This CBD testimonial is a profile of Tony Phillips, the general manager of Swamp City Lounge in Gainesville, Florida. It's an exploration of how CBD’s benefits are mental, physical, and how they can change the trajectory of somebody’s life.
Tony Phillips was born in Kansas in 1971. His father, described by Tony as a "cannabis cowboy," grew cannabis despite the recently passed Controlled Substances Act of 1970. He put Tony to work at the young age of four, helping to grow the cannabis plants.
“My dad said I had the perfect pinkie,” Tony recalls. “He would fill a tomato planter with dirt and use my pinkie to dig holes, where he would drop the seeds.”
He and his dad moved around a lot growing up. But in 2010, after many years of traveling (and picking up an associate's degree in business management) Tony settled into Gainesville, FL, and became employed as the head chef of a local Pollo Tropical.
Two years later, Tony had a heart attack.
The heart attack was the first of two. The first one occurred when he was working full-time, taking care of his father full-time, and trying to maintain a social life. All the stress, combined with a bad diet, lead to a clogged artery and an emergency trip to the hospital.
During his stay, Tony also noted some pain in the lower part of his body. However, since he was in the hospital for a heart attack, his claims of pain were never investigated.
The second heart attack, in 2015, was caused by good habits in the wake of the first heart attack. He exercised and ate healthy, and as a result the clogged artery began to unclog.
And while this might sound good, if the pain in Tony’s chest went unchecked, the clog could have fully dislodged and traveled into other parts of the heart, potentially causing a cardiac embolism.
Many months later, Tony found himself back in the hospital. His gallbladder was full of stones and infected, and the infection was seeping into his blood and making him very sick. It was removed and he was prescribed Percocet for the pain.
That wouldn't work for Tony.
"Addiction to alcohol and some of those type of drugs have been an issue in my family,” Tony explains. “I'm not saying I definitely would have gotten addicted, but why would I want to take the risk? I've seen what addiction can do, and I'm not going to even risk opening the door to that.”
He smoked cannabis, but after the gallbladder removal he also started consuming CBD.
“[I took] fifty milligrams per serving, three times a day. I upped it after the osteoarthritis diagnosis.”
Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis where all the cartilage between bones erodes, resulting in the immensely painful feeling of bone grinding on bone. It got so painful that Tony was only able to stand for an hour or two, working a job requiring him to frequently stand for five hours or more.
Running out of options, in immense pain, and not wanting to go on government assistance (disability), he turned to CBD. One of the medical benefits of CBD is that it reduces inflammation. As Tony increased CBD usage, the swelling in his legs and feet went down. This was the middle of 2016, after his gallbladder surgery.
So where is Tony now?
You'll find him behind the counter of Swamp City Gallery Lounge. It’s the only establishment in Florida where you can witness someone doing a legal dab of CBD oil on his counter, and then walking into a back room and grabbing a beer.
"We're the only place in the entire United States like this!" Tony proudly exclaims.
Swamp City is truly a labor of love for Tony, who credits so much of his quality of life now to CBD.
"I work full-time, eight-hour to twelve-hour days. When this place was under construction, I slept in a bathtub for three weeks. You think I could have done that before?”
Tony is a true enthusiast and evangelist for the healing benefits of CBD.
“I take a 150 milligram serving three times a day, plus I put CBD oil in peanut butter.”
You might think that after "being saved by CBD" and opening up the first CBD bar/beer and wine bar/art gallery in the entire country, that would be enough for Tony.
You'd be wrong.
"This is Gator CBD," Tony said while taking a small blue bottle in his hands. "We bought the name and got the domain!"
Following his personal journey with CBD and his experience opening Swamp City, Tony started his own line of CBD oil, Gator CBD.
Tony describes Gator CBD as the product he was looking for in 2016, when he needed a quality product to help with his osteoarthritis.
With his desire to educate locals, his outreach in the community, and his involvement in local government, you might think that Tony would be a huge activist.
That’s not Tony. But that’s not to say he doesn’t understand what the CBD community needs.
“You have advocates and activists,” he says. “The activists will talk about how important cannabis is, but we don't need activists. We need advocates, and the best advocates are good businessmen. We have enough tie-dye and unicorns out there making us look bad. The one thing that could destroy all we've built is not doing good safe business.”
We at Maku couldn't agree more.
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