Matt Resnick and Chris Morgan could have the relief that the Johnston community needs.
The two opened up CBD Center of RI at 1239 Hartford Ave. just over a month ago, and they said that the reception so far has been strong. Morgan said the business has brought in people from beyond Johnston, extending into the Providence and Cranston area.
The business sells products containing CBD, or cannabidiol, which they describe as a “non-psychoactive, non-intoxicating compound” derived from hemp plants. Resnick said hemp is the opposite of marijuana in that the former contains high levels of CBD and low levels of THC, which is the intoxicating compound in marijuana.
They sell two variants of CBD products – isolates and full spectrum. Isolates are comprised of solely the CBD pulled from the plant, while full spectrum contains other cannabinoids like CBG, CBN and trace elements of THC. The latter would create what Resnick called an “entourage effect.”
There are only six compounds listed on the sheets, but Resnick said more than 200 such compounds have been identified. There are still medical tests being conducted to determine the effects of each.
As for their purposes, the center has two laminated sheets pointing out the compounds’ various effects. CBD, for example, is listed as having about 15 different uses, including reduction of anxiety and inflammation.
“It’s been great,” Morgan said on CBD Center’s one-month anniversary on Monday. “The best thing is when you see people in here and they’re talking about how CBD works. They don't know necessarily the definition as far as doctors go and evidence-based science, but when they come in here, people are sharing their experiences, and the CBD does work.”
Morgan said he and Resnick enjoy educating customers on CBD and its effects, breaking any potential stigma that may be associated with it.
Resnick asserts that most of the negativity stems from misinformation, and added that CBD doesn’t provide any high or foster an addiction.
“It’s a health and wellness product,” he said. “However, it gets lump-summed a lot with medical marijuana and potentially with the stigma that’s around that. We’re not sitting here screaming for the legalization of marijuana or anything like that. This hemp product is legal.”
Morgan said most questions from customers are about the nature of CBD, and he pointed out that there are a few requirements that have to be met in order for a product to enter the store’s cases. Products must be American-grown, non-genetically modified and grown organically.
“That last one’s important, because anything you see right now that currently would have a label on it that says ‘organic’ is not necessarily true because the USDA and the FDA govern that, the rules and regs, for what’s organic and what’s not, and they haven’t come out with that, so we’d like to be transparent with that, as well as the independent testing that we do,” Morgan said.
Morgan said the idea is to help the public “consume with confidence.”
“All these products come with third-party tests and certificates of analysis, and through the hundreds of products that we have tested, we can tell you that you can take that with a grain of salt,” he said. “So we’re here to keep everybody honest, inform the general public [and] educate them … That’s what we’re trying to do here, and we want to be a trusted choice when people think of CBD. History’s being written. We’re excited about that.”
Morgan said there are multiple methods through which to consume CBD, which include vaping, smoking, dipping or even using it as a bath bomb.
For the most effective results, Morgan said, users should place the oil under their tongue for about 45 seconds before washing it back.
“We also have some lollipops, and we’re on the forefront of working with some really talented chefs to get rid of novelty products such as gummy bears that aren’t that healthy and replace it with healthy options,” Morgan said.
Resnick said the CBD Center doesn’t manufacture products, so local vendors and single-source farms are the key providers. Morgan defined single-source farms as ones that grow and track the products, which the center then purchases and tests before they are made available for purchase.
“So we’re going to be working with these farms, we’re going to be updating the general public once our website goes live and in here in the store, on our boards,” Morgan said. “What’s going on in the growth season right now? Right now, everybody’s germinating their seeds. We’re going to bring them through the process.”
That’s not the only way the CBD Center wants to stay in touch with the public, either. Resnick said they just started a text club for those wanting to stay up-to-date with CBD specifics or the latest product information. He said those interested can text “CBDRI” to 411-669.
“What we’re seeing here more than anything is education,” Resnick said. “We have a lot of people that come in. They talk, we talk all about it, and they may not buy something, they’re just really looking. So we’re here to educate. We’re here to kind of learn with people in those areas where we may not have encountered.”
Both said education can help advance a greater purpose – providing relief to the community, in Johnston and beyond.
“Those stigmas go away so fast when those people that carry those stigmas realize that it helps somebody close to them or somebody they know, and then they become the biggest proponent of that,” Morgan said.
“The response that we’ve had locally from this immediate area to people actually crossing state lines and coming here, which was very surprising,” Resnick said. “It’s been enormous and it’s been great.”