The three-person team at Virgin Abis has two goals: to educate the public on the safe and medicinal use of the cannabis plant and to offer products that can bring some alternative relief to everything from joint pain to insomnia.
The store in Mongoose Junction on St. John, located above the Sun Dog Café, opened in 2019 after Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. signed into law the Medical Cannabis Patient Care Act (MCPCA). At the time, owner Teddy Waldo said he was “thinking studiously” about entering the industry and, with business partners, Oliver Wesselhoft and Cynthia Swan, began taking internationally recognized courses, gaining professional certifications, gathering educational resources, and vetting brands.
“I believe in the healing power of cannabis and wanted to find a way to bring some of that knowledge to the territory,” Waldo said recently. “One of the pillars of the store is to be an educational resource for the community. Our primary goal is to educate you about the plant and to sell products that are actually helpful.”
A juniper joint rub on the shelves, for example, is one that the team says is popular and has, of course, been tested by Waldo himself. A rower, Waldo suffered a burr in his elbow on one of his jaunts but found that putting the rub on at night before bed helped lessen the pain considerably the next day. All products in the store are tested by the team, and Swan said like the rub, many customers are interested in finding an alternative way of taming pain stemming from arthritis and other joint issues.
CBD, a naturally occurring molecule found in cannabis and hemp plants, has been touted as a remedy for controlling seizures, calming anxiety, and relieving pain and inflammation, among other things. Once medical marijuana legislation is implemented in the territory, Virgin Abis is poised to become a legal dispensary, but in the meantime, the shop offers a wide range of CBD products, Waldo said.
The store, and partnership among the team, have also helped shape the creation of a community guild that is also designed to be an educational resource, to include helping customers become more aware of products on the market and their effectiveness. Labeling is a big concern for the Virgin Abis trio, who recently noted that only about 17 percent of products out of 75 tested in a national study were labeled correctly. Knowing what you consume is important, Waldo said.
“Our mission is to supply our island community with effective, high-quality CBD and hemp products,” Waldo said. “We work with mostly small, family-owned vendors from cannabis-friendly states and local artists to assemble a unique and artisanal inventory selection. We’re committed to the knowledge and understanding of our product and creating awareness of the mental and physical health benefits of the cannabis plant.”
To learn more, visit https://www.virginabis.com/.