By Eddie Huffman
First things first: North Carolina is not Colorado or California, and recreational marijuana use remains illegal here. Camel City Hemp has a cannabis leaf in its logo, but its products are completely legal and won’t get you high. What they could do is improve your physical and mental health.
Camel City Hemp opened on Burke Street at the beginning of the summer, offering beverages, oils, sprays, and other products containing cannabidiol (CBD), a chemical compound produced by cannabis plants.
“We can help people with whatever illnesses they have that are positively impacted by cannabis,” says Adam Combs, who co-owns the business with his wife, Casey Barlow.
Various products seen at the Camel City Hemp store.BRUCE CHAPMAN PHOTO
The products are not medicinal marijuana, either. But Combs calls his shop a “dispensary” and offers a list of ailments he says CBD impacts, including inflammation, fibromyalgia, arthritis, cancer, epilepsy, anxiety, insomnia, and depression. (The products have not been evaluated by the FDA.) The shop’s products are organic, fair trade, and non-GMO, and most are vegan-friendly.
“There’s been a taboo around hemp, just because it’s so close to marijuana,” Barlow says. “It’s always been around, though. I think people are just looking for cleaner, better products on the market, and they’re looking to improve their health in a natural way.”
A young man and woman in the shop talk to Combs about his products; specifically, a CBD tea and a topical pain-relief spray.
“How do you like that spray?” Combs asks.
“Good, yeah,” the man replies. “I can already tell a difference.”
The business, which opened in June, operates out of a storefront at 1039 Burke Street with an open, uncluttered interior and recessed lighting. Combs is excited about the positive changes to downtown in recent years, and he thought West End would be a particularly good location for this kind of business. “Especially now with SNOB (consignment) shop coming to Burke Street as an anchor, that’s definitely our demographic,” he says. “It’s an eclectic area.”
While Barlow manages the creative aspects of the business, Combs handles the product line, working with “a top pharmaceutical engineer in cannabis.” (The engineer’s identity is proprietary information, he says.)
Every batch of products sold at the shop is tested for efficacy by an independent lab, C4 Laboratories (c4lab.com).
Camel City Hemp products come in a wide range of sizes and prices. You can buy a 10 mg package of Manuka Honey for $12, while a 2500 mg bottle of CBD MCT Oil will set you back $325.
HEMP VS. POT?
- What’s the difference in marijuana and hemp? Both are varieties of cannabis that were developed by selective breeding: Marijuana for its narcotic components and hemp for its fiber. While the two look and smell alike, they are chemically dissimilar. The big difference is the levels of THC (i.e., the chemical that gets people high). Hemp has virtually no trace of THC while pot has anywhere from 10 to 27 percent. In essence, you could smoke an entire field of hemp and not feel high.
For starter products, Combs recommends a product containing multiple cannabinoids, such as the 300mg Whole Plant Extract ($50), taken under the tongue once or twice daily. A 300 mg bottle has 30 servings, each with 10 mg of active cannabinoids. Other products are isolates containing specific chemical compounds to treat specific issues. “We would only recommend (isolates) to individuals who have experience taking CBDs and understand the difference between isolate vs. whole plant, and why they are wanting to take it.”
Combs, a Winston-Salem native, has a background in athletics, strength training, and conditioning. He played soccer locally for Forsyth Country Day and at East Carolina and Virginia Commonwealth (VCU). Since college, he’s worked as a strength and conditioning coach with pro soccer players and actors in such movies as 300 and Man of Steel. He lived in Richmond, Salt Lake City, and Asheville before returning to his hometown.“I’m an entrepreneur,” he says. “I’m always looking for the next best thing.”