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Despite stigma about cannabis, CBD oil takes off in Charleston

CBD oil products (WCIV)

The popularity of CBD oil is growing statewide—some call it the next big thing in the health and wellness industry.

CBD oil was legalized in South Carolina roughly four years ago.

The market is largely untapped in the Palmetto State, but that could be changing.

CBD oil is a hemp product derived from the cannabis plant, the same plant that produces marijuana. But, the two are very different.

"You absolutely cannot get high on CBD oil," said Hannah Riley, an employee at Shem Creek Vapor. "It's 100% non-psycho active and has no THC."

People are reaching for CBD oil to ease stress, anxiety, pain and inflammation among many other reasons. Shem Creek Vapor sells gummy bears and pet treats made with the oil. Riley said they routinely sell out.

"We have a wide range of customers," Riley said. "We have customers who treat their children with it, customers that treat their pets with it, from hedgehogs to cats and dogs. I treat my own cats with it."

Emily Harper of Mount Pleasant is the brains behind Primo Plant Remedies, the product the vape shop sells. Harper launched the business eight months ago after spending time learning from cannabis experts in California.

"I am a special needs mom. I have an 18-year-old daughter with autism," Harper said. "Once I discovered that CBD would help my little girl, I started looking for better products because there's a lot of mislabeling, it's very confusing."

She said CBD oil has made a huge difference in her daughter's life. It was a welcomed alternative after years of taking pharmaceutical drugs with little to no impact, but a long list of side effects, she said.

"It has been life changing," said Harper. "My daughter probably did not go into a grocery store for over five years. She's 18-years-old now. During those five years, it was simply sensory overload, from the music to the humming fluorescent lights to the large spaces and now she goes every Saturday and loves Trader Joe's."

Harper is confident CBD oil is more than just a fad banking on the cannabis craze.

In two years, she said big box stores will likely carry an array of products. Last year, the state general assembly approved a pilot program that allows certain farmers to grow hemp.

"I honestly believe that the hemp industry in South Carolina is going to change everyone's life," she said.

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