Ground Floor: Cedar Rapids store touts benefit of medical marijuana

'It's about a better quality of life'

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CEDAR RAPIDS — Visitors to Corner Store Apothecary and More may find owner Kymm Loeffler sporting her favorite “Cannabis Is Medicine” T-shirt.

Yes, that green T-shirt is intended to make a statement. Loeffler’s mission — and the purpose of her new Czech Village store — is to educate the public about the benefits of medical marijuana.

“It’s not about getting high,” she said. “It’s about a better quality of life.”

Three years ago, Loeffer’s husband Pat began experiencing a series of cardiac episodes. After multiple hospitalizations and surgeries, he was diagnosed with intractable epilepsy, an uncontrolled seizure disorder. He was 48 years old.

Pat’s doctors tried numerous medications to bring the seizures under control, with limited effectiveness and debilitating side effects.

“They took their toll on his body and mind,” Loeffler said. “They stole his life from him.”

In December 2015, with the blessing of Pat’s neurologist, the desperate couple traveled to Colorado to explore medical marijuana. There, Pat received a special cannabidiol (CBD) oil derived from marijuana that was designed to reduce seizures. The effects were almost immediate.

Pat became one of the few Iowans who legally can possess CBD medical marijuana oil to treat epilepsy, under a 2014 law that is set to expire in July. He and Loeffler are active in a group lobbying to extend and expand the law.

That’s where Corner Store Apothecary & More comes in.

“The store was more of a way to make people aware of what’s going on,” Loeffler said. “It’s a labor of love for my husband and my way to get the word out there.”

Corner Store offers CBD oil products derived from industrial hemp. Because hemp contains only trace amounts of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, CBD hemp oil products are non-psychoactive and are sold legally in all 50 states as nutritional supplements.

But Loeffler said they offer many of the same healing properties as the more powerful CBD oil derived from medical marijuana.

“CBD oil helps people with all sorts of ailments,” she said, noting that some of the reported benefits include stress relief, sleep support, immune system support and anti-inflammatory properties. “My husband is living testimony that CBD oil works.”

In addition to CBD hemp oil products, Corner Store carries holistic healing items such as salt lamps, essential oils and raw ingredients for making soap and other personal care items, as well as a selection of grocery items.

Since it opened on Feb. 1, Corner Store has received a “tremendous reception,” Loeffler said.

“We are just very blessed,” she said. “I know it seems strange to say my husband was blessed with epilepsy, but I truly believe we had this happen to us so we can help others.”

AT A GLANCE

Owner: Kymm Loeffler

Business: Corner Store Apothecary & More

Address: 99 16th Ave. SW, Cedar Rapids

Telephone: (319) 364-2764

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Corner-Store-Apothecary-More-469158083471972

Know of a small business in operation for less than a year that should be featured in “The Ground Floor”? And it doesn’t have to be retail. Let us know at michaelchevy.castranova@thegazette.com

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