When CBD changed his life, Matt Walsh decided to make another change and open a store selling CBD products.
Walsh, who is from the Madison area, worked for seven years at American Family Insurance. He said a friend opened a CBD American Shaman store in Portage, and he was curious about the product.
“I wasn’t expecting to open a store at all,” Walsh said. “I heard about CBD and wanted to give it a try, not expecting anything.”
Walsh said he had a prescription to help manage his anxiety and stress.
“I noticed a tremendous difference in my mood” when he tried CBD, Walsh said. In fact, he stopped taking his prescription because CBD “did great controlling my mood.”
After speaking with his friend and seeing the sales numbers, Walsh opened a CBD American Shaman franchise in Waukesha in spring 2019. He opened a second location at 7249 S. 76th St., Franklin, in November 2019, with his wife, Jen, and his in-laws, Bob and Lee Perszyk, of Franklin.
“There wasn’t a lot of CBD in the area,” he said, adding that the city of Franklin was very “flexible” which he appreciated.
Opening just before the pandemic, Walsh said the lockdowns were “challenging,” and he lost up to 40% of his sales after he was forced to close by the Franklin Health Department.
“We thought we were an essential business,” Walsh said, noting that CBD shops were included in that list in other states. The store is fully operational again.
One of the things Walsh said separates the CBD American Shaman franchise from many mom-and-pop CBD shops is the free sample business model where “people can try before they buy.” He added that all products are American-made.
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“We also have proprietary technology; this will work much faster,” he said. “(A customer) can take a sample and have an effect noticeable in five or 10 minutes.”
He said the store has a “spa-like” feel and is “very open and welcoming.” Walsh said most other stores look like vape shops and dispensaries.
CBD, also called cannabidiol, comes in many different forms. It can be smoked, vaped, eaten, drank, and more — even CBD bath bombs are offered. Tinctures and topical creams and ointments are also popular.
“Ingestible, smoke or topical are the primary categories,” Walsh said.
People can also buy CBD for pets. Walsh said dogs that are overly excited by things like fireworks, or older dogs that don’t get around as well, could both benefit from CBD.
Prices range from $15 to $100, depending on the product. An average 30-day supply will cost about $50.
Understanding what CBD is and isn’t
The major difference between CBD and THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, is the psychoactive effect.
“Both compounds work by communicating with receptors. However, unlike THC, CBD does not bind to the CB receptors making CBD non-psychoactive,” according to WebMD.
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Walsh emphasized that CBD has no psychoactive effect. He said it calms the nervous system and is naturally anti-inflammatory, helping to soothe “a root cause of pains.” Walsh said his demographics skew older, with most people looking for relief from aches and pains.
While Walsh made clear he’s not a doctor, he said CBD could be seen as a more “natural” form of ibuprofen.
“A lot of athletes take it to help with stress and to help recover from activity,” he said.
Walsh said those concerned about using CBD should talk with their doctor before trying it. He said CBD doesn’t work for everyone, but it can help many.
“CBD isn’t a last option,” he said. “Many that come say they tried everything before. I’d rather be the first option.”
Contact Erik S. Hanley at (262) 875-9467 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter at @ES_Hanley.