CHRISTIANSBURG — Bull & Bones’ owner Jon Coburn is often asked whether the Cannabidiol-infused chicken wings he added to his menu this week are legal.
It is, he assures customers. He’s just one of the first brave enough to sell it.
“I promise you there will be 50 within a month,” Coburn added.
The restaurateur spent Tuesday afternoon running around his new Christiansburg store, getting ready for the official grand opening and worrying about his dwindling supply of CBD.
He thought he had stockpiled enough for one month, but the hemp derivative sold better than he imagined. Both his new Bull & Bones location in Christiansburg and the original location in Blacksburg were running out within a few days.
The demand follows years of CBD being left off the menu in Virginia.
The oil comes from the controversial hemp plant, but CBD does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Without that, CBD cannot produce a high associated with marijuana. Scientific research is still scant, but some anecdotally claim it does, however, help with everything from stress management to seizures.
Changes in federal and state laws earlier this year opened the door for farmers and entrepreneurs to grow, process and sell hemp products, as long as the THC content is kept to trace amounts.
Coburn jumped on the bandwagon right away and joined forces with two business partners to get a license and launch the Floyd Hemp Factory. He said he takes CBD, using it to relax at night and ween himself off sleeping pills after stress-filled days in the restaurant business.
He said that side venture put him in a unique position to act fast when restaurants were cleared to sell CBD this summer, having a supply from the Floyd business.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services advised hemp processors on July 25 that their products —when manufactured and inspected properly for human consumption — would be considered approved food ingredients or dietary supplements.
Reached by email this week, a VDACS spokeswoman confirmed that, as of July, CDB-enhanced products are legal to sell in Virginia. They fall under usual food safety and health inspection requirements.
“You get to add a little chill to your meal,” Coburn said with a laugh. “I’ve got to trademark that before someone else does.”
Coburn launched his CBD menu earlier this week with plastic syringes that customers can squirt into drinks, or over salads or any other menu item they choose. A tube containing 33.3 milligrams costs $3.
CBD is also added to some menu items in the kitchen. They have to be a little more careful there, since heat can degrade the CBD.
The chicken wings, with so-called Pineapple Express CBD Polynesian Wing Sauce, have been the most popular. The meat is covered in traditional sauce and cooked first, then re-coated with the CBD sauce after it comes out of the oven to avoid the high temperatures.
Bull & Bones is looking to add a CBD Hawaiian hamburger and CBD “herb” fries soon.
“It’s got that nice little, faint, herby feel and smell,” Coburn said. “It’s woodsy.”
At the bar, friends Amber Young and Summer King said they stopped by Bull & Bones after they heard CBD was on the menu.
Young ordered a classic cocktail called a liquid marijuana: spiced rum, coconut rum, flavored liqueurs and pineapple juice.
She paid an extra $3 for a CBD syringe, which she mixed into the drink.
“It’s a liquid marijuana,” she said. “But it smells like marijuana.”
Coburn admits there will probably be some people who aren’t supportive of the new menu additions, but he’s not too concerned about that. He says he was also one of the first restaurants to brew their own beer in the region. Bull & Bones is just progressive, he adds.
“A lot of the folks in Roanoke are like, ‘That’s illegal, right?’” Coburn said. “I’m like, ‘No. I’ve got a letter from the state saying it’s not.’”