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Oh, say can you CBD?

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Here's the deal: Once the federal Farm Bill of 2018 got passed, the one containing a provision that legalized the non-psychoactive cannabis that gives up CBD, the whole CBD market took off like a rocket because with newly emerging scientific data, the potential of CBD and other hemp products appears to be endless.

With a plethora of places already in Tucson where CBD products are available at specialty stores as well as retailers for natural supplements, and with no medical marijuana card needed because the products don't contain any psychoactive ingredient, that availability is expected to absolutely explode as major grocery chains start stocking shelves and the nearly 300 Dillards Department Stores roll out several hemp-based products.

Cannabidiol is the part of the cannabis plant without the high, typically used for health reasons versus hedonistic pleasure trips. The Hemp Business Journal anticipates a $2.1 billion CBD market by 2020 (a 700 percent increase over the last couple of years) and an even rosier future with optimistic predictions of a $3 billion marketplace by 2021.

Andy Rodosevich, CEO of Hemp Depot, is quoted as saying, "Because of the tremendous range of products in which CBD is a fit, we expect to see it on shelves, literally, everywhere." That contention is amplified by others as the cultural conversation around CBD continues to grow beyond just the early adopters and the entry into major retail outlets like CVS, Walgreens, Whole Foods and others would seem to support that.

One of the latest to jump on that bandwagon is Abacus Health Products of Toronto, manufacturers of topical pain relief products who wisely took someone whose entire body ached from being bounced around a football field and made him their spokesperson.

Rob Gronkowski is no stranger to Tucson, on or off the gridiron. Once a stalwart of the UA Wildcats, number 87 went on to earn three Super Bowl championship rings with the New England Patriots, but in order to do so, he sacrificed his body to the tune of nine surgeries and countless aches and pains. To find relief from it all, his father introduced him to CBD-rich hemp oil combined with active over-the-counter drug ingredients to quell the pain.

As a spokesperson for CBDMEDIC, launched just this year to provide fast, targeted pain relief, Gronkowski says the product was life-changing for him and would have made a huge difference for him during his playing career. (Perhaps even to the point he might have delayed his retirement beyond age 29?)

"I pushed myself while recovering from countless injuries and numerous surgeries. I was in near-constant pain and looking for natural ways to manage that pain into recovery," he said. "I retired from football, not from life, and in order to do things that fit my active lifestyle, I need to keep going, keep rolling, because moving helps you recover. I still answer to the nickname of Gronk, but you can also now call me Mr. Recovery."

Gronkowski plans to use his popularity platform as a bully pulpit to advocate for the use of CBD pain products by professional athletes. "The sports governing bodies, from the NFL to the NBA to MLB, need to update their positions on CBD. It's just time to do so."

Perry Antelman is the Chief Executive Officer of Abacus Health, makers of CBDMEDIC and CBD CLINIC where they've already launched 10 over-the-counter pain relief products containing hemp extract to assist in pain-relief for joint, muscle, back, neck, and arthritis-related pain.

Emphasizing that the company does not offer any medical marijuana products, he stressed that "CBDMEDIC products are THC-free topicals." It was also stressed that now that the Farm Bill has declassified Cannabis sativa L as a Schedule I controlled substance, "It has allowed a wave of new CBD products to hit the market," according to Abacus Health Products Business Development Director Alec Burkin, who notes: "CBD is a quickly-evolving landscape bringing relief to millions."

"Because all our products are free of THC, consumers can experience all the benefits of the product without the hallucinogenic side effects," Burkin adds. "Understanding the difference between THC and CBD is a huge step in the right direction and regulatory pathways in separating those two ingredients have supported that advancement in understanding."

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