Last Friday afternoon a scene played out in Covington it‚Äôs hard to imagine could have happened a year ago.
Five years ago it would have seemed even more preposterous.
About 30 members of the local business community, including ambassadors from the Covington-Tipton County and South Tipton County chambers of commerce, attended a ribbon cutting for a store just west of the Covington Square called Mother Nature‚Äôs Helpful Hemp.
Their brochure has a photo of a hemp leaf right on the front for goodness sake.
But on Friday the event‚Äôs attendees mingled, drank bottled water and munched on hot dogs and vegetables like they were in a new real estate office or beauty shop.
Lori Delashmit, who co-owns the store with Brandy Scott and Stanley Scott, who are married, told a story that received a good laugh from the assembled group. It was about an elderly woman who asked about the after-life ramifications of patronizing the store.
‚ÄúShe said, ‚ÄėCan I ask you a question? Am I going to hell for this?‚Äô‚ÄĚ Delashmit said with a laugh. ‚ÄúI said, ‚ÄėNot for coming in here.‚Äô‚ÄĚ
It should go without saying, but Mother Nature‚Äôs Helpful Hemp does not sell marijuana. That‚Äôs still illegal in Tennessee. It does, however, offer various products from CBD, which is one of 113 cannabinoids in cannabis plants.
Many of the products have no THC, the intoxicating component of marijuana. Those that do have THC have less than .09 percent, the legal limit. In other words, CBD products will not get you high.
What they can do, according to the owners of the store and various studies, are treat things like asthma, insomnia, arthritis, heart problems, anxiety and just about any other health problem you can think of.
Delashmit has a video on her phone of a 14-year-old girl who has Bells Palsy, a condition which weakens or paralyzes one side of the face. Delashmit says various prescribed drugs did not help the girl, but after taking CBD for a week, her face was back to normal.
You must be 18 to purchase CBD products, but, according to Delashmit and Scott, adults buy to give their children to treat ADHD.
Delashmit is a nurse with a Master‚Äôs degree, but both she and Scott want to make one thing clear: They do not, cannot and will not dispense medical advice. They‚Äôve both researched the CBD extensively and they might offer some suggestions, but customers are basically on their own when it comes to dosage.
The Food and Drug Administration has not approved CBD oil for medical use. A sign behind the counter reads: ‚ÄúThese supplements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or illness.‚ÄĚ
However, the FDA is studying CBD. At FDA.org people can fill out a survey about their experiences with CBD.
It became legal to sell in Tennessee in 2014 and legal in all states last year.
Over the past six months or so about 30 CBD stores have opened for business in Tipton, Shelby and DeSoto counties. Mother Nature‚Äôs Helpful Hemp opened in February and moved to its current location at 204 Highway 51 in March. Plenty of other retail outlets have begun selling CBD as well, including vape stores and Naifeh‚Äôs Cash Saver in Covington. Kroger recently announced it will begin selling it as well.
Mother Nature‚Äôs Helpful Hemp sells CBD in various forms: drops, gummies, vape cartridges, pre-rolled, body butter, chocolate, suckers, honey, pain patches, bath bombs and flower, which looks like crumbled tobacco or marijuana. A bottle of 500-milligram drops goes for $60. Gummies start at $25. The most expensive item on the menu is a bottle of 2,500-milligram drops for $140.
Scott and Delashmit both have personal experiences with CBD and that‚Äôs why they opened the business.
Around Thanksgiving last year Delashmit took CBD for knee pain and it helped dramatically. It‚Äôs also helped with her asthma.
Scott‚Äôs mother and brother were already using CBD when she decided to try it after heart surgery resulted in a damaged nerve in her back. She said her doctor prescribed pain medication and results were not great. After taking CBD, she said her back felt much better.
‚ÄúWe can give you a prescription,‚ÄĚ Scott said about most doctors‚Äô attitude toward pain. ‚ÄúThat‚Äôs always their answer.‚ÄĚ
Both women said doctors and dentists they have talked to about CBD generally have a positive outlook about it.
The same goes for Toni Holt, a 65-year-old customer of the store. She was having breathing problems related to a heart condition when she turned to CBD while waiting three weeks for a doctor‚Äôs appointment. She said CBD helped dramatically with her breathing and she told her doctor about it.
‚ÄúHe said he has patients who think it‚Äôs wonderful and others who think it doesn‚Äôt do anything for them,‚ÄĚ Holt said. ‚ÄúHe said he has nothing against it. He said, ‚ÄėIf it‚Äôs working for you, keep doing what you‚Äôre doing. I‚Äôve been telling everybody it‚Äôs worth trying.‚ÄĚ