California Caregivers Alliance

Come Happy…Leave Happier | by Shannon Perkins | Los Angeles





Cannabidiol (CBD), a component in cannabis strains, has been part of my daily dose since this past August when I realized it has a positive, direct impact on my depression. Finding a regular place to get CBD anything was a challenge. And, my empty jars looked sad. So, I researched and visited all the dispensaries in eastern L.A., some in the Valley, and also in Hollywood. California Caregivers Alliance (CCA) was the standout best. When the subject of cannabis beauty products came up, I was curious what CCA had to offer. As usual, they had everything I needed and more.

Maribel Garcia is the manager of this collective, which has served the L.A. area since 2006.  She made time to talk with me on a Sunday afternoon about CCA and their huge range of products, including treatments for hair and skin.

But first, how is cannabis good for hair and skin? In 2009, the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), a part of the U.S. National Library of Medicine, wrote that recent studies suggest the existence of a functional endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the skin. It seems that the main function of the ECS is to control the existence and survival of skin cells. Disruption to this delicate system may lead to skin diseases such as acne, psoriasis, hair growth disorders, and some types of cancer, according to the NCBI. Providing cannabinoids like THC and CBD for absorption via skin seems to help create and maintain healthy hair and skin. So lather up and rub it on, I say.

CCA’s complete menu is on, and here is a look at some items I picked up.

Papa and Barkley’s Releaf Soak is a 3:1 THC:CBD ratio bath salt made from Dead Sea salt, coconut oil, jojoba oil, eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil, peppermint oil, lavender, and cannabis. The aroma itself is instantly relaxing and emits an air of luxury. Soak for 15 to 20 minutes for full effect of relaxation and rejuvenation. Maribel suggests rubbing the salt on your body first, then adding it to bath water for even more absorption. Another special item from Papa and Barkley is the high CBD transdermal pain patch with close to 30:1 CBD:THC ratio. Onset time is about an hour, and can lasts for about an hour. They also carry Papa and Barkley’s Releaf Balm and After Sun Care set.

Photo by Matthew Chaves

Apothecanna can be found at CCA, and I sampled the relieving (arnica, peppermint, juniper, and cannabis) and calming (lavender, chamomile, frankincense, and cannabis) body cremes. Both products work fantastically well with a 1:1 THC:CBD ratio, and are aptly named. Arnica has been a savior in the past for me as a dancer and jogger, and combining arnica and cannabis may be a new gym-bag essential for open-minded athletes. Chamomile and lavender give the calming creme a delicate touch to match the strength of cannabis. Apothecanna’s products soothe aching muscles and leave skin feeling, looking, and smelling beautiful. I particularly love how quickly the Apothecanna products absorb in the skin so oily hands are not a problem. CCA carries two fluid ounce bottles, great for the car or a purse/gym bag, as well as right fluid ounce bottles for the home or office. This product can be used from head to toe, including as a face moisturizer, and the aroma is lovely and present, without being overpowering.

I was really curious about cannabis hair products, and then Maribel pulled out Ratite Blue’s Enriched Scalp and Hair Treatment. The bottle is eight ounces of cannabis oil, ostrich oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, and liquid organic soap. Covil Swearingen, president of Ratite Blue, says the ostrich oil is preferred over coconut or other plant oils due to its higher concentration of omegas, and fatty acids which are essential to the body. Harvard University’s website, The Nutrition Source, states that omegas cannot be produced by the body itself, and are “an integral part of cell membranes throughout the body and affect the function of cell receptors.” Swearingen adds that “ostrich oil has a long triglyceride which allows for more medicine to penetrate our skin in a single use.” CCA also carries a four ounce jar of skin conditioner by Ratite Blue, which has cannabis oil, rosehip oil, cedar wood, aloe vera fell, ostrich oil, and shea butter.

Some other topshelf health and beauty items to try from CCA are: Whoopi and Maya’s bath salts and salve for PMS and menstrual relief, Selbord’s Artisan oils and salves, Foria massage oils and suppositories, and Hibiscus brand lip balm.

The menu changes with availability and the season, and is updated twice a day. If you’re a first time user, old school smoker, or new age dabber, CCA has something for you. CCA’s selection of cannabis products is extensive: organic, full-sun bud; top-shelf indoor bud; oil; rosin; wax; shatter; vapes; double-glass pipes; edibles; drinkables; pleasure products; and topicals to get the list started. “If there’s a product out there that works and people like it and want it, we want to make it available,” Garcia confirmed. “Our whole mentality is we do it to be convenient for our patients. That’s the reason we’re here.”

Since 2011, CCA has been a registered union member with United Food and Commercial Workers 770 (UFCW 770), along with fifty other cannabis dispensaries. These major food and drug stores also belong to the same union: Food for Less, Albertsons, Vons, Gelson’s, Pavilion, Ralphs, Stater Bros., Rite-aid, and some CVS stores, according to the UFCW website.

Just off of Sunset and Silverlake Blvds, CCA’s exterior has an understated charm of anonymity. Walk in through the gated entry, and the front desk staff welcomes you with smiles. The lobby has cannabis magazines and product literature for entertainment while waiting. Do not get too comfortable, though, the wait is never long. There always seems to be at least three budtenders helping patients, sometimes more if needed. I usually ask a ton of questions when I’m there because I want to learn about what I will be consuming. No matter how busy the shop is, the staff answers questions with respect and information, and I never feel rushed.

If they don’t know the answer, they try to find it. The experience can feel more like a consultation if that is what one needs. On the other hand, for the seasoned stoner, try the express ordering system with a phone call or text, and just breeze in for pickup.


Learn more by following CCA on Instagram @californiacaregiversalliance or by visiting:
Emerald contributor since September 2016


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