Jen­nifer Goes to Things & Does Stuff Jen­nifer Levin checks out Santa Fe’s CBD of­fer­ings



Most nights, I can­not get my brain to shut off and go to sleep. I wake up nu­mer­ous times, usu­ally in mid-thought. This has been go­ing on for about 40 years — but for the last few weeks, I’ve been achiev­ing the sort of deep rest I’ve only heard about from other peo­ple. As far as I can tell, it’s all thanks to CBD.

If you haven’t tried it, here’s a quick primer: Cannabid­iol (CBD) is a nat­u­ral chem­i­cal com­pound de­rived from the cannabis plant that does not con­tain the psy­choac­tive chem­i­cals that get you stoned. In­stead, it works on cer­tain re­cep­tors found through­out the body. Ac­cord­ing to its pro­po­nents, CBD can ad­dress ev­ery­thing from chronic pain and in­flam­ma­tion to can­cer. It’s le­gal in New Mex­ico and is avail­able in many forms. While I wouldn’t per­son­ally rely on CBD by it­self to fight se­ri­ous dis­ease, I’m sleep­ing soundly through the night, my daily headaches have dis­ap­peared, and my up­per back doesn’t hurt like it used to.

There are many CBD stores in Santa Fe. I vis­ited a few to check out prod­ucts and prices and get a sense of cus­tomer ser­vice. I also at­tended Hemp Fest on Oct. 20 in Rai­l­yard Park, where sell­ers from New Mex­ico and Colorado hawked their wares, and CBD ex­perts held ed­u­ca­tion ses­sions. Many, though not all, CBD stores in Santa Fe are af­fil­i­ated with med­i­cal cannabis dis­pen­saries but are run separately be­cause the state’s med­i­cal cannabis law, called the Lynn and Erin Com­pas­sion­ate Use Act, for­bids li­censed dis­pen­saries from bring­ing cannabis or cannabis-de­rived prod­ucts into New Mex­ico from else­where — a cat­e­gory into which CBD gen­er­ally falls. (CBD will likely work its way back into dis­pen­saries as the brand-new hemp in­dus­try grows in New Mex­ico.)

While I wouldn’t per­son­ally rely on CBD to fight se­ri­ous dis­ease, I’m sleep­ing soundly through the night.

As I learned more about what is avail­able in town, I kept cir­cling back to one ques­tion: Is this re­ally about health for ev­ery store and seller, or is this a trend for those look­ing to turn a profit? What I found was that most lo­cal shops are fo­cused pri­mar­ily on health, but some also sell ex­pen­sive CBD beauty prod­ucts like eye serum and brown su­gar body scrub. At Hemp Fest, there were a num­ber of booths ded­i­cated to the en­tre­pre­neur­ial an­gle of the in­dus­try, which is im­por­tant, yet their pres­ence among ven­dors who were talk­ing to peo­ple strug­gling with their health felt some­what mer­ce­nary. The gen­eral ar­ray of prod­ucts at each store in­cludes CBD iso­late and full-spec­trum oils of dif­fer­ent po­ten­cies; tinc­tures and salves spe­cially blended with herbs or es­sen­tial oils to ad­dress var­i­ous health is­sues; va­p­ing op­tions; and ed­i­bles like honey and choco­late. Most stores have house-brand prod­ucts as well as goods from other ven­dors — ev­ery­thing from mus­cle-freeze sprays to “shat­ter,” a con­cen­trated cannabis ex­tract that is in­haled. Gummy candy and choco­late are pop­u­lar meth­ods of in­ges­tion, as are tea and other bev­er­ages. I also found bath bombs, pet treats, and even can­dles.

