Utilizing cannibidiol – better known as CBD – to provide relief for a wide range of maladies, from chronic pain to lessening the frequency and severity of seizures in people with epilepsy, is becoming a growing trend in Rhode Island, and a new store at 1851 Post Road in Warwick is poised to showcase why.
“I think within the next five to 10 years you’re going to see it everywhere,” said Mike Lanoue, owner of The CBD Store in Warwick, which will open its doors Monday, April 15. “The more research they do with it and the more benefits they find with CBD, it’s going to be like your local CVS eventually.”
Lanoue had family and friends open up CBD shops of their own in Louisiana and Texas before he started turning the wheels on his own idea back during the summer of 2018. Like many who have broken into the industry, Lanoue had a personal connection to CBD and the unbelievable effect it had on someone close to him who gave it a try – in his case, his wife who had been in a serious accident, which caused severe trauma to her back.
“The doctor was talking about possibly doing back surgery at 27 years old, and she didn’t want to do that because of the risks involved,” he said, adding that she opted to get back injections instead that would leave her bedridden for days at a time every few months. His dad had opened a CBD venture in Dallas, and so Lanoue made the connection, and his wife started taking a 1,000 milligram CBD tincture.
“She went from getting injections every three months to not really needing them anymore,” he said. “She hasn’t gotten one in the past six months.”
Long associated negatively with marijuana, CBD is actually derived from hemp, a cousin to the psychoactive plant of historical controversial acclaim. Products infused with CBD do not produce a psychoactive effect, but they have been shown through studies to have real medicinal benefits for people that have utilized it.
Proponents of CBD say it can help everything from sore muscles and joints, to headaches, and that it can even curb the worst of hangovers. CBD has also gained significant medical attention in the past few years for trial experiments regarding childhood and adult epilepsy, and is even showing progress in trials for treating anxiety, PTSD and other mental disorders.
“It’s all the help without the high,” Lanoue said. “You get the same medical benefits that you would if you smoked pot, but you’re not going to have to worry about a psychoactive effect.”
Unlike marijuana, you do not need a medical prescription to obtain CBD thanks to the passage of the 2018 federal Farm Bill, which included a provision that legalized CBD derived from hemp. Prior to that, it had been scheduled alongside its mind-altering relative despite not actually causing any type of mental or physical high. Now, anyone over the age of 18 can walk into a shop like Lanoue’s and purchase as much as they want.
CBD shops are opening up across the United States. It was estimated to be a $22 billion industry in late 2018. In Rhode Island, there is already one operating in Johnston, and another just popped up within Providence Place Mall. Lanoue himself is planning on expanding to South County and perhaps into Connecticut once the Warwick business gets settled.
The store on Post Road brings out a sense of inner peace, perhaps imitating the multitude of products sitting in display cases and shelves. CBD can be derived into an oil or infused into every different product imaginable. From flavored hard candies, honeys, cookies and brownies, to water soluble droppers in a variety of flavors and a host of external creams, salves and lotions – CBD can be delivered in small, delicious doses or administered in potent doses of liquid tinctures.
There is no evidence that overexposure to CBD causes any ill health effects, however some research has indicated risks associated with mixing CBD and other medications, such as blood thinners. It is recommended anybody looking to start a CBD regiment consult with their doctor for their professional opinion.
Due to its relatively new emergence in the public eye and due to a lack of sufficient research, CBD is still not recognized as a medicinal product, and is instead resigned to the realm of unregulated supplements. Lanoue recognizes that this poses a potential problem for people looking to try CBD, but has taken great care to ensure that his products are all the real deal.
“A lot of brands that say they have a specific amount of CBD and some don’t even have any CBD. With our company, we have all the certificates of analysis, which breaks down every single molecule that’s in our oils,” he said. “You have to be careful with the hemp that you buy, because some of the stuff just isn’t what they’re saying it is.”
Originally from Woonsocket, Lanoue moved in his 20s to New Orleans and then to Hot Springs, Ark. before coming back to Rhode Island to care for his ailing mother. He has history running business, but never imagined having a brick and mortar along one of the busier roads in the state.
“Growing up I never once thought it would be possible. It was a rough childhood. I never thought I would get to the place I’m at now. If I can do it, anyone can do it really,” he said. “Once you get to opening up your own business, it feels like the opportunities are endless.”
But more than pride in his own success, Lanoue is happy to be providing a service that can have such seemingly unbelievable results in people. He shared a story of a woman who wandered into his shop while he was still setting up. She had complained of chronic knee pain for years, and Lanoue offered her a free sample of CBD cream to apply to her knee. They continued to talk for a short while.
“She completely forgot she had knee pain and when she got up, she was like, ‘Wait, hold on,’ and she started doing a dance like, ‘You’ve gotta be kidding me!’ She was dancing around here,” he said. “To see someone get the benefits like that is absolutely amazing. It makes me feel good that I’m helping somebody else.”
Lanoue doesn’t proclaim to sell miracles, but he does recommend anybody experiencing pain or symptoms that they haven’t been able to find a solution for to come and at least give CBD a try.
“It’s all natural, all organic. We have nothing genetically modified. It’s 100 percent natural,” he said, adding that the store will offer free samples of CBD-infused water and creams. “Everybody is different. Come try it. If it works for you, then you know it works for you. If it doesn’t, then you don’t have to buy anything.”
Lanoue praised Rhode Island and Warwick for helping him set up the shop without hurdles.
“The state of Rhode Island was absolutely amazing helping me walk through everything. I’d love to thank the city of Warwick. They helped walk me through everything step by step and the state gave me the right places to go and helped me along the way,” he said. “A lot of people talk bad about this state, but this state is very helpful and they look out for their small businesses.”