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This Entrepreneur Battled Addiction and Started a Thriving CBD Company

What Green Roads co-founder Arby Barroso wants you to know about CBD.
This Entrepreneur Battled Addiction and Started a Thriving CBD Company
Image credit: Green Roads
Green Roads' Arby Barroso.
By Entrepreneur Partner Studio Staff

Following a series of sports-related injuries, Arby Barroso found himself headed down a dangerous path. After years of taking prescription pain meds to deal with post-surgery pain, he became addicted, “a slave to the pills.”  It was the ultimate wake-up call.

His salvation, it turned out, lay in the mountains. The Florida real estate business owner had taken an interest in the burgeoning Colorado cannabis market, and soon found that the inflammation-relieving CBD he was helping to harvest wasn’t only working to soothe his pain. “It wasn’t making me think about having to have the opiates,” Barroso says. “I felt better.” With the help of CBD, soon Barroso had kicked his opioid dependency completely.

CBD turned Barroso’s personal life around; and it would soon do the same for his career. He teamed up with compounding pharmacist Laura Fuentes to start CBD company Green Roads, and after releasing their first product—a topical cream for psoriasis—their sample group of friends and family were floored by the results and eager for more.

Green Roads has since delivered, creating more than 50 high-grade offerings, including CBD oil tinctures, fruit chews, syrups and even coffee.

In an increasingly competitive market, Green Roads has emerged as one of the largest private CBD companies in the U.S. In December of 2018, the company won Best CBD Product honors at the Cannabis Business Awards, and at the same time Barroso received a separate award as Advocate of the Year.  It’s a role he takes very seriously. Barroso has made it his mission to not just grow a business, but to change the country’s perception of CBD. He is passionate about educating consumers on the benefits of CBD, both through the brand’s info-packed website and via speaking engagements as chair of Broward County’s Medical Marijuana Advisory Board.

“People need to get educated because not all CBD products are the same,” he says. “There are good companies out there, but there are a lot of bad ones, too; we’re trying to fix that, because this is an avenue that could truly help people.”

Here’s what Barroso wants you to know about the exploding CBD market.

New laws drive the market.

The passage late last year of the 2018 Farm Bill promised to widen the scope of hemp commerce and ultimately expand the wealth of CBD business opportunities. The bill, which lifts a 100-year-old ban on commercial hemp, not only helps destigmatize the industry, it also paves the way for more targeted and controlled research into all of CBD’s yet-undiscovered uses.

As Barroso explains, “We already know that cannabinoids are popular for Parkinson’s Disease and MS, but with the Feds getting out of the way, we’re going to be able to learn a lot more about how our body functions and which cannabinoids it can absorb.” He adds that the 0.3 percent of THC that the Farm Bill now deems legal in commercial CBD will open up new product categories and entrepreneurial avenues.

Legal hemp means higher standards.

The Farm Bill won’t just expand opportunities for CBD entrepreneurs; it will heighten expectations of quality.

“People need to make sure that – in addition to whatever guidelines the FDA comes down with – the products they buy have full-panel testing to make sure there are no solvents, metals or pesticides that could cause the body harm,” Barroso explains. “It comes down to how the compound is extracted: some companies get lazy, they don’t take all the solvents or metals out, or dirty plants might have THC levels that exceed federal guidelines.”

Effects will vary.

With CBD now offered by so many brands and in various delivery forms, Barroso stresses that no one product or dosage will work the same for everyone.

“I know how CBD is going to affect me, because I’ve taken it for so long, but obviously different things affect people differently,” he says. “I don’t think it works for everybody, just like I don’t think every pill works for everybody, but I do think different types of cannabinoids will. You have 120-plus different types of cannabinoids out there that we haven’t even really looked at yet. Now that the market is opening up more, you’ve got people individually isolating more compounds.”

Marketing ‘geniuses’ should beware.

Even the most innovative marketing team will have to get creative in the cannabis space. “Our marketing team has had to figure out a way to get to the consumer without being able to buy time on Google or Facebook, which haven’t allowed cannabis-related marketing in the past,” Barroso says. “Creativity is important.”

Still, myriad opportunities await.

Prohibition is literally being taken off with the passage of the Farm Bill, Barroso says, and all the opportunities of a new business are at your fingertips.

“The scene of selling CBD might not be what you want to do, but all the other tentacles of this business are open to new entrepreneurs. You could say, ‘I’m going to do a magazine; I’m going to go on speaking engagements to educate consumers; I want to build a greenhouse.’ I don’t think cannabis is for everybody on the business side, but you could start somewhere.”

To learn more about Green Roads and their premium CBD products, click here.

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