Prod­ucts vary far less, place to place, than the over­all de­sign and tone of each store. For in­stance, Fruit of the Earth Nat­u­ral Health CBD and More Store (901 Early St.) feels like a New Age book­store from the 1970s with­out seem­ing at all like a grimy head­shop — a fine and del­i­cate bal­ance. I spoke to a gen­tle clerk named Micah Hel­man about how of­ten I wake up at night. She ex­plained CBD dos­ing and even gave me a handout to take with me. She seemed to re­ally un­der­stand chronic pain and was a very calm­ing and em­pa­thetic pres­ence.

Kure (220 N. Guadalupe St.) feels much more like a doc­tor’s of­fice with­out be­ing overly ster­ile. The owner, Minka Inger­soll, opened the CBD store and as­so­ci­ated dis­pen­sary be­cause she wanted a clean, invit­ing en­vi­ron­ment with a staff that is ed­u­cated in the ben­e­fits of CBD and where peo­ple from all walks of life feel wel­come.

Sa­cred Well­ness (1300 Luisa St. #4) falls some­where in be­tween Kure and Fruit of the Earth in that the de­sign of the store is clean and mod­ern yet re­tains a sense of al­ter­na­tive health care, what with all the crys­tals and es­sen­tial oils for sale. They have an es­pe­cially large as­sort­ment of house-made salves. The en­thu­si­as­tic clerk was warm and wel­com­ing, if per­haps less sea­soned in talk­ing about health con­di­tions than some of the other clerks I spoke to.

Hemp Apotheke (1330 Ru­fina Cir­cle), lo­cated in the fast-bloom­ing Ru­fina Arts District, is the only CBD store I vis­ited that is not af­fil­i­ated with a cannabis dis­pen­sary. It is an off-shoot of Aro­ma­land, an aro­mather­apy and body-care store. It smells very good at Hemp Apotheke and they have an enor­mous se­lec­tion of CBD prod­ucts, though the prices for oils are some­what higher than at the other stores I vis­ited. The price for 400 mil­ligrams of CBD oil seems to range be­tween $40 and $50. There are many con­cen­tra­tions avail­able, up to 1,000- and 2,000mil­ligram bot­tles, and the se­lec­tion varies from store to store. Some busi­nesses of­fer dis­counts to vet­er­ans and can­cer pa­tients.

The owner of Hemp Apotheke, Gyana Basse, told me she started us­ing CBD af­ter a car ac­ci­dent a few years ago and was amazed at the ef­fect it had on her pain. She is not alone. I spoke to sev­eral peo­ple who have come to rely on the heal­ing prop­er­ties of CBD. Among them is a col­league who took a com­bi­na­tion of CBD oil and ibupro­fen to get through post-op­er­a­tive pain af­ter a full hys­terec­tomy be­cause the oxy­codone she was pre­scribed made her feel ter­ri­ble. The CBD helped with the over­whelm­ing anx­i­ety that sur­gi­cal pain can cause, al­low­ing her to breathe deeply and stay present in her mind and body. A man I know who strug­gles with dif­fuse over­all pain as a re­sult of di­a­betes uses CBD salves to help man­age his dis­com­fort, and a woman who deals with de­bil­i­tat­ing men­strual cramps said that, for her, tak­ing a CBD gummy is sim­i­lar in ef­fect to tak­ing a mus­cle re­laxer. CBD, as a non­ad­dic­tive rem­edy for pain, shows prom­ise in the fight against opi­oid ad­dic­tion, a prob­lem that has rav­aged the coun­try and was de­clared a pub­lic health emer­gency in 2017 by the pres­i­dent.

If CBD pro­vides aid and com­fort to peo­ple look­ing for re­lief, then choos­ing a store comes down to where you feel the most sup­ported — and where you want to spend your money. You can ex­per­i­ment with prod­ucts while get­ting to know the staff. If any place feels creepy or off-putting to you, then you can turn around and go some­where else with­out spend­ing a cent. CBD is part of the free market now, so let the market speak. Cannabid­iol might make a pro­found dif­fer­ence in your health. At the very least, you might fi­nally get a de­cent night’s sleep.

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