Hometown Hemp, a local family owned and operated business specializing in hemp-based medical products, held its ribbon-cutting Wednesday morning. The business, which has been operating since Feb. 1, offers CBD-infused creams, oils, pills, gummies and dog treats among other items.

CBD is a chemical compound found in hemp that has been shown to treat numerous ailments.

"Anyone suffering from pain, inflammation, anxiety or depression -- that is what we are seeing. Within days, people are calling us and telling us the difference," said Tracy Fischer, owner of Hometown Hemp. She added that CBD products can also be used to treat Parkinson's Disease, epilepsy, lupus, multiple forms of arthritis, nausea and fibromyalgia.

"Some of the doctors across the street are actually sending people over here for rheumatoid arthritis and people are seeing results," said Tracy. "A lot of people have even been able to let their depression or anxiety medicine go."

The Fischer family uses hemp products daily. Jimmy Fischer, co-owner of Hometown hemp and Tracy's husband, is no exception.

"I use straight CBD oil before I go to bed just to help me relax," he said. "I also use it every day for day-to-day anxiety. And after I work out, there's the pain cream. Within a couple minutes the pain cream kicks in."

Jimmy explained that the Hometown Hemp business was Tracy's idea after multiple cancer diagnoses in her family led her to researching ways to ease their pain.

"Tracy lost her uncle to cancer and had known that CBD products were available to maybe relieve some of the pain he was in. They weren't available in Kentucky at the time," said Jimmy.

The founding of Hometown Hemp follows the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, a bill that legalizes the production of hemp. Hemp has required a federal permit since the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. In 1937, hemp was criminalized under the Marijuana Tax Act.

"We went to Orlando and we took online classes so we could educate ourselves, and in turn educate other people on the benefits and what hemp really is versus marijuana," said Tracy. "I like to say that hemp and marijuana are cousins, not brothers. They're totally different plants."

While marijuana and hemp are both a part of the cannabis family, Tracy explained, hemp contains 0.3 percent or less THC, the chemical compound found in marijuana that causes intoxication. Meanwhile, the THC levels present in marijuana range from 5 percent to more than 30 percent.

"You'd have to drink gallons of our oil to get high, and you'd get sick before you get high," said Tracy. Some of the items available at Hometown Hemp are purely CBD, meaning they do not contain any THC. Products listed as "full spectrum" may contain 0.3 percent or less of THC, as well as other chemical compounds found in hemp. These other compounds, such as CBG and CBCA, have been found to aid sleep, treat fungal infections and even reduce cancer cell growth.

Because of the trace amount of THC that may be found, Hometown Hemp cannot guarantee that users of full spectrum products can pass a drug test.

"Doctors who have been recommending CBD have been telling their patients to hold onto their receipts and tell drug testers ahead of time that they have been using these products," said Tracy. If passed, Shauna's Law, a bill introduced in Frankfort, will allow those who use hemp products to appeal drug screenings so long as they have a receipt and THC levels matching those who only use CBD products.

Upon request, Hometown Hemp will show lab results of their products to verify every item's validity and chemical make-up.

"It's important for people to know not to get CBD products off Amazon because they're probably going to pay really cheap for a product that's not legit, or pay really high and still have a product that does nothing for them," said Tracy. She also recommends avoiding CBD products offered at gas stations or in tobacco stores because, without lab results, it's difficult to know where those products came from and how much CBD they actually contain. According to Tracy, Hometown Hemp's processors only use Kentucky-grown hemp.

"The hemp goes to Winchester, the facilities process it down and makes it to the oils. It's all made in an FDA-registered lab," she said. Tracy added that Hometown Hemp works closely with local Kentucky farmers to produce CBD products.

In March, Hometown Hemp plans to incorporate a financial assistance program for people unable to afford certain CBD products.

"We'll probably just do a deep discount on it," said Tracy, "get it for people right around cost that cannot afford it. If their doctor recommends CBD -- which we're seeing more of every day -- then we want to be sure they can get that to help them."

Hometown Hemp is located on 1750 Highway 192 West in London, in the shopping center beside Kroger, between Great Clips and Chiropractic Health Solutions. They can be reached via phone at (606) 657-5392. The Hometown Hemp Facebook page can be found by searching "Hometown Hemp LLC", and on Twitter and Instagram by searching "Hometown Hemp."

dcombs@sentinel-echo.com

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