On the Chic Melrose Ave. of LA, a CBD Smorgasbord

On LA’s Chic Melrose Ave., a CBD Smorgasbord

LOS ANGELES — Nestled among the vintage stores, bars, restaurants, and art galleries of LA’s chic Melrose Avenue, The Antidote looks a lot like any other modern boutique. With its large, sidewalk-facing windows, bubbling indoor water feature, and compact collection of curated goods, it certainly looks the part of an upscale beauty and health shop. However there’s one important difference.

The shelves are stocked with hemp-derived CBD drinks, candies, face masks, serums, body butters, and even products for pets. It’s essentially a CBD dispensary–but owner Dashone Stanley said he wanted to design a space that was more comfortable and inviting than the typical Southern California cannabis retailer.

“There’s no bulletproof glass up,” Stanley pointed out. “There’s no anything … this makes someone think that this is a collective or anything like that. ” Rather he described the shop’s feel as “more of a spa. ”

Which is fitting. CBD appears to be climbing to a pop-culture crescendo lately. It’s been lauded by “wellness” books like Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP brand, mixed into fresh-pressed juices, and used as a selling point for all from matcha to mascara. The brouhaha even led the New York Times to ask, “Why Is CBD Everywhere?

“As far as it being a fad, I don’t think it is.”

No doubt CBD has health benefits–for certain things, at least. It’s a powerful treatment for some kinds of epilepsy, particularly those that frequently don’t react to more traditional therapies. In June 2018, the FDA even approved the first cannabis-derived drug, a purified CBD oil, for epilepsy treatment.

The range of benefits–and the speed with which the molecule has entered the popular consciousness–have turned CBD into something of a superfood, useful for just about anything. It’s a fad that’s found firm footing in Los Angeles, an epicenter of this self-care movement. The Antidote caters in large part to customers with active lifestyles, offering items such as bath bombs and gummies who seek out CBD for a selection of ailments.

But despite the explosion of CBD goods in the city, said Stanley of The Antidote, there’s still a distinct lack of consumer awareness.

“you could purchase CBD almost anywhere today,” he said. But before stores like The Antidote, the choice was slim. “There wasn’t a place where you can have a vast amount of it, and actually have somebody there to educate you on it,” he said.

Stanley has a long history in the cannabis industry. An associate owns the cannabis merchant, KoreaTown Collective, just next door. The closeness makes for a perfect setup: Visitors to the cannabis shop can go next door to browse an extensive line of CBD solutions. In terms of clients to The Antidote with more acute issues–such as significant pain or detoxing from opioids–Stanley can refer them to the dispensary next door to supplement their CBD ingestion with THC.

For some, Stanley explained, the stigma that comes with going into a full size dispensary can be daunting.

“The green cross occasionally scares them away,” he said, explaining that in dispensaries, “the stigma of giving your ID to check in has turned plenty of people from coming in. ”

Because The Antidote sells just hemp-derived CBD, Stanley said, the business isn’t needed to secure a California cannabis license or meet any of the requirements of LA’s commercial cannabis laws. Customers of any age can enter.

CBD’s cloudy legal status also means the shop isn’t needed to test products, either, though Stanley said the shop does so anyway. When sourcing items, he said, he submitted many for independent laboratory testing to ensure the quantity of CBD matched what was stated on the label. Stanley said he retains the testing results at his shop for customers to examine.

Stanley selects his inventory depending on the demographics of prospective shoppers and nearby companies. For example, with a small number of gyms in the region, Stanley sought out CBD waters and CBD protein powder–formats gym rats may be familiar with.

Education is a major part of his business model, too, so in addition to looking for workers able to describe the nuances of CBD to clients –such as why one may choose a CBD-infused beverage instead of some topical–he’s also designed the space for a place to host community events and expert speakers.

The Antidote is a business, obviously, but for Stanley it’s also private. After his mother passed away, he became distraught and sought medical help. “They put me on every prescription pill you could think of diagnosing me,” he recalled.

Stanley said he began tearing through his prescriptions more quickly than he could get them refilled. He soon went from being what he described as a “fit baseball player” to feeling like an overweight zombie, stumbling through life and sweating profusely.

“I needed to find a way out,” Stanley said. “I needed to find a way to break away from it. ”

He gave CBD a shot on a buddy ’s recommendation. Shortly, he was no longer getting up in the morning and hurrying to his medicine cabinet to pop a pill.

“I was getting up in the morning and taking a dab of CBD shatter to get my day going and actually get[ting] the same relief I was looking for from 10 distinct pills,” he said.

He threw himself back into fitness, started doing Crossfit, and lost 70 pounds. He decided to make himself a poster child for CBD consumption, he said, and soon developed his own health regimen that combined multiple workouts every day with various CBD products, such as roll-ons and protein powders.

Stanley acknowledges that CBD has hit a tidal wave of popularity. But hype aside, he feels the compound’s concrete advantages indicate it’s here for the long haul. The FDA’s acceptance of this first CBD-based drug was a milestone. And demographic groups like the baby boomers are reevaluating their positions on cannabis–and learning the difference between THC and CBD.

“They grew up believing that marijuana was the worst thing ever,” said Stanley. “But today I see so many come in here because they understand, ‘Hey, I’ve heard about this CBD that I can get all the advantages I’m looking for without the side effects.

Because of this, they’re spreading the gospel of CBD not through social networking articles, but by old-fashioned, reliable, word-of-mouth. “That’s what makes me believe that the CBD movement isn’t just, like, a trend,” Stanley said.

“I think it’s here to stay. ”

Published at Fri, 28 Dec 2018 19:16:35 +0000

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