MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Hemp-derived CBD sales are soaring at smoke shops across the country, with some of the highest rated CBD shops right here in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.READ MORE: Florida School District Defies Gov. Ron DeSantis' Ban On Masks
No longer on the cultural fringe and intimidating, these shops are modern and easily accessible to anyone looking for pain relief.
“We went from literally nothing or as a first new business with a new name that nobody knew to let’s say about 1,500 or more visits per month,” says Ediberto Morillo, co-owner of Feel Good Smoke Shop in Kendall. “And it is only increasing.”
People of all ages are increasingly turning to hemp-derived CBD for relief from all sorts of aches and ailments. From seizures and arthritis to depression and anxiety, hip and shoulder pain to ADHD and insomnia.
“People find that it alleviates their pain and here we are to provide it to them,” says Morillo.
Morillo opened his first shop two years ago. Since then a quickly growing part of his inventory and sales are CBD products like oils, lotions, tinctures, edibles and smokeables. But, the “stoner” stigma still exists.
“A lot of people, nowadays they see it less that way. They see it less of a pothead type of thing, I think that is a positive side to it,” he explains. “There still is a lot of negative connotations to cannabis, but when it comes to the people who really have the problems, they are older people, so these people who have the problems and they were against at some point. They are now seeing a benefit and that is where the switch is happening.”
Cannabidial, or CBD for short, is culled legally from the hemp plant, which has little-to-no levels of tetrahydrocannabinol. THC, for short.
THC is the psychoactive component in marijuana where its higher levels do get you high. But the CBD from hemp does not.
And while hemp and marijuana are from the same cannabis plant family, they are not the same thing.
According to Remedy Review, South Florida is one of the highest rated places for smoke shops, adding up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in this relatively new market. Topping the list are Pompano Beach, Margate and Oakland Park, followed by Miami Beach, Tamiami and Ft. Lauderdale.
That’s where we find CBD 954, a smoke shop open nearly two years now.READ MORE: State Senator Gary Farmer Says Governor’s Executive Order Preventing School Mask Mandates Is Unconstitutional
“There has been a serious increase, especially in the last like five months or so,” says staffer Melany Dominguez.
Dominguez points out many people looking for CBD are just tired of prescription medications and their side effects. They want a more natural route.
But she also points out buying CBD products should not replace medical advice or supervision.
“Absolutely not,” says Dominguez. “We’re here to show you the products, what they have been good for, the research. We do all of the research on it. So we are pretty up to date with all the information. Any clinical research that they have done, so that we could give information. No advice, just information.”
Back at Feel Good Smoke Shop in Kendall, employee Adrian Adams recently introduced his arthritic, diabetic grandmother to CBD vaping.
“It’s something that really helps her because she aches a lot,” says Adams. “When I go over there, if I have a cartridge on me, I actually give it to her and she’ll hit it a couple of times. And you’ll gradually see her start talking and she gets back to herself. It helps and it makes me happy.”
Veronica Delmonte comes to the shop to buy more CBD balm for her mother who suffers from intense knee pain.
“My mom is 65. There’s a bit of a stigma in their age group about it,” Delmonte explains. “She refuses to take pain medications because of the addictive factor. She doesn’t like the way they make her feel or the way they make her act. So, we finally got her to use it….She wanted something to target the pain. That’s when we started using the balms and it’s been a godsend.”
And now with the recent signing of the U.S. Farm Bill more hemp farms are expected to sprout up across the U.S. and here in Florida, a $20-billion dollar business by 2022.
Morillo of the Feel Good Smoke Shop points out “that old mentality is changing. And you might have been against it at some point, but now you do find that it helps your health. So that is where the change has happened.”
While hemp-derived CBD products are more readily available now and expected to boom over the next few years, keep in mind CBD is not FDA-regulated.MORE NEWS: President Biden Criticizes Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis
Also, your liver metabolizes CBD. And, products can sometimes have side-effects. Do your research and go with reputable, quality products from a reputable seller.