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From the hills of ancient China to the hustle-and-bustle of modern American life, cannabis has been used for thousands of years. The plant dates back to 2900 BC, when Chinese Emperor Fu Hsi deemed cannabis an effective medical treatment for conditions like memory loss, malaria, and rheumatism.
From then on, cannabis made a name for itself among many important people. Christopher Columbus packed a bag of seeds to take to the New World. George Washington grew his own crops. Shakespeare smoked from a pipe. Queen Victoria took cannabis to ease aches and pains.
Today, pharmacists, physicians, and other healthcare professionals consider cannabis a safe and effective natural medicine, especially when it’s isolated in the form of CBD. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical found in cannabis, which provides health benefits without the high of THC.
Just as early proponents suggested, studies from Harvard Health confirm that CBD can treat a variety of conditions, including:
It’s no wonder, then, that CBD has taken off in recent years. As patients look to push past the pills and seek out other treatments, CBD offers a new alternative. And pharmacists are ready to get in on the action. In fact, hundreds of independent pharmacies are already taking the plunge and jumping on the CBD train.
Let’s take to Macon, GA to find out how.
Matthew Frazier is always focused on innovation.
Since he opened Your Corner Drugstore in 2014, Matt has worked to provide innovative services with a smile. As Matt explains, “We’re a full-service pharmacy. We do any and all non-sterile and non-hazardous compounding; we do traditional prescriptions and OTC products; and we do vaccinations and point-of-care testing.”
So when he got the opportunity to get in on CBD, he took full advantage of it.
A bit of background: In 2019, Georgia approved Hope’s Law (HB 324), which allowed qualified patients to obtain low-THC oil from dispensaries and licensed pharmacies. For Matt, that meant a new chance to expand his services.
Matt recalls, “I’d been watching cannabis for a while.” So with the green light, he says, “We started selling in January 2019…. I think we were the first pharmacy within 100 miles to sell CBD.”
Matt’s motivation was simple: “We were looking for an alternative for some of our patients that wanted to help augment their sleep medications or their pain meds.”
CBD seemed to be the perfect option. With demand high and excitement all around, Matt and his team ordered their first line of CBD products from Ananda Professional. After getting their feet on the ground, they expanded their product line to include items from other vendors, like Coastal Cannabis Distributors, Green Roads, and Cannabis Life.
Today, Your Corner Drugstore offers an extensive line of CBD products, which range from topicals to capsules to gummies and more. Products are sold both in-store and online, which opens up another avenue for patients.
Most recently, they’ve even expanded from CBD and into Delta-8 THC — the latest trend in cannabis.
Matt explains, “[Delta-8] is the most popular item we sell right now, but we still have our loyal customer base for CBD tinctures and topicals.”
Delta-8 THC is a similar chemical to CBD, found in the cannabis plant. Because it has THC properties, though, it can induce psychoactive effects. As a result, it’s more heavily regulated than CBD (Delta-8 THC is not currently approved by the FDA). Early studies suggest, though, that it can be a promising option for chronic care patients.
Matt elaborates, “For some people, we use Delta-8 to augment their CBD and pain medication regimens so they can lower the amount of pain meds they take.” Matt and his team get Delta-8 from Cannabis Life and Charlotte’s Web.
Delta-8 is currently legal in 30 states, so if your state allows it, Matt recommends getting in on the trend.
NCPA can attest to this claim. A new report found that “There are pharmacies currently selling over $100,000 in CBD per year at 50% margins. It just takes effort, physician education, the right marketing, and the highest quality products.”
For Matt, though, CBD isn’t only about profit: it’s about providing top-of-the-line patient care. Since he started selling CBD, he’s seen better outcomes across the board.
Matt says, “We’ve heard from folks with Parkinson’s that they feel like [CBD] helped. We’ve heard it’s been used on folks with dementia disorders to help calm them. Their caregivers are happy with it, too. We’ve even had some success stories from people with Chron’s disease.”
One success story, though, stands out:
“We had a patient with esophageal cancer. He had to have his esophagus removed and his stomach attached to his throat. He went through hell. He was on four Percocet 10 mgs per day. He had to have a Percocet two-and-a-half hours before he even got out of bed in the morning, just so he could move. We put him on a CBD tincture — started him out with one capsule, then moved him up to two. And he was literally able to cut his Percocets into thirds. He would be up, out of bed, reading the newspaper, and drinking a cup of coffee before he even thought about taking his first Percocet. CBD made major, major improvements. He was very happy with us and was always one of our biggest supporters, letting folks know how well it works.”
As this story shows, CBD isn’t just a passing fad — it’s a lasting opportunity to ease pain, offer comfort, and improve the lives of patients who need it most.
For Matt, that’s the most rewarding opportunity of all.
Although CBD affords many opportunities, it also comes with many obstacles. Stigma surrounding CBD means that legislation has been slow-going, with some states still strictly regulating or even prohibiting CBD use altogether.
The map below shows the status of CBD legislation in each state, recorded at the time of publishing:
Matt speculates about strict regulations by stating, “We’re trying to fight 70 years of stigma. We’re still trying to heal and trying to educate the masses right to this day.”
And education is key. With the right information and legal pushback from advocates, Matt believes that CBD will open up in all 50 states.
As he puts it, “It’s obviously going to take longer in some states than others for legalization… but it’s only a matter of time before [cannabis] becomes part of mainstream medicine."
He goes on to say,
If you’re looking to up your profits and improve your patient care, look to CBD. Matt sees opportunities abounding, and he suggests getting involved early on.
Start by learning about CBD and getting the right information. Free resources like NCPA’s CBD Source can give you proper training and education on CBD — with information on the basics, how to stay compliant, and how to successfully market it to patients.
Then, when you’re ready, start buying your own products and putting them on display.
Matt recommends putting out a large display as close to the register as possible.
On your display, he says, “Make sure you use only pharmacist-formulated companies, like Green Roads, Cannabis Life, Ananda Professional [PioneerRx’s preferred vendor], and Coastal Cannabis Distributors. [These companies] do a great job with the marketing and education pieces, so if you’re unfamiliar with certain aspects of it, they can steer you in the right direction.”
With the right education and the right line of products, Matt says, “You can get up-to-date and discuss CBD with patients with confidence.” In no time, you’ll be able to capitalize on the power of natural medicine and see positive patient outcomes.