Best of Orange County 2020: Best place to buy CBD products

1. 420 Central

420 Central Ave., Santa Ana; 714-965-4420; 420central.org

Tinctures. Capsules. Balms. Oils. Patches. Gel pens. Vape cartridges. Even drinks, sour raspberry, peach or watermelon gummies and dark chocolate bars. Who knew there were so many ways to ingest, apply or inject CBD? And this Santa Ana emporium has seemingly every type of CBD dispenser and product at your disposal.

First things first. CBD is short for cannabidiol. It’s a chemical compound extracted from the Cannabis sativa plant, better known as marijuana. Yet, CBD lacks the psychoactive compound THC, the element that gets you “high.” CBD typically is used as a relaxant or pain reliever and one medication — Epidiolex — is FDA-approved for epilepsy treatment.

You can’t find that at 420 Central, but you will find 118 different CBD products, along with knowledgeable budtenders and associates who possess a Gray’s Anatomy-meets-Wine Spectator depth and breadth of knowledge about CBD and its uses. It carries the popular Papa & Barkley products in numerous forms: patches, balms and capsules, and stocks only products that are lab-tested.

The dispensary understands its clientele and makes customer service a priority. Aside from delivery service, 420 Central offers daily specials such as “Sour Diesel Sunday,” “Munchie Monday” and “Wellness Wednesday,” along with loyalty and referral programs. 420 Central caters heavily to medical users, offering discounts, educational programs and other benefits.

2. People’s OC

2721 S. Grand Ave., Santa Ana; 714-582-3446; peoplescali.com

Here you have a licensed dispensary that is one of the largest in the state. One that runs every item through a state-licensed laboratory, bringing those items to you with something called a Certificate of Analysis. And one that was named Dope Magazine’s 2017 Cannabis Store of the Year — one year after its 2016 founding.

But make no mistake. People’s OC brings a proletarian approach to selling CBD and medical marijuana that seems more natural in Humboldt than in Santa Ana. People’s OC plays host to monthly Cannabis Farmers Markets, publishes a newsletter — the People’s California Newsletter — and stresses a social atmosphere in its marketing efforts. One blog on its webpage explains “How To Celebrate Pride During a Pandemic: Cannabis Edition.” There are regular VIP programs and contests and delivery service is available.

As for products, People’s OC offers 84 different CBD items: buds, tinctures, edibles, topicals, extracts, vapes and pre-rolls. Each item breaks down its percentage of CBD and/or THC (if applicable), allowing customers a sense of how much psychoactive punch an item packs.

3. South Coast Safe Access

1900 Warner Ave., Unit A, Santa Ana; 949-474-7272; southcoastsafeaccess.com

Opened in August 2015, South Coast Safe Access was Orange County’s first legal medical marijuana dispensary. It plunged into the nascent market with the mindset of building relationships with its patients and learning from them as much as they learned from the knowledgeable staff.

The store’s staff members combine a chemist’s mindset toward their products with your favorite science teacher’s mindset toward explaining what they are. The lab-tested dispensary carries most of the usual CBD items: edibles, tinctures, oils, patches, capsules, flowers, etc. along with accessories. SCSA carries many of the name-brand CBD vendors such as Papa & Barkley, Kurvana, Habit CBD and Yummy Karma. It even carries Bailey’s CBD Dog Treats for your pooch.

But it also features a blog on its website dedicated to explaining what benefits CBD can — and cannot — provide. As the blog points out, CBD is not a magical cure for everything. But users do swear by its calming, anxiety-reducing benefits — especially during times where even agoraphobes are feeling claustrophobic.

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