WARWICK — After an accident left Michael Lanoue’s wife in a tremendous amount of pain, it was cannabidiol, a compound derived from the hemp plant, that finally brought her the relief she’d so hoped to find.
“She got sick of being a zombie,” said Lanoue, whose wife at one point was on three or four different medications. “[The medications] did help the pain, but if you can’t enjoy your life, what’s the point?”
It was his wife’s positive experience with cannabidiol, or CBD, that inspired Lanoue to open The CBD Store in Warwick in April. And as he continues to strive to shine a light on the potential benefits of his cannabis-derived products, Lanoue is also on a mission to bring awareness to some of the area’s charitable organizations.
“There’s a lot of people out there who are going through some real physical, or emotional, or neurological pains and they just want to be able to live their lives,” Lanoue said, adding that he hopes to help them not only with his CBD products, but also through regular donations to various non-profits.
Standing Tuesday morning in his shop on Post Road beside a massive check for $1,400 to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Lanoue spoke passionately about CBD and his desire to give back to the community.
The largely unregulated CBD market is packed with infused products that have been associated with wide-ranging health benefits. And because they don’t contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive compound in the marijuana plant, patients are able to consume CBD and reap the medicinal benefits of the cannabis plant without getting high, Lanoue said.
“It’s a botanical medicine. It’s all-natural, it’s organic,” Lanoue said of the pharmaceutical-grade CBD he sells. “I have a lot of customers who use it for multiple different reasons, and not a single one has not felt some kind of relief — it’s the help without the high.”
While it was a personal experience that led Lanoue to open The CBD Store, what keeps him motivated are the countless stories of patients whose qualities of life have improved with CBD use.
“Whether it’s for two days, two hours or weeks at a time, they’re feeling relief,” he said. “And that’s what people who walk in here want.”
In the month-and-a-half since he opened the doors to The CBD Store, Lanoue, who plans to open a second store location in North Kingstown next month, said he’s had customers struggling with a range of afflictions who’ve seen their symptoms improve. He said a couple of his customers who have stage four lung cancer, for example, have seen increases in their white blood cell counts since trying water-soluble CBD.
“And they’re just enjoying the time they’ve got left,” Lanoue said.
Lanoue said he’s even had customers whose dogs have apparently had significant reductions in separation anxiety and hip dysplasia pain after taking enriched dog treats.
But it was the story of one particular customer, an ALS patient who for years had experienced debilitating pain, that inspired Lanoue to donate 5 percent of his sales for the month of May to the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
“He was going through some serious, serious issues, and within probably 12 hours of taking our products he was feeling amazing,” Lanoue said, adding that he plans to donate a portion of his sales to a different organization approximately every three months.
The CBD Store sells a variety of CBD-infused products, including face creams, energy drinks, salves and candies. But there’s no need to commit to purchasing — Lanoue said anyone who’s curious is welcome to stop in to try a salve sample.
“Regardless of what someone’s walking into my store for, they’re getting a sample before they buy the product,” he said. “We want to make sure that it’s going to work for them, and if it works — great. If not, you don’t have to buy anything.”
Located at 1845 Post Road in Warwick, The CBD Store of RI is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.