Healthful Flowers opened on Oct. 15 and offers an assortment of smokable CBD products, as well as edibles, oils and even low-dosage pet treats.
"Taylor and I have placed ourselves firmly on the ground floor of the CBD and CBG flower market," Freeman said. "One of our goals is to positively affect the quality of CBD and CBG flower moving forward by creating a standard that we are proud to stand behind."
Both CBD and CBG are derivatives of the hemp plant, although traces of the compounds also exist in cannabis plants. The World Health Organization has determined they have no negative public health effects or "effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential."
For those not familiar with CBD and CBG, CBD is short for cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid used for pain relief and to treat a variety of ailments such as arthritis, epilepsy and headaches.
CBG, short for cannabigerol, functions more like THC, interacting directly with the cannabinoid receptors in the brain, although unlike its psychoactive relative, CBG can work as a buffer to offset or alleviate feelings of paranoia some patients experience when using high levels of THC.
Reed and Freeman met as students at Catalina Magnet School. Reed was born and raised in Tucson and graduated from UA in 2010 with a degree in broadcast journalism. After graduation, he moved to China to teach English, but recently returned to Tucson.
Freeman has lived in Tucson for 25 years and is former owner of Buzz Smoke Shop. After not seeing each other for a decade, the pair reunited and decided to go into business together. Once they buried themselves in research for their new enterprise, they found the local CBD market was lacking.
"We're trying to get in on the ground floor," Reed said. "It's been an education for us: It's new and a lot of people aren't familiar with CBD flower."
Since hemp flower is relatively new to the marketplace, one of the challenges Reed and Freeman have encountered has been finding reputable growers. Arizona's climate is not as conducive to growing hemp plants as other parts of the country, so Healthful Flowers has had to go out-of-state for consistent supplies. Unlike federal laws that prohibit interstate transactions for marijuana, the hemp trade is legal across state lines.
"One of the biggest hurdles has been finding distributors and growers," Freeman said. "We have strains from North Carolina, Vermont, California and Kentucky as well. Unfortunately, we weren't able to source locally."
Included in the 31 rotating flower strains to be found at Healthful Flowers, there is a full spectrum of textures and aromas similar to those encountered in any local dispensary.
Signature selection Alpen Gleaux, a deep, dark purple flower, has a flavor profile that's reminiscent of berries and pine, with zero percent THC. Other strains have a full spectrum of aromas reminiscent of marijuana strains such as Sour Diesel and Kush.
CBD pricing is lower as well, starting at $5 a gram at the low end and $10 at the high end, but there are plenty of specials throughout the week.
There are also low-dosage oils and high-dosage products weighing in at 10,000 mg for those experiencing debilitating pain, including chocolates made from 70 percent cacao as well as a selection of gummies and honey.
Freeman hopes Healthful Flowers can help invigorate the local CBD marketplace and in turn help establish a niche for hemp growers to create opportunities in the industry in the near future.
"It's moving in the right direction," Reed said. "We think we're going to see a boom in strains and, hopefully, it helps the hemp industry."
Healthful Flowers, located at 5460 E. Speedway, suite 104, specializes in organic, pesticide-free CBD flower. No medical marijuana card is necessary to purchase Healthful Flowers products.
The shop also displays original local artwork, all of which is available for purchase.
For more information, call 279-1819, or go to www.healthfulflowers.com.