A new cafe will open on Campus Corner selling coffee, tea, brownies, cheesecake and other snacks — all containing cannabis compounds.
Co-founders of Cannafe, Jim Castor and Joel Jacobs, envision the cafe as a place for students to study and relax. This will be aided by cannabidiol, known as CBD, and other molecules from the cannabis plant that can help reduce anxiety and improve focus, said Jacobs.
CBD is a cannabinoid, or a compound found in cannabis plants. However, unlike the mind-altering compound THC, also found in cannabis, CBD does not get people high and is non-psychoactive, according to Medical News Today.
Studies show that CBD can also help with pain and nausea, as well as benefit people with diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis and other medical issues.
“It doesn’t alter how you can function,” Castor said. “You can still do your job and go to work and go to school and study and relax, and it just kind of takes the edge off.”
Cannafe is a “grand experiment” that is different from Castor and Jacobs’ main company, Life Organics, which has dispensaries in Norman, Castor said.
“Everybody’s kind of ingested marijuana a little differently than this,” Castor said. “This is actual food.”
Oklahoma became the 30th state to legalize medical marijuana this June, with 56 percent of voters supporting it, according to Vox. The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority was established soon after to enforce new regulations.
The program only regulates medical marijuana in the state, not CBD businesses or products, said Melissa Miller, communications manager for the OMMA. But as long as they don’t contain THC, products with CBD are legal to consume in Oklahoma, according to Quartz.
Castor and Jacobs credit changing attitudes toward cannabis in Oklahoma for making Cannafe a viable idea.
“We wouldn’t be here without the law,” Castor said. “There was a landslide victory for medical marijuana, to where people and our reception in town has been great."
The Cannafe founders hope to educate the community and change the stigma surrounding cannabis, Jacobs said.
“Tobacco has never been scientifically proven for any therapeutic benefit,” Jacobs said. “It’s never been approved by the FDA. Cannabis has — twice.”
The owners also want to provide a non-alcoholic space where students too young to go to bars can hang out during the daytime or between parties. Cannafe will have music, events and parties in the courtyard behind the building, Jacobs said.
Ben Cottrell, a microbiology junior from Colorado, said he would definitely try out Cannafe. While sometimes cannabis has a bad reputation attached to it, Cottrell thinks fear about CBD itself is “a little silly,” he said.
“I think a lot of students would probably flock to it because I’m sure we’re all pretty stressed,” Cottrell said.
Nick Homsher, a creative media production junior, said he is not interested in CBD but has friends who use it to help their anxiety.
“I recognize it as something university students will use, but I don’t think I’m the university student they’re looking for,” Homsher said.
Cannafe does not have a definite opening date yet but will most likely open in the next couple of weeks. Opening hours will be flexible, ranging mainly from the afternoon to evening, but will probably expand in October, when there will be a Halloween party, Castor said.
Cannafe is located at 588 Buchanan Ave.
Correction: This article was corrected at 10:51 a.m. Sept. 26 to reflect the correct spelling of cannabidiol.