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Hemp products are abundant, varied, and on sale at a store near you

Hemp nation


Hemp bags are sturdy. - CASEY BRADLEY GENT
  • Casey Bradley Gent
  • Hemp bags are sturdy.
For the green shopper, hemp provides a smörgåsbord of retail opportunities. The different components of the hemp plant seem to have an almost unlimited variety of uses:
  • Hemp seeds are the “superfood” full of protein, minerals, fiber, omega fats and amino acids beneficial to the human body.
  • Rich hemp oil is used in a variety of foods, soaps, lotions and beauty products.
  • Hemp’s strong stalks have many industrial uses, like twine, nets, tarps, cigarette papers, pet bedding, mulch and building materials.
  • Hemp fiber is used for consumer textiles, like apparel, including jeans.
  • Biofuels can be made from hemp, too — the biodiesel product it produces is called “hempoline.”
The biggest increase in hemp use, however, comes from CBD, or cannabidiol, extracted from industrial hemp. CBD is a powerful cannabinoid found in both industrial hemp and, more abundantly, in marijuana plants, that can be infused into various products. The demand for CBD, which is suspected of having health benefits such as reducing inflammation and pain, has led to a virtual explosion of beauty products and health aids, and even pet products and coffee, all infused with CBD taken from industrial hemp. That’s because, while it’s still a legal gray area, many manufacturers interpret the law to allow hemp CBD products (but not CBD derived from marijuana) in all states, not just those with legal marijuana programs.
One young Colorado entrepreneur, who’s a big believer in the benefits of hemp, has developed her own line of CBD-hemp health and beauty products. Dani Billings and her mom, Tracee Box, founded Nature’s Root in Longmont in 2013. The “hemp spa products” the company produces are handcrafted from local organic hemp and sustainable honey, and some are infused with CBD extract, too.

Nature’s Root had a Longmont spa where customers could try out its products, but it closed recently (at least temporarily) due to the announcement of a new spa network with partner spas in Colorado and five other states.

Hemp oil makes great lotion. - CASEY BRADLEY GENT
  • Casey Bradley Gent
  • Hemp oil makes great lotion.

When asked about the effectiveness of products made with CBD from hemp compared to CBD extracted from marijuana plants, Box says that their clients don’t want to be associated with marijuana or THC. She has found that there is a stigma that comes with use of CBD products already. “Education plays a big role,” she says. “Nature’s Root serves a senior demographic that wants the benefits of CBD, but doesn’t want to get high.”

The mother-daughter team says that their clients get enormous benefits from using hemp-CBD infused products, although the FDA prohibits them from making any specific health claims or referring to these products as supplements.

Billings and Box entered the cannabusiness in 2008, starting with an edibles company. Billings says they spent over two years experimenting with hemp and CBD to develop their current product line, including growing their own organic hemp supply. Products include balms and oils, tinctures, lotions and scrubs, and are available online at naturesroot.com. While not inexpensive, the products are interesting and soothing.
Hemp Coffee Scrub, which is under $30, was the original skin care product Billings made. “Sore Muscle Body Oil” sells for $98 in the 4-ounce size and contains 400 mg of CBD. Hemp Oil Tinctures, which are taken under the tongue, start at $48.

Nature’s Root even has products recommended for geriatric pets. Thera-pets Hemp Oil tincture, $55 for 1 ounce, has 10 mg CBD from organic hemp in each dropper.

One doesn’t need to travel to Longmont, however, to try out hemp products, as there are plenty of local outlets that have them too. Heath food stores, like Mountain Mama’s and Natural Grocers, will carry hemp seed, oil and foods made with hemp, like cookies and energy bars, as well as Dr. Bronner’s products, the long-time standard in organic hemp soaps. Walgreens carries a hemp lotion, Hempz, which lists among its ingredients “Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil.” While hemp oil is known to be a good moisturizer, the $23 price tag for the 17-ounce bottle of Hempz lotion may be a barrier for some.

Many readers are familiar with The Poppy Seed in Manitou Springs, which majority-owner Laura Hensley describes as “a comfortable store for cool people that is family-friendly for all ages.” Located on Cañon Avenue for 14 years, the shop offers clothes, fashion accessories, music and other products.

Hensley has been buying hemp products from suppliers in Nepal for many years, and her hemp clothing includes shorts, hats, backpacks, jackets and shirts. Hensley finds these products to be more durable than similar clothing made from cotton. Other hemp products found at the shop include wall hangings; jewelry; candles; coin purses; Hempwick, a natural butane-free product for lighting candles and pipes; and hemp yarns of various colors for weaving and embroidery.
The Poppy Seed also carries CBD-infused lotions and beauty products made from industrial hemp. One manufacturer, CBD Daily, describes their products (perhaps over-exuberantly) as having “the benefits of medical marijuana without the THC.” CBD-infused dog biscuits made by Mountain Dog Naturals in Woodland Park are available, too.

The Hemp Store is another Manitou business, located on Ruxton Avenue, that (you guessed it) carries hemp products. The shop stocks Nutiva Organic Hemp Superfood Products to boost nutrition, including oil, seeds and hemp protein to make shakes and smoothies.

Because hemp has a counterculture reputation, hemp products can also be found in local head shops that carry smoking accessories for the cannabis consumer. One product you’re likely to find at such businesses is Dime Bags, a brand of padded containers with hemp exteriors that are used to protect one’s stash and transport delicate water pipes. Raw Products is a line of rolling papers and accessories — the papers are natural unbleached hemp.

Becca Stevens, operations manager at Elev8 Glass Gallery on South Tejon Street in Colorado Springs, says that they too are now carrying hemp-based CBD-infused products, including gummies and chocolates.

Even our beloved pets benefit. - CASEY BRADLEY GENT
  • Casey Bradley Gent
  • Even our beloved pets benefit.
Another big area of growth for industrial hemp has been in pet products, especially remedies with CBD infusions found in abundance in local stores and online. Wag N’ Wash Natural Food & Bakery, with four locations in the Colorado Springs area, has in the past year added CDB-infused pet products, like salves, oils and chews for dogs and cats.

Two elderly cats live at the Wag N’ Wash store on Uintah Street, and they get CBD too. Employee Courtney Gretebeck says that “the cats seem more playful and social since they started taking CBD” and that the products sell well and “really work, based on the testimony of returning customers.”

Pet CBD remedies are touted to relieve a variety of health problems common in our furry friends, including joint pain, inflammation, separation anxiety, hyperactivity, dry skin and nutritional deficits. Just a word of caution, however — the effectiveness of these CBD-infused health products for pets or humans has not yet been proven. There is scant research to demonstrate they work, so consumers need to try them out and see for themselves if a product is beneficial.
Consumption of CBD is not likely to cause pets any harm (THC is a different matter), but as stated earlier, the FDA does not permit manufacturers of CBD-infused products to make any specific health claims about them. It routinely sends out letters to businesses, warning them against this infraction if a violation comes to their attention.

Colorado isn’t just selling hemp, it’s growing it. Almost 12,000 acres of hemp were planted in the state last year, according to the state Department of Agriculture. There is a strong lobbying movement for industrial hemp, with the aim of keeping CBD extracts legal and available. One lobbying group, known as the Coalition for Access Now, wants to ensure access to CBD for epileptic children in all 50 states.

So, while research into CBD’s effects has a long way to go, as does the fight to legitimize the use of hemp, products made from this versatile plant have seen a surge in demand.

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