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As the legalization of cannabis continues to spread throughout the United States, Americans are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits different components of the plant can have, including CBD. “When I started in 2017, no one even knew what CBD was. There were only a couple of brands out there and people thought CBD got you high,” Cody Alt, the founder of Kushly and Pure Kana, says. “Now, everyone’s a lot more educated and you can go to a mall and find it. [CBD] is everywhere.”

Alt discovered the benefits of CBD several years ago, after struggling with sleep problems and insomnia. He found himself consuming cannabis on a nightly basis, not for recreational reasons, but just to get to sleep. Little did he know at the time that CBD would become his biggest passion. “The more I dabbled in those products to help me sleep, the more I noticed inconsistencies in different brands,” Alt says. “Sometimes, when you would take an edible, it would have two milligrams of THC, then another time you’d take one and it would have 18. There was too wide of a range of inconsistencies, so I created my own products to close that gap.”

Unlike THC, another component of the cannabis plant, CBD is non-psychoactive and can be taken multiple times throughout the day without causing a high. CBD instead acts primarily as an anti-inflammatory and can soothe multiple parts of the body, as well as provide relief from life-altering illnesses. It also helps with stress, anxiety, aches and pains—you name it, it helps. CBD offers an organic solution to traditional methods of medicine, whether that be ibuprofen or serotonin reuptake inhibitors, and it’s not a stretch to say it has the potential to make an impact on the opioid crisis. “CBD has gotten people to get the benefits from the plant that they would get from pills prescribed over the counter,” Alt explains. “They’re sick of popping 20 different pills a day when they can just take a little bit of CBD. It actually has a better effect on them in the short and long term.”

Let’s not forget about how CBD can benefit the tattoo process, a fact Alt knows well as an avid collector. “When you get a tattoo, your skin swells up and [CBD] helps with inflammation,” Alt says. “And if you have healed tattoos, our topical has built-in SPF—so it kills two birds with one stone.”

A big misconception about cannabis is that it has to be smoked or consumed in an edible.  Alt will be the first to tell you that’s completely untrue, especially when it comes to consuming CBD. “We have a broad array of products that can be consumed,” Alt explains. “Whether it’s roll-ons, topicals, gummies, tinctures, toothpicks, bath bombs, skin care, energy drinks—we can pretty much put CBD into anything.”

While he’s dedicated his life to CBD today, Alt wasn’t always exclusively committed to this cannabinoid. For the first two years of its existence, his company Kushly was branded for THC enthusiasts and sold vapes, pre-rolls and even flower. However, he soon realized that going international wouldn’t be possible in this era, despite spreading legalization. “I transitioned Kushly to all CBD because THC is super hard to replicate and scale state-by-state,” Alt says. “I can legally ship CBD across state lines as long as it has .03 milligrams or less THC in it. That keeps us legal and, for my own peace of mind, I don’t lose all my hair trying to build teams and keep up the quality in every single state.”

Alt is looking to move cannabis to where it’s never been before, and 2020 will be the year his brands become a staple of American convenience consumerism. “Both my brands, Kushly and Pure Kana, have a very large online presence and now we’re focusing on big-box stores,” Alt says. “We just got into 1,400 Rite Aid stores across the country and we’ve engaged with Albertsons, Costco, Sam’s Club and Kroger.”

Despite working to be the box-store pioneer of CBD, Alt hasn’t forgotten what’s allowed his brand to grow in the first place, and that’s Instagram. “I’ve always been very big in building brands through social, because in our generation everyone lives on social media,” Alt says. “I started growing out my personal brand five years ago and I figured having a big following would be a good footprint to push products out to people with a click of a button. And nothing is more powerful than that.”