It’s true that Smoking Crow is a marijuana dispensary, happily plying its trade on the northern edge of Bellingham, but to stop there is to sell the shop and its crew short. Like many other shops, they pride themselves on making the highest quality products available to their customers. But they also place a lot of stock in each individual’s experience—crew members promise to listen to their clients, and to connect them with their best options, whether their search is based in recreation or medicine.
What makes them even more distinct is a focus on helping the area’s older population navigate the strange new world of legal marijuana. “We find that more and more the stigma of cannabis is slowly decreasing, and people are seeing it as a medicine more than a recreational drug,” says General Manager Dominic Ippolito.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a popular product made from an active ingredient in cannabis, but can be taken in a way that does not make the user “high” in the same way as smoking the flowers of the plant. “Many of our clientele use CBD products for relief from pain, like arthritis or joint pain, or relief from anxiety. Knowing that many people have found relief by using CBD makes us highlight it is an option for people to try,” says Ippolito.
Ask Ippolito who might benefit from it, and he has answers at the ready. “Our customers tell us that CBD has vast capabilities in aiding a range of conditions such as nerve damage, anxiety, high or low blood pressure, Crohn’s disease, arthritis, auto-immune disorders, diabetes, chronic illnesses…the list goes on.” In addition to helping chemically correct what’s going on inside the body, CBD can also change how a person reacts to their activities. “It can be a great tool for those going through physical therapy, to promote longer therapy sessions.”
Since nearly one in five Americans report problems related to anxiety and depression, it may be helpful to know how CBD can assist sufferers with their symptoms. “Our customers also tell us it’s a great tool for conditions like Social Anxiety Disorder,” Ippolito says. Anxiety and depression have been pinpointed to inflammations in certain areas of the brain, which can cause feelings of discomfort or sadness and CBD can have a relaxing and calming effect. “CBD is by no means a 100% cure for these conditions, but it has proven itself to be highly effective.”
All of this sounds wonderful, almost too good to be true. On top of that, Ippolito is attempting to appeal to a demographic of people who have known marijuana as an illegal drug for the preponderance of their lives. Unlike a younger generation of Whatcom residents who have seen dispensaries for years, before they’re even old enough to enter them, there are those of us who can remember demonization, criminalization, and a long war waged against the plants and its users. How are those folks responding?
“The majority of our demographic tends to be members of our community that are 55 and over. And it seems to be growing predominantly through word of mouth,” says Ippolito “We’ve heard countless success stories and witnessed many of our wisest customers gain a higher quality of life just by adding a little cannabis to it.”
Talk turns more technical, as Ippolito discusses the endocannabinoid system, the human nervous system’s cannabis receptors. “What’s interesting about the senior endocannabinoid system in particular is that many have never been exposed to THC or CBD before,” he says. “This commonly translates as increased receptivity to those cannabinoids at smaller doses.”
His staff is prepared to work with customers in this regard. “Our shop carries a range of ratios and mediums by which you can treat your body with CBD, THC, or a mixture of both in order to ‘fine tune’ what you’d like to experience,” says Ippolito.
In addition to all this heavy scientific talk is the store’s commitment to education. While they’re happy to help clientele understand the different aspects of their wide array of offerings, they recognize that the public doesn’t need to just take their word for it. “We want to remind people to do some research on their own, Ippolito says. Understand the difference between hemp-derived and cannabis-derived CBD; ask why CBD products in grocery stores don’t have to undergo testing, whereas CBD from a dispensary does—and why this would matter to the consumer.
There’s a lot of information out there, changing every day, and there are resources to help you understand the benefits of this amazing plant. If you need some one-on-one discussion, the staff at Smoking Crow are there for you.