Entrepreneur Dwayne Madden is on a mission to destigmatize cannabis.
He aims for his new North Chattanooga store to be an informational resource as much as a business.
“Fifty or 51 percent [of the business] is going to be educating people,” he said.
And Madden aims to provide a comfortable and inclusive community, where questions are encouraged and knowledge is spread freely.
Here are four details about CBD, Madden and Hemp House ahead of this weekend’s grand opening.
CBD doesn’t get you “high.”
CBD stands for cannabidiol, which is one of the two main compounds in cannabis.
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis, but CBD does not have mind-altering properties.
A 2013 study from the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology looked into some of the possible benefits and found that “CBD has tremendous potential as a new medicine.”
Like medicinal marijuana, CBD is used for its healing benefits.
Proponents say that CBD can benefit people with an array of illnesses, including insomnia, anxiety, epilepsy, and opioid or cigarette addictions.
Anyone is welcome at Hemp House.
Madden wanted to create a store that someone’s grandmother would feel comfortable coming to.
Madden struggled with creating the store’s logo and initially considered including a cannabis leaf on it in an effort to help remove the stigma surrounding it. But he also didn’t want that image to dissuade potential customers, so he settled on something more universal.
“I’m a hippie, but it’s not a hippie store,” he said.
He’s going for a sleek, classic vibe, and he doesn’t sell pipes or drug tests.
Madden said teens can’t buy his products, but they are welcome to come in with their parents to learn about them, he said.
He has a collection of resources about cannabis, including one book he’s had since high school, that he’s happy to discuss with anyone interested.
“I want everyone to come in here and feel at peace,” he said.
Everyone has a story.
As Madden has gotten to know people, such as area hemp farmers, he’s found that everyone has a story about how they witnessed or experienced the benefits of cannabis and were moved to get into the industry or try cannabis.
Some people have used it to kick an opioid addiction, he said.
Madden has his own story that dates back to when he was a teenager and discovered cannabis.
He didn’t like the way prescriptions such as Adderall made him feel. He didn’t realize it at the time, but he started self-medicating with cannabis, he said.
He probably had some teenage rebellion going on, too, but cannibis helped him, he said.
“This is a plant,” he said. “It’s the most natural way that I can find to treat my personal issues.”
Madden is preparing for full legalization.
Although the focus of his self-funded store is currently CBD, Madden said he’s also open to sharing his experiences with THC because he doesn’t think the topic should be taboo.
If Tennessee legalizes cannabis, Madden may rebrand the store or add new products, he said.
He shot down some of the common arguments against cannabis legalization, such as the idea that it’s a gateway drug or it’s addicting.
Although he partook as a teen, he doesn’t think that kids should use cannabis recreationally. That should be a decision to make as an adult, similar to the one to drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes, he said.
He said he can’t imagine a situation in which an adult uses marijuana and it becomes the catalyst for a crack habit.
But even if full legalization is someday approved, there will always be a need for CBD, he said.
“Not everybody can carry a buzz,” he said. “There’s a need for CBD products.”