CBD Supply owner Danny Upchurch talks about his journey
33 CBD owner Daniel Upchurch found that CBD would help with his epilepsy. Once it was legalized, he opened his business in Fort Smith to help others.
George “Clay” Mitchell, Fort Smith Times Record
The dream disturbed his sleep so badly that Daniel Upchurch shook in bed. The nightmare triggered a seizure, and he screamed loud enough for his wife to hear him from another room.
This was a few years before Upchurch would find something to make the routine night-time seizures less severe.
Today, he has opened 33 CBD Supply where the product he sells is also helping himself get through the night.
The seizures started for Danny Upchurch when he was 15 years old.
He learned to detect the warning signs before the violent muscles spasms would come on. He would shake and fall down. This is what Upchurch lived with, grand mal seizures.
“The worst kind are when they come on and you have a very awkward feeling,” Upchurch said. “It’s called an aura, and you know it is coming on, thank goodness. Some people don’t. I do, to be able to stop what I am doing, to be able to get to a safe place to sit down, but when they come on they come on very strong.”
He had blackouts that worsened in 2014 and had surgery. Medication from the pharmacy didn’t help.
He was in bed about 2012, and he had a seizure when he fell asleep. He turned blue in the face, and his wife Ki called 911.
Fears of what could happen worsened.
“You can hit your head or pull muscles,” Upchurch said. “When you come out of it typically you are really tired.”
He said he is more prone to having seizures while he is asleep and dreaming. CBD helps him sleep without intense dreams, he said.
There has been one way to help his epilepsy, he said, a combination of his medication and the supplement he needs for sleep, pain and anxiety, CBD.
“A combination of diet, medication and CBD or a cannabis product helps a lot of different people,” Upchurch said.
Business is budding
Upchurch has farming in his family. When industrial hemp was legalized federally in 2018, he decided to jump into the new market.
There was a time in the past decade Upchurch did not envision hemp would be legal in the United States. He started having seizures that got worse in 2014, and CBD products derived from hemp became an option for relief, he said.
“Hemp is one of the oldest crops in human history so it has so many applications,” Upchurch said.
Industrial hemp farming: Hemp growing well in Arkansas
This summer at 33 CBD Supply, 2801 Old Greenwood Road, suite 11B in Fort Smith, his business is budding.
More than 1,000 acres of industrial hemp grow on 33 Farms in Arkoma and Spiro just west of Fort Smith across the border in Oklahoma. Upchurch has a complete production process, from growing hemp seedlings in a greenhouse, planting outdoors, to harvesting and processing the hemp for CBD oil extraction.
All of the CBD products sold through 33 Farms has 0% THC, the chemical in marijuana that causes a high. All of the product sold is for medical needs.
There is even a CBD product for dogs to control anxiety, a popular dog treat during the Fourth of July holiday weekend when fireworks can terrify dogs.
“I will always have to be on some kind of medication, there is no doubt,” Upchurch said. “However, CBD helps to manage the intensity and the frequency of seizures that I have.”
From farm to edible, tincture and even jerky
Upchurch, 47, has a degree in physiology, and he worked in sports medicine and health care fields before getting into CBD. He has had a past brain surgery for epilepsy. When he first learned of the possibility of cannabinoid treatment for epilepsy, he didn’t foresee hemp becoming legal in the United States. But it did in 2018.
“Here is the difference. A lot of people think this is marijuana and this is not marijuana,” Upchurch said.
The Tahlequah native said his seizures got worse in 2014 and he had a brain surgery. He learned of CBD uses for epilepsy and other ailments. But before 2018, he did not think hemp, the plant CBD is derived from would be legalized.
“For the longest time when someone said hemp I thought it was marijuana. I didn’t know. I had no insight into the product into the industry. Growing up myself being around marijuana in a negative way we didn’t know what it was “It doesn’t take it all away for me specifically but it does help the intensity of the seizures that do happen,” Upchurch said.
CBD products on the shelves at his Fort Smith shop in the Maybranch Shopping Center are products from plants that start growing in greenhouses and then fields of Le Flore County. More than 800 acres of Oklahoma soil has grown industrial hemp. Upchurch has his industrial hemp license in Oklahoma.
“We got into this industry, CBD, because I have epilepsy. Our family farms and has farmed for about four generations. So we decided we were going to get into this aspect of farming and follow through to extraction, formulation and product simply because of the benefits of it.”
There are CBD products in that come in gummies, sprays, topical lotions, tinctures and even jerky. There is a variety of strengths and flavors.
“Each is independent to different individuals to what might work for them. Everybody has something that works best,” Upchurch said.
The top three reasons people use CBD are sleep, anxiety and pain.
“Beyond that there is a list that is very long of different neurological or daily issues that someone might be dealing with,” Upchurch said. “Sleep is a very big issue that people deal with.”
Helping others with ailments ranging from pain to sleeplessness
He said his farms grew so much hemp for CBD in the last few years, there is no immediate need to plant more outside this year.
The demand for CBD has not waned since the shop opened in early 2019 in Fort Smith.
“My personal journey is that I have on about 15 different medications, and I have been to about five different hospitals for different types of therapies and treatments,” Upchurch said. “I’ve been from one end of the spectrum to the other, everything from diet to medication and still continue to deal with this struggle.”
He said he has other customers with similar stories, and parents with children with autism who are desperate for something to help with sleep and anxiety issues.
Upchurch said he plans to expand, and possibly open other stores.
He said mothers of children have arrived asking for anything that might help their child who has meltdowns.
“A lot of customers come in who have pain issues, or medical issues, and we can talk with them specifically about conditions they have and situations they are trying to deal with just in their daily life or their specific health care,” Upchurch said.
He counsels people with other ailments ranging from pain to sleeplessness.
“We have a lot of costumers that this is their medication, everyone from children up to an 80 year old senior who use it for pain and inflammation and control diabetic and neuropathy issues,” Upchurch said.
He said he tested his own products to make sure it helped him as products evolved from balms to gummies. Upchurch said he has seen a lot of people who were interested in hemp for various uses, CBD or textiles, dropped off during the COVID-19 pandemic. But he said the demand for CBD crew.
He said the demand has continued to grow and business is expanding. His farming operations are located outside of Spiro and near Arkoma in Le Flore County, Oklahoma. Seedlings are raised with strong root systems in a greenhouse. Plants are transferred to outdoor fields. After harvest, the plants are processed and the product baled to be extracted later. CBD oil comes from the plant material.
“Business operations continue to grow. It stalls a little bit due to the general economy but we tend to see there is a continued growth pattern and hopefully that will continue to expand,” Upchurch said.
He said plans are being made to open other shops in northwest Arkansas or northeast Oklahoma in the Fayetteville and Tulsa areas.
“This is medication for a lot of people,” Upchurch said.
CBD Farms and CBD Supply information can be found on their website 33cbdsupply.com.