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American Shaman

Nathan and Tiffany Griepentrog set out product at their new store American Shaman CBD, which opened on New Pinery Road in Portage on Sept. 1.

Nathan and Tiffany Griepentrog know there’s a stigma surrounding the products sold in their new store on the north side of Portage.

They expect visitors to let that stigma go.

“When people walk inside our store they should see right away we’re bringing an upscale market to the Portage area,” Nathan Griepentrog said of American Shaman CBD, which opened Sept. 1 at 2814 New Pinery Road.

Griepentrog is a Portage resident and 1994 Pardeeville High School graduate who most recently worked in cookware sales, and Tiffany Griepentrog, his wife, is an Oklahoma native who worked in management at an AT&T store in Madison for 12 years.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-intoxicating compound found in cannabis and hemp plants. For American Shaman products, Griepentrog said, hemp is processed to extract CBD and is then added into a variety of products carried in the store. Products include oils and creams for humans and even include treats for dogs.

Hemp contains a very low amount of THC — the substance in marijuana that produces a “high” — but since hemp is a cousin of the pot plant, there often is “pushback” against its use, Griepentrog said.

“Marijuana is not legal in our state at any level – medical or otherwise, but CBD is legal as long as it comes from the hemp plant,” he said.

In 2017 the federal government allowed states to create a pilot research program permitting people to cultivate industrial hemp. The substance remained banned in Wisconsin until the state Department of Justice ruled in May that farmers could grow industrial hemp under the pilot program and stores could sell CBD produced in compliance with regulations set by the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Only a few days earlier the DOJ had said medicinal oil derived from marijuana and hemp would be illegal before reversing its decision.

The no. 1 reason people use CBD is for anxiety, Griepentrog said. It also is used for sleeping problems, joint pain and seizures. “If you have anxiety, I think you’ll feel like a new person,” Griepentrog said of using CBD. “If you’re healthy – with no issues – you’d feel nothing whatsoever. You would get more kick out of a Red Bull.”

Publications including Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek and Forbes have written about the rise in popularity of CBD, some of them noting studies regarding its effectiveness in easing symptoms of psychosis and its successful treatment of seizures, as well as the confusion about whether it is actually legal in certain states, such as Indiana. The World Health Organization does not recommend cannabidiol for medical use, though states initial evidence shows “its use could have some therapeutic value for seizures due to epilepsy and related conditions,” according to a December 2017 report.

American Shaman CBD in Portage has a sister store under different ownership in DeForest, and another American Shaman store is expected to open soon in Sun Prairie, Griepentrog said. Other locations being considered for American Shaman include Baraboo, Sauk City and Middleton.

American Shaman CBD is headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri and has more than 50 locations across the U.S., according to its website. The Griepentrogs – who this week celebrate their one-year wedding anniversary and next year expect their first child — believe the popularity of CBD will only get stronger in the future. CBD offers more health benefits than medical marijuana, they said, and American Shaman products are less expensive and several times stronger than other CBD products on the market. Their store in Portage offers free samples, a feature they expect will grow their customer base quickly.

They also expect CBD to keep gaining in popularity because they say they’ve seen the results firsthand. Tiffany Griepentrog says she used CBD to relieve herself of several ailments, including headaches and hip pain. Her mother uses it for shaking or tremors and Nathan Griepentrog’s mother uses it to help her with restless legs and sleeping.

The owners plan to host a grand opening for their store later this fall. More information about American Shaman products is available at CBDMadison.com.

To read the WHO report on cannabidiol, visit who.int/features/qa/cannabidiol/en.

Follow Noah Vernau on Twitter @NoahVernau or contact him at 608-695-4956.

Portage Daily Register reporter