Clark County is at the center of hemp’s revival in the United States.
It’s a position the county has been in before, until the years following World War II when demand for hemp dried up and it was placed on the federal controlled substances list next to marijuana, a closely-related plant.
Hemp, also called cannabis sativa, can be used for number of products, including fiber for rope and clothing, and CBD oil, which is being touted as having anti-inflammatory effects and other medical benefits.
Though CBD (cannabidol) oil has not been approved by the Federal Drug Administration, interest is growing in the product for humans and animals alike.
“The FDA still does not allow anyone to make any claims” about its effects, Bellator CBD products Chief Financial Officer Ernie Sammons said. “CBD is not a cure for anything.”
Personally, he said it has helped reduce pain and inflammation in his joints.
“My shoulder was a wreck,” he said. “My doctor said you need rotator cuff surgery. My chiropractor said if I could get the inflammation down, he could give me some exercises. Within a couple weeks (using CBD), the swelling went down and the pain went down.”
Sammons and his business partner Tom Ramsey started Bellator in 2018, after meeting in the hemp industry. Sammons had sold his accounting firm and went to work for GenCanna, which purchased the former Rickard Seed property on Colby Road. Ramsey, who worked in security at Toyota’s plant in Georgetown, took a similar position at Atalo Holdings, another hemp-related business on the former Rickard property.
Last year, both decided to leave and start US Gold Medal CBD, which sells CBD using the Bellator name. They sell the tincture in several different strengths as well as full spectrum, which includes 0.3 percent THC and other cannaboids for more health benefits and a 0.0 THC, which will not show up on a drug test.
Older dogs, which can not take steroids, and their owners have also seen the anti-inflammatory effects, Sammons said.
He also told of one police officer customer, who is former military, who said CBD has helped with her PTSD as well.
THC is the chemical in marijuana which produces the chemical high. Hemp, though, has negligible levels of THC.
Sammons and Ramsey said they wanted to develop a product for first responders and military personnel where they could receive the benefits without worrying about losing their job if they were drug tested and came back positive.
The Bellator name, he said, was based on the Latin word for warrior.
Bellator purchases its oil from GenCanna and then has it tested again by a third party to assure quality of the product, Sammons said.
While the product is legal, Bellator and other manufacturers are waiting for the FDA’s ruling and anticipating regulations coming at some point in the future.
“The FDA is diligent and deliberate,” Sammons said. “It’s going to happen. It doesn’t happen in the time we’d like. You don’t see the FDA making many mistakes.”
Ramsey said Bellator is already working toward anticipated regulations and standards.
“One of the things that separates our product … When the FDA comes out with all the regulations, I don’t think many companies will be left standing. We’re trying to guess about what the FDA regulations will be so when they do come out, we won’t have to change our product much.
“Without regulation, there are a ton of people out there not doing it the right way.”
While the evidence at this point is anecdotal, Sammons said enough people are seeing the benefits to continue. Doctors have told him patients using CBD are requesting fewer pain medications and fewer opioids. Some are sleeping better.
It won’t fix everything though, he said.
“There’s no cure for old age.” §