RALEIGH – There’s a small sector of the marijuana industry that seems to be getting ready to boom, and a local venture capital firm in Raleigh wants in on the action.

One Better Ventures, which is headed by former Burt’s Bees CEO John Replogle, is investing $2 million in Remedy Review, a new media company focused on “separating fact from fiction” in the growing market of cannabidiol (CBD), hemp-based products, and more.

John Replogle

“We believe that Remedy Review will become the preeminent authority on natural remedies,” said Replogle, who launched the site today from its headquarters at Three Ships, a Raleigh-based digital publisher and customer acquisition company.

CBD is a compound in marijuana that’s been linked to a range of potential health benefits, but doesn’t get you high. It’s increasingly popping up in unregulated products — from tea to dog treats – and is estimated to make up a roughly $1 billion industry.

“We are optimistic about the potential of cannabinoids as a viable alternative to opioids to treat serious conditions such as PTSD, anxiety, sleep deprivation, and chronic pain,” said Replogle.

Booming CBD market

Certainly, there’s been an increasing demand for CBD and hemp-based products in recent years.

According to a report by New Frontier Data, the US CBD industry grew by nearly 40 percent in 2017, reaching $367 million sales across hemp derived and marijuana-derived markets.

Indeed, retail hemp stores have been popping up around the Triangle.

There’s the Hemp Farmacy, which opened on Hillsborough Street in downtown Raleigh in August, and Forever Hemp on Fayetteville Road, offering everything from gummies, caramel chews and lotions  – all of them containing CBD.

“The natural health category is growing rapidly, but it’s also chaotic,” said Three Ships CEO Zach Clayton, whose company also manages other media properties, including Mattress Advisor and House Method.

“There’s a backlash against over medication, and a lot of these synthetic substances. Consumers are asking, is there a more natural way? Often the first place they go is their web browser to look up that information, but is there really a trusted resource? We don’t think so, and we’re trying to build that.”

CBD versus THC

So what exactly is CBD?

Cannabidiol is one of more than 100 compounds found in cannabis. But unlike THC, its counterculture cousin, it has no mind-altering effects.

Scroll through Remedy Review’s glossy new website, and you’ll find a lengthy description of the difference, its products and consumption methods.

There’s also a section dedicated to hemp’s storied past – from its ancient origins in Mesopotamia to its varied roles in early American colonial life.

In fact, as the site proudly points out, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were “cultivators of cannibas,” and the Declaration of Independence was printed on “high-quality hemp paper.”

Marc Lewis

These days, millions of people are taking CBD for a variety of health issues – from mild pain and discomfort to depression and anxiety, to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

However, studies on the benefits are limited.

“There’s no shortage of anecdotal evidence out there, but we need more research,” said Marc Lewis, a three-year veteran of Three Ships, who has been named Remedy Review’s executive editor.

“Our challenge over the next few months is finding great minds to contribute to our content. We intend to build an authoritative, credible set of reviews that provides objective information to help consumers make the best choice for their well being.”