Weed smokers can now legally buy 'buds' of genuine cannabis at a Thornton Heath vape store.

Hashtag Vaperz Lounge, based on the High Street, sells a form of the plant which has reduced levels of THC, the psychoactive part of the drug which makes users 'stoned.'

The store, which opened seven months ago, sells over 12 different strains of weed, which are indistinguishable in taste and smell from typical cannabis.

Instead of getting traditionally 'high,' users can enjoy the benefits of CBD (cannabidiol), the other main component of the cannabis, which is typically consumed as oil and can be used to treat a number of conditions, such as depression, stress and anxiety.

Shop owner Bessem Bikhazi, 39, said: "We're doing really well; people are shocked - it feels like you're in Amsterdam!

"The strains smell and taste like they normally would. It helps you sleep and has all the positive effects, but without the damage associated with street cannabis."

Your Local Guardian:

Hashtag Vaperz Lounge

CBD 'buds' are grown in such a way that THC levels are kept below 0.2%, the threshold for legality.

Each strain, from Lemon Haze to AK47, has an accompanying certificate which proves it complies with the legal requirements.

According to Mr Bikhazi, the 'flowers' bring in a variety of customers from all walks of society.

"It appeals to a mix of people, not just weed smokers but people seeking an alternative health treatment," he said.

"It gives people the chance to smoke without the stigma of illegality, or the complications of getting high.

"Last week a bus driver came in who wanted to smoke cannabis, but was concerned about how he'd feel in the morning.

"Another man in his 50s came into the shop recently on advice from his doctor to treat his cancer."

CBD, which can be ingested orally or in a vape, is widely thought to be an effective treatment of many common health issues including anxiety, depression, acne and heart disease.

For those with cancer, it may even provide a natural alternative for pain and symptom relief.

Mr Bikhazi, who began in the vape industry six years ago, turned to CBD to treat his sciatia, a nerve pain in his leg.

"I've never smoked weed in my life," he said.

"I gave CBD a go to treat my condition and it really worked. At that point I realised this actually works and I could maybe make a business out of it."

Hashtag Vaperz Lounge is located at 11 High St, Thornton Heath CR7 8RU.