Carla Parra, the owner of Lifely Wellness at 1115 Wall St. in La Jolla , believes no one should live their life in pain. Although Parra opened the store in 2016 under the name La Jolla's Little Vitamin Shop, she soon changed the name and her product line to only sell CBD oil products.
Parra herself is walking testament to the benefits of CBD oil. When her son Jordan, now 25, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor and had two grand mal seizures, he started using CBD oil and his seizures stopped. "Because he was taking the CBD oil, I started selling it and taking it myself. And it's been like a miracle for us," she said.
Parra used it to deal with the stress of her son's condition. "It saved me from taking anti-anxiety medication," she shared, "because initially, I was completely out of my mind. When my son got his diagnosis, I went crazy like any parent would, I think. It brought me back down to normal. All of a sudden, I felt very capable. It made me feel like, I can deal with this."
Then she started noticing other changes. Her sciatica disappeared, as did her restless leg syndrome. She feels no pain during or after her workouts, she claims. Her son Jordan is back to surfing and working as a bartender at La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club.
Parra switched to selling CBD oil in November 2017 — before the legalization of recreational marijuana. Business was brisk right from the start. Since the law's gone into effect, it's significantly spiked, she said. Who's her typical customer? Well, there really isn't one. Both men and women, ages 25 to 80, come in regularly. The younger customers generally want it for anxiety; the older ones for pain, she said.
Because CBD oil works differently on every person, Parra tries to guide her customers through what she knows of her own experience and that of others. She also educates them on the difference between hemp and marijuana. CBD (cannabidiol), is derived from the hemp plant and is used to improve both physical and mental conditions including anxiety, multiple sclerosis, eczema, psoriasis, and chronic pain. It contains very low levels of THC.
Marijuana contains high levels of THC that cause the sensation of being high. Marijuana is usually grown indoors with stable light, temperature, humidity, CO2 and oxygen levels. Hemp is usually grown outdoors to maximize its size and yield with less attention paid to individual plants.
Customers have touted success stories from the disappearance of shoulder, knee, and back pain to the vanishing of anxiety and a feeling of overall balance, Parra said. Amelia, a 20-something customer who's been using CBD oil for more than a year, had this to say: "I noticed that I felt much more in balance. It's subtle, but it really is profound over time with consistent use. I definitely don't feel as anxious in situational moments and I notice that I'm not as sore after a workout or yoga class. My body just feels better, my mind just feels better."
The cost of CBD oil products runs $50 to $200 in the store. Parra gets her supplies locally and has all her products tested consistently for accurate potency, which is very important to her despite a lack of federal regulation. "You see people getting into this industry who are only in it for the money. There's a lot of hemp oil out there. CBD is not hemp oil. It is an extracted cannabinoid from the hemp. So it's a concentration of what is actually the beneficial part of it. But people are filling up bottles with hemp oil and calling it CBD. It's a total 'buyer beware' thing."
As the acceptance level rises, so do Parra's plans to expand. Right now she's working on setting up a more robust online sales system, and plans on opening up two or three more stores or kiosks in other parts of San Diego. Out of her son's dire diagnosis came her passion for relieving pain. "It was a blessing in disguise. I want people to know this works. We're all dying every day, so why suffer? Why not feel good?"
Lifely Wellness is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at 1115 Wall St., La Jolla. (858) 291-8889. lifelywellness.com
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