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Dispensary Profile: Herbal Connections, Denver, CO

30 March 2010 News 22,940 views One CommentPrint This Post Print This Post Email This Post Email This Post

Herbal Connections is in a small strip mall in the trendy Highland neighborhood of Denver. Although there are bars on the windows and the waiting room has all the personality of a generic cubicle, Bob Carleton, the owner, is incredibly well-versed in the science of how medical marijuana affects the body.

Carleton, a friendly and gregarious man, makes no bones about how he got into the medical marijuana business.

“I grew up in Mill Valley, California, and it has been my recreational chemical choice for many years,” he says.

So when his son and daughter brought him a business plan for opening a dispensary in 2008, he took a leave of absence from his usual job and took the plunge. Then he began reading about the discovery of the cannabinoid receptor system, located in the brain, and the evidence indicating that cannabinoids produce pain reduction through multiple mechanisms of the central nervous system. He more he learned about the overwhelming medicinal benefits, he became convinced of its value.

“And here I thought it was just a great time,” he says, laughing.

Since he opened his doors in June 2009, the dispensary has had to comply with the ever-increasing labyrinth of new restrictions. Currently, the city is cracking down on edibles, particularly perishables, requiring that they be cooked in a commercial kitchen only in Denver county. Carleton keeps two lawyers on retainer although he’s convinced it’s just a matter of time before the vast majority of the population shares his view of the benefits of marijuana.

“I can tell you when the world is going change. One of these days the AARP is going to discover the benefits of medical marijuana,” he says. “In particular, the benefits for arthritis – that works as well or better that what they’re currently taking. But unlike that medication, it will not destroy their liver or hurt their kidneys. And that will be it; medical marijuana will be universally accepted.”

Herbal Connections has a wide range of tinctures, vaporizers, edibles, and other non-smoking offerings, because Carleton encourages his patients not to smoke. And he always keeps his mission in mind.

“We are in the healthcare service business. We listen to what the patients are saying, and we respond to them,” says Carleton.

In the selling room, Carleton’s employee is dressed in a doctor-esque white coat and has an equivalent manner, explaining their products and what each one does in great detail. Herbal Connections has an extensive and unusual line of edibles: hummus, soups, salad dressings, gourmet frozen dinners, ice cream, baked goods, and much more. A wide variety of tinctures is available, as well as capsules, and balm, which Carlton says is excellent for arthritis.

Carleton says he sees the gamut of patients, and Herbal Connections does not require appointments; only walk-in service is provided.        

Herbal Connections is opening a second dispensary in the upscale Cherry Creek neighborhood this summer.

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