From an early age, Chelsea DeVos watched as her mother suffered from epilepsy.
“In 2016 her doctor recommended she look into CBD-rich hemp oil to help control her seizures,” DeVos says. “I had already been researching cannabinoids to help with my anxiety, so she and I started taking the CBD tincture and we both had very positive results. I knew I needed to do whatever I could to help get this to the public.”
DeVos now owns and operates the Cherry Apothecary in Oak Cliff, a dispensary-esque shop carrying products containing CBD, a compound extracted from hemp plants — as opposed to medical marijuana plants — as well as honey from her hives in Terrell. Since opening doors last October, DeVos has met customers and parents desperate to find a cure for everything from cancer and seizures to chronic pain and ADHD.
In 2015, Texas Senate Bill 339 — aka the Texas Compassionate Use Act — passed and gave epilepsy patients access to CBD products derived from marijuana plants, but with less than 0.5 percent THC, the compound in cannabis that gets users high. “Very few people know about it, and at first there were going to be lots of licenses [to sell] available and they were reasonably priced to apply for,” DeVos says. “Now, the licenses have become very limited. I believe only three will be available to the whole state, and it will be over one million dollars to apply for.”
DeVos may not be able to foot the bill for a license to sell products with marijuana-derived CBD, but she has found inventive ways to save money and start spreading education and awareness through her hemp-stocked storefront. Last April, DeVos discovered Carrollton’s Texas Wellness Center and fell in love with the quality of their products. She had tried numerous different CBD items but the wellness center’s line of Green Lotus products gave her the best results.
“Once I got to know the owners of the company, I offered to trade my design services, wholesale for wholesale,” DeVos says. “They have been the best clients to work for, and just wonderful people all around. I had no capital to start my business, so without our business arrangement I wouldn't be able to keep my shelves full of product without going into debt.”
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DeVos has designed labels for the wellness center’s sublingual tinctures as well as a line of CBD-infused edibles called “monchies” that she sells in her own shop. Think: chewy candies and caramel-covered chocolate. DeVos says the CBD products she sells at the Cherry Apothecary offer various effects, depending if they are heat-treated or not. For instance CBD vape oil and edibles are treated with heat, while tinctures only come in contact with very low heat.
“Typically non-heated CBD has an awakening effect, and when it has been heated it has more of a sleepy effect,” DeVos says. “This is not guaranteed though. Depending on each individual's endocannabinoid system, and the way their body responds to cannabinoids, every person experiences different results from CBD. THC has lots of beneficial properties, and it's also the psychoactive compound that people use recreationally. But CBD has no psychoactive effects and does not give you a ‘stoned’ feeling. CBD is not used recreationally; it is only used for wellness.”
But DeVos says some people can’t get passed the stigma around anything cannabis related. She says decades of prohibition and peoples' lack of exposure to hemp and its extracts are to blame. “Once upon a time people feared alcohol because it was illegal, but now it's socially promoted even though it has no medical benefits,” DeVos says. “Fear-based propaganda against a plant that has countless beneficial properties was based on money. However, our nation was founded on hemp and it’s industrial uses, and I believe its revolution is coming.”
Cherry Apothecary is located at 222 W. Jefferson Blvd., Suite C.