Trinity Mealor has opened Tennessee Hemp Supply on the east side of the Shelbyville square. Products offered are oils and teas.
T-G Photo by Dawn Hankins
Trinity Mealor‚Äôs concept of providing ‚ÄúTennessee Grown Wellness‚ÄĚ through hemp oils actually dates back to Tennessee pioneer days.
‚ÄúAround the 1930s, hemp was livestock feed,‚ÄĚ said the new local hemp distributor. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs all about the high protein.‚ÄĚ
For early 1930s farmers, its usefulness might have been a lot to do with the fact that you could plant hemp seeds and the prospect of its growth were pretty determinant. Industrial hemp was also considered useful for everything from plastic to dynamite.
No matter its agricultural history, hemp has come under fire over the years for being so closely akin to marijuana. Its most famous name over the years has been ‚Äúrope dope,‚ÄĚ deriving from the fact that hemp is used to make rope and is also smoked as an intoxicant.
Mealor said he‚Äôs used to unkind remarks made about his hemp business. But he is convinced his dispensary work is medicinal and therefore should not be confused with illegal drugs.
‚ÄúThere are no psychoactive [chemical] effects in CBD, like that of marijuana,‚ÄĚ said Mealor. ‚ÄúBut yes, they‚Äôre of the same plant. CBD has actually helped people get off opioids.‚ÄĚ
His main mission through Tennessee Hemp Supply is to help local residents alleviate pain associated with inflammation. Mealor said he‚Äôs already met locals who are trusting him to provides oils with their aches and pains.
That soothes a lot of ills for Mealor, who has a great passion for selling cannabidiol (CBD.) His new business, located on the east side of the square, is filled with such items as hemp sublingual tinctures, dog treats and CBD oil peanuts.
‚ÄúWe use reputable source vendors,‚ÄĚ noted Mealor. ‚ÄúEverything we have, we stand behind.‚ÄĚ
He invites the community to see his displays during Tennessee Hemp Supply‚Äôs grand opening, which began Saturday. Mealor said he will give also a 20 percent discount on hemp items.
Mealor claims that CBD produces relaxation, but not stupor. The dispensary owner said the therapeutic high from his CBD products can be great for a person with anxiety.
‚ÄúWe are not a head shop,‚ÄĚ Mealor said. ‚ÄúWe provide Tennessee grown wellness.‚ÄĚ
Mealor said he has elderly customers returning for ‚Äúthat oil which helps their aching joints.‚ÄĚ He said other people have decreased post traumatic stress episodes by using Tennessee hemp products.
Those oral hemp products are still the source of study regarding side effects because of its genus link to cannibas. Mealor further pointed out that marijuana comes from a different part of the plant than hemp and can contain as much as 30 percent of the stimulant tetrahydrocannabinol or THC.
‚ÄúOur biggest hurdle is educating the general public,‚ÄĚ said Mealor. ‚ÄúCBD oil is only 0.3 percent THC. That‚Äôs important.‚ÄĚ
The hemp industry may be getting a federal shot in the arm as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recently introduced, and prevailed as it passed, the Hemp Farming Act of 2018. This legislation permanently legalizes hemp as an agricultural commodity.
Mealor said some people may not approve of it or better yet understand the qualities of CBD. But this hemp distributor believes the stigmas associated with hemp are fading away.
The Tennessee Agriculture Department seems to agree with the importance of hemp oil as a farm product. The department currently has open registration for hemp growers.
On the current state list are two local growers and also Tennessee Hemp Supply, which Mealor said partners with those growers. The state has a pretty precise application process for becoming a hemp crop producer.
No doubt, the middle Tennessee area has a long history of growing the herbaceous flowing plant. Donald Winters, in his 2004 ‚ÄúTennessee Farming‚ÄĚ retrospect said, ‚ÄúHemp grows luxuriantly upon our river bottom lands, but has hitherto been neglected; although it is believed to be more profitable than any other crop that can be raised.‚ÄĚ
Even so, hemp, mainly an industrial product, lost out at the turn of the 20th century to a non related plant, Gossypium, or cotton. The small crop of hemp producers in Tennessee decades ago probably didn‚Äôt meet with as much skepticism as it was mainly an industrial crop.
As a new hemp distributor in the 21st century, Mealor immerses himself in research. He believes by 2020, 70 percent of CBD will be water soluble, therefore making it even more absorbable by the human body.
Tennessee Hemp Supply products, much like other herbal supplements on the market, are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
As for hemp consumption creating positive drug test results, Mealor said the THC trace is too minimal. But, he will still not guarantee a claim of negative drug test results.
What he will guarantee is the level of purity of his teas, sublingual tinctures and topical ointments. One of his best topical sellers is called ‚ÄúBell Buckle Butter,‚ÄĚ which does include a small amount of CBD oil.
The prices of Tennessee Hemp Supply products, based on quantity, range from $8.95 to $59.95. Holding up a vial of CBD oil, Mealor said what is amazing is that the hemp product releases cannabinoids that are naturally already found in the body.
‚ÄúThe value of no side effects with pain release is priceless, really,‚ÄĚ said Mealor.
Cannabinoid receptors, naturally located throughout the body, are part of the endocannabinoid system, which is involved in a variety of physiological processes such as pain and mood. Mealor said in that aspect, ingested hemp can be like getting an extra dose of vitamins.
‚ÄúCBD is one of the cannabinoids which make it more medicinal than THC,‚ÄĚ said Mealor. ‚ÄúIt (tea leaf) is far more medicinal smoked.‚ÄĚ
Mealor also claimed that CBD is also showing improvements with heart issues. Backing up Mealor‚Äôs testimony are British Journals of Medicine, which indicate CBD has beneficial effects in disorders as wide ranging as diabetes, Huntington‚Äôs disease, cancer and colitis.
‚ÄúIt does reduce inflammation . . . high blood pressure,‚ÄĚ he advised.
The local hemp distributer said he has customers suffering from various bouts of colitis. It is his theory that their only pain relief came down to CBD.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs exciting, really, to know that you can help people with their pain . . . inflamation,‚ÄĚ said the Newnan, Georgia native.
So how did he get all the way up to Tennessee with this business, one might ask. Mealor began his dispensary business ‚ÄĒ Tennessee‚Äôs first of its kind ‚ÄĒ in Rutherford County, where it is still open. ‚ÄúShelbyville and Murfreesboro have been very supportive,‚ÄĚ said Mealor.
It is currently legal to grow hemp in Tennessee, that is, if you‚Äôre registered through the state‚Äôs current research module. Tennessee State University, Tennessee Hemp Supply and a couple of Bedford County growers are among the names on that list.
History seems to be repeating itself. Tennessee‚Äôs first commissioner of agriculture, Joseph Killebrew published in 1874 that several middle Tennessee counties were prime hemp growing areas because of good soil.
On that list of seven prospects was Bedford County.