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New cash crop? Providers consider CBD

New cash crop? Providers consider CBD

YARMOUTH, Maine - Marijuana has long been the province of hippies, but some say CBD products may provide a new market opportunity for HME providers.

“CBD is just another way to treat people more naturally than the typical pharmaceuticals,” said Marcus Suess, co-owner of Fletcher, N.C.-based Remedy Health & Wellness, which began offering CBD products in 2017. “The majority of these people have been down a long road already. They've run out of options on that side.”

CBD (cannabidoil) is a compound found in marijuana that alleviates conditions like pain, seizures and anxiety, but it does not create a high or produce side effects. It comes in many forms, including oils, tinctures, topical creams and edibles.

Although more states are legalizing marijuana for both medicinal and recreational purposes, the plant carries a stigma that CBD generally does not—once people learn the difference, says Lindsay McKeelan, RN, an educator at Remedy Health & Wellness.

“I teach 'CBD 101' in the store, and I am going to local businesses and medical facilities to educate them,” she said. “We offer a safe and comfortable environment. It's not like a smoke shop.”

Offering a comfortable environment is something HME providers are already well-positioned to do, says Lisa Wells, vice president of marketing for Cure Medical, a manufacturer of intermittent catheters, and founder of Naturally Able, a holistic health magazine for people with disabilities.

“Because it's an emerging industry, people are concerned about getting it from a reputable place and getting something they know has been vetted for quality materials,” she said.

Provider Chris Rice has been exploring CBDs as a potential addition to his existing pain management offerings. There's demand for the product and the margins are decent—he's seeing wholesale prices for CBD oils range from $15 to $30, with retail prices of $45 to $90.

“It's very complementary to a lot of the other products we do,” said Rice, CEO of Riverside, Calif.-based Diamond Respiratory. “People are warming up to the idea.”

While Rice likes what he sees, he hasn't made a decision yet on whether to carry CBDs.

“We're still trying to wrap our arms around it and see if it's a product we can bring on,” he said.

Suess says it's important to thoroughly research CBDs, not only the brands you carry but also any requirements and restrictions in your city and/or state.

“It's a new product, an interesting product,” he said. “There's a lot of garbage on the market. It takes a while to find a real value product. We're advocating to help other retailers.”


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