Staying Healthy and Pain-Free Through CBD
CBD USA Grown
If you are not sure about how much CBD can help alleviate pain and promote wellness for people, all you have to do is ask Deborah Gestner, owner of CBD USA Grown, and she can tell you from personal experience.
She’s used CBD – short for cannabidiol, a potent chemical compound from the cannabis plant – to manage her type 2 diabetes. She’s also used it to recover from a horrific car accident. “In the middle of creating a company, I had my right arm severed in a car accident,” Gestner says.
“I have two titanium rods and 23 pins in my shoulder. They told me that I would never be able to use my arm to its full extent. After four months of therapy I had more range of motion than most people do. I have no pain, no residual issues. I did it all on CBD.” CBD also helped her to stop using prescription opioids after 19 years.
Simply put, CBD is at the center of Gestner’s companies, she now has five of them, and the tagline for CBD USA Grown, out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is “getting healthy, not high.” This is an important claim for a number of reasons. CBD USA Grown uses broad spectrum CBD in its products which contain absolutely no THC, the cannabis plant’s psychoactive component.
This is especially important for people who want to manage their health naturally without any intoxicating effects or worrying about failing a random drug test. Something else that separates CBC USA Grown is that the company produces pharmaceutical-grade products. “Our lowest pain balm is 1,000 milligrams and we have 2,000 milligram balms. No one else has that,” she says.
Gestner took her first steps into the CBD industry when she was told that she would have to wait for medical marijuana to be legalized in her home state of Pennsylvania to treat her diabetes and high blood pressure. She wasn’t about to wait for this to happen, so she went to work looking for alternatives. “That’s when I discovered CBD and looked around for where I could get it in 2016 and found Folium.” Folium Biosciences is one of the largest growers of commercial hemp in the world. At the time, Gestner could only find products that would last for two weeks and thought that she could do better.
From there, she focused on CBD products for health and pain management. In a few short years, the company now sees more than $150 million in revenue worldwide. The biggest surprise in all of this is the international demand, she says. One of her companies, Greenleaf Golden Enterprises, is the only company licensed to ship to China and Russia where they actually have an office in Moscow. And to handle orders of any size, the company has a stockpile of 160,000 products in a warehouse, so it can ship mass orders on the same day.
While the demand for CBD continues to grow, one of the challenges that producers are encountering is making a good quality CBD water. While CBD can be conveniently consumed as a beverage, there are conflicting reports about the potency of CBD water. The Wall Street Journal also noted that the taste of the CBD beverages on the market is off-putting, and the actual levels of CBD are less than noted on the labels of some of the bottles sampled.
Above Water, the product that CBD USA Grown produces, has removed the foul taste while making sure the CBD remains active.
“We did research and found the CBD is photosensitive. So in clear plastic bottles, it degrades. And when you are processing large volumes of water, the CBD is actually stripped out of it,” Gestner explains.
To counter this, the company came up with a process that includes nanotechnology and using a water-soluble phytocannabinoid-rich powder from Folium Biosciences to maintain the potency of the water. Then, flavors like citrus, cucumber and essence of lime are added to further improve the taste.
The company is also producing a medicinal water that that can be used topically to help the treatment of wounds and burns. “If you do 75 milligrams for burn victims when they pull the skin off to encourage new skin growth, it will help with the pain management. It is antibacterial, antifungal, and it will help with healing and reduce scars,” says Gestner. The water is also tested one more time when it is actually in the bottle to make sure the level of CBD is where it should be. “So when we say we have 15 milligrams of CBD in our water, we know that we have an active 15 milligrams in the water.”
The standards of CBD USA Grown products are not only important to the success of Gestner’s companies; they are also critical to the future of the industry. If you search for CBD products on the internet, you will be bombarded by all kinds of products and all kinds of claims. The unfortunate thing is that many of these claims lack the proper information or in some cases are flat out deceitful in positioning products to the public.
Gestner, however, has a background in urban planning and government administration as a city manager for several cities and worked to redesign the downtown of Sarasota, Florida. She understands the importance of creating a government-approved solution for labeling of CBD products. “I was the first woman asked to join the National Hemp Board. We drafted the FDA guidelines that are working through the system.”
These guidelines will establish much-needed transparency among industry products. There are a number of key details that should be included so that consumers and distributors have an accurate picture of what a product provides. This includes making current lab sheets available, processes that fully comply with federal laws, and documentation of where the hemp plants are grown. The National Hemp Board recommends 21 points so that consumers know exactly what they’re getting.
“Another reason we are doing this is that doctors and retailers need to be educated on CBD. They can sell a product that has the full spectrum and their clients can fail a drug test. So it is very important to me that the labels are perfect.”
Label advocacy also has a direct impact on her business beyond CBD USA Grown products as the company also creates white label products for some of the biggest distributors out there. For consistency, CBD USA Grown produces the labels in-house and then ships them to their clients.
Looking forward, there are two new areas of growth for the company. The first is providing air travelers with a natural way to relax before they fly. Relax Naturally is a new company with airport kiosks to sell hemp products that contain only CBD.
The other area of growth revolves around hemp, but it is not what you might expect. Gestner is planning the launch of Hemp Abode, using hemp for housing materials, such as hemp-based drywall and fibers for manufacturing.
Because hemp fibers are so strong, they are an untapped source for manufacturing materials not only in houses but for cars, Gestner says. Right now the auto industry uses hemp fibers in composites to reinforce parts like door panels and trunk linings. The great thing about using hemp in the materials in manufacturing is that it is a renewable resource that takes just one growing season for a crop, while it can take 10 years or more to grow a tree.
“We are in talks with Ford and GM. Our role will be to help dry it and help manufacture it and get it to market,” she says. “We have brokers and are ready for the fall.”