CROSS LANES, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A new shop is open in Kanawha County, and the owners says it will provide countless health benefits, relieve pain for customers and even help fight the drug epidemic. Ahead of the store's grand opening Saturday, the owner also wants to educate the public about how it all works.
Appalachian Cannabis Company is opening a store in Cross Lanes. They sell CBD products.
In layman's terms, CBD (Cannabidiol) is a compound of cannabis that will not make you high.
Owner Chris Yeager explains it more technically:
"What we do is all hemp-derived CBD products," he said. "In cannabis, you're going to find somewhere between 100 and 110 cannabinoids. In those, they have different effects. They do different things like for instance, THC is psychoactive. So when you consumer THC, that's when people say you get high. There's other cannabinoids and the CBD portion of that is going to be the non-active. So folks will not get high by consuming CBD but it has great medicinal value."
He says CBD is a compound of cannabis that can be used to treat inflammation, chronic pain, seizures and other medical conditions.
"We just feel like by exploring the CBD portion of cannabis, it really gives us an opportunity to help educate the public on the differences and also provide an alternative to deadly opiates that have plagued our state," Yeager said. "There's tons of kids that are taking this for seizures, and it's just so much better for you as far as a pain reliever and an alternative to opiates."
In fact, Yeager takes CBD himself for PTSD and says it has helped tremendously.
He says there has never been a recorded overdose from cannabis.
"These products are completely safe," Yeager said. "You can use them in addition to medications that you're currently taking."
Yeager says he will not give specific medical advice to customers, but he does have a medical staff that includes doctors to answer any questions.
"We've just got a really good staff and knowledgeable about the products," Yeager said. "We create an all natural product that is completely safe for you to consume."
Unlike medical marijuana, the CBD dispensary does not require a prescription or doctor's recommendation. All of the products are made from industrial hemp.
Hemp is legal, and the store is licensed.
The store sells tinctures, gummies (in childproof containers), capsules, vape cartridges, syrups, lotions, topicals and other items. The hemp is not manufactured by a big pharmaceutical company, but by Yeager's company.
"I've got different issues throughout my back and my hips and I have constant pain every day," said customer Greg Gorby.
Gorby has a disease that affects his spine and his quality of life. He takes several different medications and still lives in pain. After researching CBD for several years, he was excited to hear about the new store opening.
He traveled one and a half hours from Parkersburg to Cross Lanes, hoping to find some relief.
"I've got a 13-year-old and a 9-year-old," Gorby said. "Very active kids and I'd like to stay active with them."
While they are already open for business, there will be a grand opening from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19. Yeager says West Virginia lawmakers are expected to be in attendance.
The store is located at 130 Goff Mountain Road in Cross Lanes.
It will be a big weekend for Yeager, but it wasn't an easy road to get to this point.
After graduating from South Charleston High School, Yeager served in the Marine Corps for eight years. He attended West Virginia State University where he studied communications, but about a decade after getting his degree, he found a different calling.
He wanted to do something about the drug epidemic.
"I really just started to focus my time and effort and attention towards advocating to do something about the problem in this state," Yeager said. "The numbers are of record proportions whenever we're talking about people that have passed away from opiates in the state and just really felt like that was my calling and that was what I needed to focus my attention on."
West Virginia leads the nation in drug overdoses resulting in death. When Yeager looked further into the issues facing the Mountain State, he couldn't sit idly by.
"When I started looking at those statistics, it was absolutely ridiculous and I felt like there was something that had to be done," Yeager said. "We feel like we're playing our small part in providing an alternative to opiates and prescription drugs."
That's when he started looking into advocate groups like West Virginia NORML.
"We would get together and lobby up at the Capitol with our legislators and talk to them and try to help educate them about cannabis and its medicinal value," Yeager said. "Other states were seeing record drops in opiate overdose deaths."
Despite his efforts with lawmakers, Yeager began to feel like he was hitting a brick wall. He picked up and moved to Colorado with plans to learn about the cannibas industry and bring that knowledge back to West Virginia.
"We immersed ourselves into the cannabis industry for the last three years, learning as much as we could about every aspect of this business."
He commuted back and forth between Colorado and West Virginia for a while before applying for a hemp license.
This summer, they moved back to the Mountain State to open up a dispensary.
"The Lord blessed us with a great opportunity to be able to open up a business and really take this thing to the next level and spearhead this industry moving forward," Yeager said.