New shop features CBD oil products: ‘It’s a silver bullet for a lot of problems’

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From left, London Wofford and Mary Lou Pendergast (of Vermont), Debbie Gragg, Joshua Gragg, Irene Smith, and Tiffany Salcito do the ribbon-cutting thing at CBD American Shaman, a new CBD shop at 1111 South Willow St., Manchester. Photo/Rob Greene

MANCHESTER, NH — Debbie Gragg recalls her cannabidiol (CBD) conversion. She had been suffering from the flu, almost to the point of pneumonia, and coughing fits had badly wrenched some of her chest muscles.

She applied a topical pain reliever containing CBD, a compound found in hemp and marijuana plants, and by morning, she said, there was no more pain.

Debbie said her son, Joshua Gragg, offered a gentle “I told you so” in response. Nowadays, Debbie is still using her topical CBD cream, and Joshua has just opened his second CBD specialty store, CBD American Shaman, at 1111 South Willow St. (where the Radio Shack used to be in the Starbucks plaza). It’s a franchise, one of 250 locations nationwide. Joshua Gragg also has one in Londonderry and plans to open others in Nashua, Concord, and, possibly, Salem.

Photo/Rob Greene

The CBD products Gragg sells are derived from hemp, perfectly legal, and growing in popularity. Gragg estimates that seventy percent of his business comes from retirees, attracted to CBD products because of their reported effects on anxiety, PTSD, inflammation, and pain. There some evidence that it also helps with psoriasis.

“It’s a silver bullet for a lot of problems,” Gragg said.

The hemp used in American Shaman products is grown in Colorado and Kentucky, and the manufacturing is done in Kansas City, Mo. The products do contain a small amount of THC (the more entertaining chemical in pot), but it is well under the legal limit, according to the CBD American Shaman website.

Photo/Rob Greene

“People want to feel better, but they don’t want to get high or be altered,” Gragg said, talking about the growing appeal of CBD.

The FDA has approved one cannabis-based medicine, Epidiolex, used to treat childhood epilepsy syndromes. Dr. Peter Grinspoon, writing for Harvard Medical School’s blog, reports that studies suggest CBD is effective for anxiety and insomnia and shows promise for different types of chronic pain. “A study from the European Journal of Pain showed, using an animal model, CBD applied on the skin could help lower pain and inflammation due to arthritis,” Grinspoon wrote.

Heather Avella of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce dropped by the new store at noon today for the official ribbon cutting. Also in attendance were London Wofford and Mary Lou Pendergast, who own a CBD American Shaman franchise in Burlington, Vt. They report that business is good there, and they will field a booth at the NECANN (New England Cannabis Network) convention in Burlington this weekend.

Photo/Rob Greene

Avella has two cats, and the Graggs were quick to point out the store’s CBD offerings for pets, including dog treats, cat tinctures, and topical creams for horses. Products for people include CBD coffee, brownies, oils, vape things, tinctures, creams, candies, lip stuff, cookies, popcorn, gum, and cigarettes, among other things.

On ribbon-cutting day, Gragg was handing out free samples of the topical cream and water-soluble drops. I tried the drops in a small amount of water. I have an anxiety disorder, and I think I felt calmer afterward. I also wanted a nap, but that’s not a rarity.

Joshua Gragg, owner of the new CBD American Shaman franchise in Manchester, chats with a walk-in customer about the products he offers. Photo/Rob Greene

Gragg’s enterprise joins several other shops in offering CBD products to the Queen City. A quick Google search turned up Holy Smokes, Smoker’s Haven, and Natures CBD Oil (all on South Willow Street), as well as Vaporamas on Elm.

CBD American Shaman in Manchester is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. most days, noon to six p.m on Sundays. Website is (which diverts to CBD American Shaman’s corporate site). Phone is 603-952-9596.

Fun Fact: CBDs and THC are cannabinoids, chemicals that affect the cannabinoid receptors in the brain. Black pepper, echinacea, broccoli, ginseng, and carrots also contain cannabinoids.