From Pills to Plants
by Bexley McLennan
Jennifer Boozer is constantly asking herself, “How can CBD help this situation?” As the owner of CannaBama, it’s evident that she is on a mission to introduce everyone to the powers of this medicinal plant, whether they’re suffering from pain, insomnia, disease, addiction or they’re perfectly healthy. “It changed my whole life,” she says. “One capsule full of raw hemp oil paste changed my life.”
Before she heard of CBD, Boozer had a near death experience with the birth of her second son, Elijah, who lived for only five days. Her body was permanently damaged, requiring several surgeries over a 14-year span. The physical complications coupled with the grief and anger were crippling, and Boozer began self-medicating with pain pills. “Pills took the pain away, but emotionally I was a zombie and 10 years later I had no connection to my friends and family,” she recalls.
When Boozer got clean, the recovery process took several years. “I had suffered from chronic pain and migraines since I was 15 and I had insomnia since Elijah died, but I couldn’t take any medication at that point because I was in recovery,” she says.
Eventually a friend told her about cannabidiol (CBD), which is derived from hemp. It’s non-psychoactive and promotes self-healing within the body. “It seemed an awful lot like weed, which I didn’t think was an option for someone in recovery, and it was expensive because it was hard to find at the time,” Boozer says. “So I initially wrote it off thinking it sounds nice to try, but here are all these reasons I’m not going to. I was ignorant just like everybody else.”
After hearing accounts of how CBD resolved autoimmune issues and triggered immense physical improvements in others, Boozer was ready to give it a try for herself. She had just had her third surgery since Elijah’s birth and while she was able to take pain medication without relapse, she struggled with the lingering pain and onset of withdrawal symptoms when she finished her prescription. “I was in misery at that point,” she recalls.
Within 40 minutes of taking her first dose of CBD, Boozer wanted to know why no one knew about this miraculous medicine. “Eighty percent of the pain was gone and my withdrawal symptoms stopped—all of it, and never came back.” She also slept for the first time in 14 years. After a month her hair was thicker, her nails were stronger and she stopped taking migraine medicine. She says, “I had two to five migraines a week since I was 15 and now I don’t even think about them. That alone was life-changing.”
At that point CBD was mostly available through multilevel marketing companies and Boozer wanted to get involved. When she saw that the industry was up against a stigma, lack of education and misinformation, she started envisioning a retail space. “I had this burning passion in me to help people understand. You couldn’t just pitch CBD to people online. I wanted a place that you could go if you have two questions or 200 questions and the person standing in front of you has all the answers you need,” she says.
CannaBama is that place. Starting out with just 200 square feet of retail space in the corner of former partner Pam Davis’ salon in Satsuma, Alabama, CannaBama quickly evolved into a busy business in downtown Mobile that now sees more than 300 people a day. In their beautifully refurbished building, they stock over 100 CBD products—both full spectrum and isolate (THC-free)—including oral supplements, topical products, pure CBD vape options, edibles, water, lotions, bath bombs and pet products.
Education has always been paramount to CannaBama’s mission and Boozer has been leading free classes since she started the business. She also hosts Sweet Home CannaBama, a weekly radio show on FM Talk 106.5.
“It’s so much more than explaining what it is; you need to explain what it does and you have to know how it works. And you can know everything there is to know about it but if you don’t know how to use it, you’re not going to have a good experience,” says Boozer, who notes that ineffective dosage is often the reason someone doesn’t initially get good results.
She knows that the price of CBD can be daunting so she prices her inventory below the industry average. She also donates products to a women’s addiction recovery program and others in need. “I don’t need the money more than they need the products,” says Boozer. “What are we doing it for if we can’t give it away to the people who need it most?”
Despite the rapid growth her business has experienced, she still has moments where she wonders whether Alabama is ready for her vision. 2019 has been one of the greatest years of her life, but it’s also been one of the hardest. Luckily her optimism prevails. “We haven’t even scratched the surface,” she says. “Now I’m really about to spread my wings.”
For more information, visit CannaBamaCBD.com.