Meet the woman behind the 'Hello Relief, Goodbye Anxiety' wellness workshop

What started out as a way for one woman to solve her own problem turned into a small business. And now, she's on a mission to help others in her community who are struggling with anxiety as we re-emerge back into society.

You can attend a free monthly workshop where health experts can help you figure out what's wrong and guide you to better health.

A few months ago, Roma Leaf opened its first flagship store in Studio City.

"We were quick to notice a re-occurring concern amongst 80% of our customers who had complained about anxiety," said Mariya Palanjian, Founder and CEO of Roma Leaf.

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So Palanjian came up with the idea to hold free monthly workshops called "Hello Relief, Goodbye Anxiety."

"Mariya approached us because she was noticing in her shop a great deal of anxiety and that really mirrors what we were experiencing as we went into the pandemic… we noticed our patients had anxiety. A recent study published by the APA noted that 80% of those polled showed evidence of prolonged stress that is something that was published in February 2021, so anxiety seems to be here to stay," said Dr. Angela Williams, clinical psychology, co-founder of Rowan Center.

The story behind Roma Leaf starts with Mariya's personal story.

About four years ago, her father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and only given a couple of months to live. Mariya says the opioids he was given were making him have terrible mood swings.

He told me ‘I don’t want you guys remembering me this way this isn't who I am, opioids are affecting me tremendously,’" she recalled.  

Mariya knew the pain her father was in, so she started researching and found CBD as an alternate solution. She says his mood changed and he was much happier for a short while. 

Unfortunately, when his health took a turn for the worse, he was back on opioids.

"I felt like I didn't fulfill his wish… I ended up sort of making a promise to myself that we need to know about alternate solutions," said Palanjian.

"The majority of the clinical trials right now are in phase two and phase three. Most of them are in phase three and they have seen some benefits of CBD on anxiety in general,"  said Dr. Narineh Hartoonian, clinical health and rehabilitation psychologist, co-founder of Rowan Center.

Dr. Hartoonian added CBD has also been studied to treat chronic pain as well as epilepsy. In addition, there are some trials going on for autism spectrum disorder insomnia and addiction.

"I think educating them to understand a difference between that and some coping skills that could help with some of the milder anxieties and versus some of the moderate and severe," said Dr. Hartoonian.

These in-person wellness workshops are planned for the third Thursday of each month. The next one is scheduled for August 19th. It is free and reservations are required.