Heath Haley and Melanie McIntyre opened CBD American Shaman store on Main Street in Chattanooga.

As a former football player and an Army paratrooper, Heath Haley suffered a number of shoulder and knee injuries that normally would have meant opioid prescriptions for the 47-year-old veteran.

But Haley was wary about getting addicted to opioids and was looking for an alternative when he was introduced to cannabidiol or CBD. Haley quickly found the marijuana-derived oil eases joint pains and other ailments without the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) ingredient that gives you a high from smoking weed.

"I have two reconstructed shoulders and chronic spine issues," said Haley, who grew up in Birmingham, Alabama and now lives in Nashville. "I was at my wit's end to find relief from my pain when I discovered CBD oil. It provided a great natural method for relieving pain within 15 minutes."

Haley found relief at one the largest retailers of CBD oil, the Kansas City-based CBD American Shaman, which operates or franchises more than 200 stores around the country. As a salesman who has worked in the medical equipment, pharmaceutical and steel processing companies, Haley was immediately convinced of the sales potential of American Shaman and acquired a franchise for Tennessee.

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Heath Haley and Melanie McIntyre opened CBD American Shaman store on Main Street in Chattanooga.

Haley joined with Chattanooga native and bookkeeper Melanie McIntyre to open a franchised location for CBD American Shaman on Main Street on Chattanooga's Southside.

McIntrye said CBD has helped her father cope with Parkinson's symptoms and even her dog has benefited. CBD dog treats and oral tincture relieved 10-year-old Cady's arthritic pain and anxiety, she said.

"It's hard to see the downside of CBD for pain and anxiety," she said. "Common myths fall away under the scrutiny of research: CBD doesn't make you high, it has minimal side effects, and it won't appear on a drug test."

The co-owners are looking to add stores in Nashville and Birmingham to provide what they see as an effective organic product they claim relieves pain and anxiety, induces tranquil rest, and encourages mental clarity.

Their new Main Street American Shaman store is among at least a dozen retailers of CBD that have opened in the past two years in Chattanooga since the the Farm Bill of 2018 legalized the use of marijuana-derived cannabis oil. The legalized hemp they sell is defined as cannabis containing less than 0.3 percent or less of THC, the psychotropic aspect of cannabis.

Haley said the American Shaman product is made pesticide free and tested for quality. Their store tries to appeal to a variety of consumers. But unlike some of its competitors, American Shaman doesn't offer the water bongs, rolling papers or pipes of a head shop that might appeal to those using marijuana.

"This is store your grandmother is comfortable coming into," Haley said.

Although CBD is not legal in all 50 states, the CBD oil at American Shaman is sourced from industrial hemp grown in Colorado and Kentucky, which is legal under the farm bill. The company uses a proprietary approach to create water-soluble nanoparticles of CBD, which can enter the bloodstream without the usual oil-based delivery method.

Visitors to the new CBD American Shaman are greeted with a sample they can taste, rub on their skin, or take home to their pet, Haley said. The store features a military discount for current service members and veterans.

"CBD American Shaman controls the entire manufacturing process," Haley said. "I can show customers lab reports on any CBD product we have in the store."

Contact Dave Flessner at or at 757-6340.

CBD in Chattanooga

At least a dozen stores have begun selling CBD oil since Tennessee legalized the use of marijuana-derived cannabis oil two years ago.

* CBD American Shaman, 330 E. Main St.

* Grass Roots Health Hemp Dispensary, 301 M.L. King Boulevard

* Hemp House, 512 Tremont Street and 6016 Ringgold Road in East Ridge

* Tennessee Hemp Exchange, 23 Cherokee Boulevard

* Five Leaf Wellness, Patten Parkway downtown

* Your CBD Store, 2265 Gunbarrel Road

* Hemp ReLeaf CBD Dispensary, 4827 Highway 58

* Lucidity and Kat’s naturals, 405 Cowart Street

* Seventh Sense CBD at Hamilton Place Mall

* Natural Body Spa & Shop, 300 Broad Street

* Farm to Med, 3874 Hixson Pike