplements than medications. It’s “not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease,” as the Food and Drug Administration words it, but there’s about a mile-long list of conditions and symptoms it can aid, with pain chief among them. Zoeller said many of its benefits are ideal for seniors in particular.

photo by: Mac Moore/Journal-World Photo

Heather and Brandon Zoeller, co-owners of CBD American Shaman Lawrence at 1530 W. Sixth St. Suite C, speak with a Journal-World reporter at the store on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. The two opened the store on July 6.

“A large percentage of my clients are people that have arthritis, fibromyalgia, the aches and pains,” he said. Some of the other top reasons people use CBD are stress, anxiety, insomnia, inability to focus, cancer, seizures and chronic illnesses.

An analogy Zoeller gives to explain to clients how CBD works is the game of telephone, where kids whisper a message from one to the next, and by the time it reaches the last person, the message has completely changed. As we start getting older, he said the communication between cells starts falling apart; CBD reopens the lines of communication, “so our body starts working to naturally heal itself.”

“CBD just kind of gives it a kick in the right direction, so you can get back to homeostasis,” he said. “… Instead of masking the pain, it’s about trying to help it heal.”

But as a natural substance, it touts benefits that over-the-counter and prescription drugs can’t.

“The beautiful part about CBD is we don’t build up a tolerance for it,” Zoeller said. “It doesn’t become less effective in our bodies over time.”

CBD is certainly not some new, cutting-edge treatment. It’s been used for thousands of years. More recently, it’s seen a meteoric rise in popularity — “the new gold rush,” Zoeller called it. He attributes a lot of this surge to increasing awareness of prescription painkillers and the problems they can bring.

“We’ve kind of reached an opioid epidemic, and people don’t like the way they feel on their prescriptions. They don’t like being overly medicated,” he said, noting that one of the top concerns he hears from customers is that they want to get off their prescriptions. “… A healthy natural alternative that actually works sounds great for them.”

Some CBD products at the store include tinctures and oils, gummies, beauty products such as lip balm, undereye cream, face cream and body lotion, and water-soluble bath bombs. Of course there are products for pets (cats, dogs and horses, so far) as well — the Zoellers wouldn’t want to leave out their Jack Russell terriers, Sunny and Bailey.

“This stuff has got them a lot more active as far as play,” he said of the pups, but “they’re actually sleeping through the night.”

The folks at the store can help customers determine which products, strengths and dosages will best suit their needs.

photo by: Mac Moore/Journal-World Photo

A variety of CBD candies and cookies is shown at CBD American Shaman Lawrence, 1530 W. Sixth St. Suite C, on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018.

There are a couple of contraindications for CBD products, though. Zoeller said they ask those who take blood pressure medications or any drugs that bar you from drinking grapefruit juice to check with their doctors first, because CBD could affect absorption. And, like anything else, it might not work for everyone.

My experience

There is no shortage of stores selling these types of products in Lawrence — we’ve reported on at least three businesses that focus solely on CBD — but I happened into this store during a day off with my family. (The Journal-World reported in August 2017 about a different store by the same name at 19th and Massachusetts streets; it is no longer affiliated with Shaman.)

I’ll let Zoeller be the one to regale you with many stories of folks whose lives have dramatically improved since they started using CBD supplements, but I can share my own experience.

The store offers samples of water that contains CBD. Within five minutes or so of drinking the lightly grape-flavored solution, I felt calmer and more mellow.

photo by: Mac Moore/Journal-World Photo

Andrew Mellott, store manager at CBD American Shaman Lawrence, 1530 W. Sixth St. Suite C, talks with a customer at the store on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018.

Store manager Andrew Mellott also offered me a small sample of a top seller: their topical pain reliever, Equine Ointment. I rubbed it into the back of my neck, and the intense pain and stiffness I’ve had there was gone for several days.

It’s not really a surprise to me, then, that Zoeller and Mellott both have stories of family members and customers who don’t need their prescriptions anymore or are no longer bedridden. Mellott was able to kick his smoking habit by vaping CBD instead.

On Friday, I decided to buy a bottle of Nano Kava-Kava. It’s a sort of special blend that is not intended for daily use but rather to ease more acute symptoms of anxiety, insomnia or muscle soreness. They call it “natural Valium,” and that’s really no joke; the bottle even says not to drink alcohol or drive after you take it.

Within seconds of dropping the tincture under my tongue, I felt its soothing effects. My mind felt more peaceful than it had all week, and my body could’ve melted into the couch. It will definitely be beneficial in times when my stress levels skyrocket.

Help for those in need

CBD American Shaman offers a “compassionate care” program to help those with disabilities or chronic conditions afford the products they need. Those approved (Zoeller said he has never heard of anyone getting rejected) get a 30 percent discount online and at all of the company’s stores. Military and first responders get 20 percent off, and there’s a 10 percent discount for those ages 62 and up.

“We call it our young person discount,” Zoeller said.

Visit to apply for the discount, or call the Lawrence store for more information at 785-424-7500.

Related stories:

Kansas moving forward on industrial hemp; licenses could be available by spring, Sept. 14, 2018

Bills authorizing cannabidiol products, new state park go to governor, April 26, 2018

About Healthy Outlook

Healthy Outlook is a column written by Journal-World reporter and Health section editor Mackenzie Clark, in hopes of helping readers make their lives a little bit happier, healthier and more active.

Have questions about the world of health and wellness in Lawrence, or a health story idea? Contact Mackenzie:

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