CBD (an abbreviation for cannabidiol) has gained popularity for its multitude of uses and benefits like aiding in chronic pain, easing anxiety, improving skin problems and more. It’s a naturally occurring, non-psychoactive substance found in cannabis or hemp plants, but is perhaps most commonly found as an oil. Because it shows up in other products and faces changing regulations, it can be hard to know where to begin when attempting to incorporate CBD into your health and wellness routine. Hear from three local small business owners below about the benefits of CBD and where to start out with products.
District Hemp Botanicals
In looking for a remedy to help with postpartum depression, Barbara Biddle turned to CBD. Now, Biddle shares the benefits of CBD with the D.C. community as the founder of District Hemp Botanicals. With three brick-and-mortar locations plus a thriving online store, Biddle and her team stock a wide variety of CBD products and passionately educate all who seek CBD about its uses, benefits and many forms.
“One of the biggest things I like to convey to my customer base is CBD doesn’t work for everyone,” Biddle explains. “That being said, we make it a point to offer samples prior to purchasing to ensure CBD is right for our customers. Now more than ever, we’re living through a pandemic and people need to make sure they’re spending their money on something that works. That’s a huge part of what we do.”
District Hemp stocks oils, cartridges, edibles, pre-rolls, creams and more including their own in-house brand formulated with a company in Colorado. In determining what the store should carry, Biddle ensures products have gone through stringent third-party testings before they hit the shelves. Biddle and other employees try products themselves so they can speak to the ways a specific brand, strength or delivery might assist a customer in targeting their needs.
The brand has seen an uptick in sales in the past year, with many seeking CBD to curb anxiety brought on by the stress of the pandemic, or to meet other wellness goals they’ve begun to prioritize. Biddle notes that while the online shop and curbside pickup are options for contact-free shopping, many customers crave the face-to-face interaction that comes with walking into the store to browse options and be educated on their CBD products.
For Biddle, the most rewarding part of her job comes from the positive customer feedback and reviews from those who have found help through District Hemp and the products they offer.
“It’s the reviews,” Biddle continues, “and just hearing I was able to help. We’ve had customers come in and cry in our store while explaining how much these products have helped them, and I don’t think there’s anything better than that.”
District Hemp Botanicals: 1323 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC; 202-600-4664 // 9023 Church St. Manassas, VA; 571-364-8663 // 19 Wirt St. SW, Leesburg, VA // 571-799-9914
When Jennifer Culpepper and Selam Kelati founded Annapolis, Maryland-based I+I Botanicals, they each brought backgrounds uniquely suited to begin a successful CBD-based skincare company. Culpepper is also the founder and creative director of the branding studio Brand Joint, which works exclusively with brands in the cannabis and hemp space. Kelati has a background in chemical engineering and organic formulation, and draws on her experiences growing up in East Africa to infuse natural products from her upbringing into powerful and effective skincare. Together, they had the idea to combine those ingredients with CBD to create optimal benefits for skin.
“The same thing CBD does in your body, it does for skin in a really obvious way,” Culpepper explains of CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties. “It really helps with things like rosacea, eczema, psoriasis — anything that inflames your skin, it calms very well. It also helps to clear acne, which is something I didn’t know until we made our face serum and I started using it. What I’ve seen with the research with CBD is it reduces the production of sebum in your skin, so that helps to prevent acne because your skin is not overproducing oil.”
In addition to their CBD face serum, I+I Botanicals offers a CBD dry oil body mist, CBD coffee body scrub and bath tea blends. The brand is committed to using eco-friendly and recyclable packaging for all of their offerings and shipping methods. And as the CBD and hemp markets are unregulated, they’ve looked to regulations put forth by other brands and organizations in order to ensure their products are safe and effective.
“Something that’s really, really important to us is the transparency behind the ingredients,” Culpepper says. “With CBD particularly, that’s something that’s kind of like the Wild West in terms of how everybody grows it. It’s not that hard to get, but it is hard to know if what you’re getting is good or not, so we triple lab test everything.”
All of these lab tests are available to read on their website as well. And while CBD is an essential component to I+I Botanicals’ products, they offer even more benefits to your skin and body by pairing the high-performing, well-tested CBD with other natural ingredients.
“What we find is when we pair CBD with some of these other ingredients that really do great things as well, it’s kind of a power punch, especially for things like hydration and clearing the skin,” Culpepper adds.
LoCo Hemp in Loudoun County, Virginia is a small, veteran-owned farm that uses sustainable and organic practices to produce their CBD products. In 2019, Louis Bergeron decided to try his hand at growing hemp on his farm, where he’d previously grown vegetables and kept bees. Through trial and error, Bergeron was able to harvest the plant and eventually scale up production to offer high-quality CBD products made in a natural, organic manner.
“It’s been pretty exciting,” Bergeron says of the venture. “It’s rewarding when people use it and find the relief they need. I have been really encouraged by the response we’ve gotten from people who’ve tried it and found gains and benefits from it, whether it’s a need to relax after a stressful day of work or with kids or people in chronic pain.”
Currently, LoCo Hemp offers a 1500 mg CBD oil, CBD products for pets and CBD stalk dog chews. Their oil is full-spectrum, one of three major ways CBD is offered in addition to isolate and broad-spectrum. While it does contain trace amounts of THC, it’s well under the legal limit of 0.3%. LoCo Hemp follows and meets all state and local regulations for the production of their offerings.
“Full-spectrum essentially uses all the parts of the plant, pulled and extracted together,” Bergeron explains. “You get a mix of all the different elements of the plant. Some people swear by that because there’s interplay between the different chemical compounds and those different chemicals, including the trace amounts of THC in full-spectrum CBD oil.”
As for the pet products, Bergeron uses their full-spectrum pet CBD with his own dog, who he says benefits from it. Their most unique product is perhaps their CBD stalk dog chews, which are made from the repurposed stalks and offer a fun, eco-friendly chew for furry friends.
“My dog loves it,” he says of the chew. “I’ve had several repeat customers whose dogs love it, too. The nice thing is it doesn’t smell. People do the rawhide bones and all that sort of stuff, but those can get really messy and slimy. It’s completely plant-based, which is nice.”
As for growing locally, Bergeron says he’s found that through trial, error and experimentation, hemp plants take exceptionally well to the Virginia climate.
“We’ve found amazing resilience in the plants. Obviously, we don’t use any sort of pesticides or large-scale industrial practices. We do use very tailored organic and practices, and they’ve just grown really well.”
Find more CBD products at these locations in the D.C. area.
Flowerz: 1440 G St. NW, DC; www.pickflowerz.com // @pickflowerz
Grass&Co: 1730 Columbia Rd. NW, DC; www.grassand.co // @grassandcompany
Hemp Haven: 509-B Main St. Laurel, MD; www.hemphavenonmain.com // @hemphavenwellnesscenter
The Reset Wellness Group: 6323 Georgia Ave. #55814 NW, DC; www.theresetwellnessgroup.com // @resetwellness_dc
Don’t miss our virtual Cannabis City panel presented by District Fray and BĀkT DC on Thursday, April 29 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Register here.
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