Grass Roots is a new shop that specializes in CBD-based products. The store opened in August. (Photo: Staff)

After Elisha Millan lost four friends in two years to opioid abuse and saw how their lives could have been changed by CBD oil, she opened a store for people who could benefit from the marijuana-based supplement.

CBD stands for cannabidiol, which is one of the two main compounds in marijuana. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis, but CBD does not have mind-altering properties.

Like medicinal marijuana, CBD is used for its healing benefits.

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CBD oil has been growing in popularity, especially among people with insomnia, fibromyalgia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, epilepsy, or opiate or cigarette addictions because of the oil’s pain-relieving and calming effects.

A friend introduced Millan to CBD oil after she was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and wanted something to help manage her pain.

Millan said she was impressed with the benefits and wanted to introduce more people to it, removing some of the worries people have about using a product with marijuana extracts in it—especially because she felt it could have saved the lives of her friends.

So Millan opened Grass Roots in August.

“After experiencing the death of four friends and knowing I could have been of help to them, I did this,” Millan said. “It led me to want to lead Chattanooga in this movement.”

Grass Roots sells a variety of CBD products with different dosages, methods of ingestion and intended purposes.

Among these products are gummy bears, patches, drink additives, lubricants, gels for pets and extracts for vaporizers.

The shop also has a variety of pipes, jewelry, clothes and tapestries.

Grass Roots also features several collections of local work, including hand-blown glass pipes from Nashville and consigned art from local artists.

Millan said Grass Roots has been attracting a diverse group of consumers because of the wide range of products.

She said ages range from 18-year-olds who want cigarillos to 70-year-olds who use the CBD patches to help treat their cancer. The majority of people who come in want health benefits.

As her store increases in popularity, she hopes to expand the kinds of products she sells, including marijuana if Tennessee passes legislation allowing its sale.

“I want to be positioned for that to be able to grow naturally, so we follow every single law to a T,” Millan said. “We want to show that we have experience and that we follow laws.”

Grass Roots is located at 301 E. MLK Blvd. and is open Monday through Thursday from noon to 8 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 10 p.m.

Alina Hunter-Grah is a contributing writer. She currently attends UTC, where she was previously the news editor of the student newspaper, The University Echo. Alina also worked at CNN during the summer of 2017 and is the former Chattanooga correspondent for 2nd & Church, a literary magazine based out of Nashville. 

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