Entrepreneurs / CBD

He Broke His Neck Surfing. Now He Runs a CBD Company.

When Mike Hannegan broke his neck, doctors wanted to pump him full of opioids. He had other plans.
He Broke His Neck Surfing. Now He Runs a CBD Company.
Image credit: Mike Hannegan
Entrepreneur Staff
Editor in Chief of Green Entrepreneur
4 min read

Mike Hannegan has surfed all over the world and seen his share of wild waves. But tragedy struck in 2014 when he encountered a giant swell in Newport Beach, California. 

"I took off on a big wave and then my nose dove down," he says. "I thought I was diving through the back of the wave, and I just hit my head right on the bottom of the sandbar. I broke my C4, C5, C6, and cracked my brain stem."

Image credit: Mike Hannegan

Doctors wanted to operate immediately, but Hannegan refused. "This happened over Fourth of July weekend," he says. "I figured if I were a doctor, I wouldn't want to be working on 4th of July weekend. I just assumed that it was the C-team. Why would I want to do crazy spine surgery with someone who is not the best doctor?"

CBD to the rescue

Although his doctor prescribed opioids, Hannegan soon realized they weren't for him. After a difficult time quitting opioids cold turkey, he looked for alternative pain relief. That's when he discovered CBD.

Related: CBD Is Taking the Cannabis Industry Mainstream

Says Hannegan, "I researched and tried so many different types of CBD and realized there are lots of different variances on the market;  some products are very good, and some aren't, so you really need to pay attention to what type of CBD you're taking, how much you're taking, and what their certificate of analysis is. There's a lot of phony CBD products out there. I wanted to make a good, strong product that customers could count on."

Getting into the business

Hannegan had come across a CBD product called Elixicure that helped with the pain. It was manufactured locally in the City of Santa Ana. So he went to the manufacturing facility to meet with them. They were impressed by Hannegan, who has a successful digital marketing background. "We immediately started to talk about forming a partnership and building more brands and working together," he says. "We're going to be launching tinctures, creams and skin care products."

In March of 2019, Hannegan launched Everything Hemp USA,  an online CBD market and storefront in Garden Grove, California. The store sells a selection of carefully curated CBD products. 

Related: 5 Ways Hemp Is a Boon for Health

The process of launching a store hasn't been easy. For one, many cities in the state won't allow you to sell hemp-based CBD, even though it's legal. "The local governments are still under the impression that CDB and THC are the same things," Hannegan says. "You have to educate them."

The power of influencers

Marketing has also required a learning curve. "You can't use traditional pay-per-click or buy Facebook and Instagram ads because cannabis is still federally illegal. So you have to think outside the box," Hannegan explains.

His solution? Work with a handful of key influencers to get their name out there. Hannegan is targeting different verticals for different products. For example, he's worked with professional surfers and snowboarders. "We are piloting a program to become first CBD brand/company on the approved product list for professional sport," he says. 

Related: 12 Cutting-Edge Marijuana Marketing Tactics That Work

Hannegan also has his sites on beauty influencers for his skincare line, and mom bloggers who used CBD for insomnia and stress. 

"Ultimately we want to be the GNC of CBD," he says.  "We feel this will give customers and patients a marketplace where they can purchase quality and trusted brands that have already been, researched, vetted, and approved."

By Javier Hasse
From retailers to growers, producers, and suppliers, there’s a seemingly never-ending list of startup opportunities in this emerging market. In Start Your Own Cannabis Business, marijuana, biotech, and entrepreneurship reporter Javier Hasse introduces forward-thinking entrepreneurs like you to the industry and shares hard-earned tips and success stories from pioneers and visionaries in the marijuana industry.
Learn More

Latest on Green Entrepreneur

My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to Queue next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to Queue next to any article to save to your queue.

Podcasts episodes coming soon for GreenEntrepreneur.com

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to Queue next to any podcast episode on Entrepreneur.com to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.

Entrepreneur Media, Inc. values your privacy. In order to understand how people use our site generally, and to create more valuable experiences for you, we may collect data about your use of this site (both directly and through our partners). The table below describes in more detail the data being collected. By giving your consent below, you are agreeing to the use of that data. For more information on our data policies, please visit our Cookie Policy.

Name Category
Google Ad Serving, Ad Targeting, Analytics/Measurement, Optimisation
Rubicon Ad Serving
Teads Ad Serving
Nativo Ad Serving
Teads Ad Serving
New Relic Analytics/Measurement
Log Entries Analytics/Measurement
Sailthru Content Customization