By Aldona Bird
Local business owner Chris Yeager wants “to get our state on the road to healing.”
His goal involves making West Virginians feel better emotionally, as well as physically. “We just want our people to be proud again.”
Chris, a veteran and lifelong West Virginian, chose to devote his life bringing West Virginia up in the world through the healing powers of Cannabidiol (CBD) oil.
He moved from the mountains to Colorado for a few years until his farm near Charleston was granted an industrial hemp permit in 2017.
In the last year, he cultivated 100 acres of industrial hemp, opened two Appalachian Cannabis Co. (ACC) store fronts and is gearing up to open more shops. The Morgantown store opened earlier this year, on University Avenue.
Chris’ mission includes educating the public through his products, addressing the opioid issue in the state and producing a seed-to-sell high quality West Virginia product.
The ACC extracts just CBD molecules from hemp plants. The plants adhere to the federal regulation of 0.3 percent Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the one molecule — of more than
100 — in cannabinoids that can make people high.
Since ACC products can’t create a high, they are legally for sale and use under federal and state laws. ACC products don’t have psychosomatic effects, but have many health benefits.
Chronic pain, inflammation and anxiety are three issues leading people to try CBD oil. Chris said they host “testimonial Tuesdays” during which customers share personal experiences of living with unrelieved pain for 10 or 20 years until CBD oil immediately alleviated their pain.
The science behind this effect has been studied — our bodies (and those of all mammals) have cannabinoid receptors. As I understood Chris’ explanation and info found on the National Institute of Health website, when a person experiences pain, receptors in the brain can become inflamed. CBD molecules can attach to and calm the inflamed areas — relieving the pain.
CBD oil can potentially be even more relevant to our state, as it can repair damage to the brain caused by opioid use. A five-year study recently concluded by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN chief medical correspondent, showed CBD significantly aided recovery from opioid addiction by repairing and normalizing the frontal lobes of the brain on a molecular and cellular level.
This cause is a personal one to Chris, who lost two family members to opioids. Before opening his company, he attempted to work with state politicians on the issue.
With a cure in hand (in the form of tinctures, gummy candies, chocolates, shots, syrups lotions and gels), Chris wants our representatives to consider this aid to healing our state. “They have a duty, as our elected official, to look into this,” Chris said.
CBD production may also help West Virginia economically. ACC already employs 20-30 people. Chris is working to partner with farmers and others interested in jumping into this industry.
“We’ve become an extraction state,” Chris said. “My interest is in keeping everything in West Virginia.” He said if West Virginia businesses choose to export product, Chris wants to be sure the benefits of the industry stay local.
A plant with benefits to our environment, economy, bodies and society sounds like a business opportunity our state can’t afford to miss.
ALDONA BIRD is a journalist, previously writing for The Dominion Post. She uses experience gained working on organic farms in Europe to help her explore possibilities of local productivity and sustainable living in Preston County. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.