Nearly 5,000 years ago, according to Chinese legend, Emperor Shen Ning became one of the first major leaders in the ancient world to recognize potential medical benefits in cannabis. He officially prescribed marijuana tea to treat ailments including gout, rheumatism, malaria and poor memory.
Today, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration classifies marijuana as a Schedule I substance, meaning that it has high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. But despite federal censure of cannabinoids, 30 states, including Illinois, have legalized medical marijuana use for properly screened and registered patients. And hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) products, which are low in or absent of THC, are fully legal in Illinois.
THC-free hemp-derived CBDs are the main product at the CBDepot at 530 Margaret St. in Pekin, which is opened from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Owner Eric Sweatt held a grand opening for the new store Saturday.
Sweatt opened CBDepot to accommodate prospective medical cannabis patients who are waiting to receive medical marijuana cards. Between 20 and 25 percent of those patients, he said, could derive relief from their conditions from simple applications of cannabidiols. Additionally, public safety, law enforcement, or medical professionals who must submit to regular drug tests and therefore cannot use medical marijuana can safely use CBDs.
“My CBD has zero THC, and people using it can pass a drug test,” said Sweatt. “Professional people who can’t use cannabis can have pain, too, and can need relief from it. I need to be able to have those people come in and buy my product, so everything I have is tested to make sure nobody loses their job for using it. I don’t want to be responsible for that, but I do want to be responsible for their relief.”
Rick Lynch of San Jose, Ill. was among the CBDepot’s first shoppers and was researching CBD oil as a possible alternative treatment for his father’s disability.
“He uses Tramadol and Vicodin every day,” said Lynch. “He has been disabled for 30 years due to a muscle disease and seizures. I’m looking into CBD oil because I thought it might benefit him. Everything I’ve read online has said it should help some, and a little bit of help is better than no help.”
The CBDepot sells a wide variety of hemp-based CBD products including oils, tinctures, gelatin capsules, shampoos and pet medications.
“Every living creature has an endocannabinoid system,” said Sweatt. “Dogs, just like people, get arthritis. They get cancer. They get anxiety. When the Fourth of July comes around, a lot of pets get scared. You give them CBDs, and they calm down. When family members or kids come over and dogs get excited, a CBD calms them down.”
Sweatt chose the Margaret Street location because it is in the same building as the Medical Cannabis Outreach Medical Marijuana Pain Management and Wellness Clinic, which he also owns.
“Out of all our eight clinics, the one in Pekin is the busiest in the state of Illinois,” he said. “So, I decided to just go ahead and start here.”