Hempirical Discussions, Ep. 3: Joy Smith, Joy Organics

On today\’s episode of the podcast I\’m talking with Joy Smith, founder of Joy Organics, a seller of cannabidiol products in Fort Collins, Colorado. Cannabidiol, most commonly referred to as CBD, is one of dozens of unique compounds in cannabis plants. Plenty of anecdotal evidence and recent research suggests that CBD is one of the most medically valuable of those compounds, useful in treating conditions ranging from insomnia to rheumatoid arthritis. CBD products are becoming more popular because they contain almost no trace of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychotropic compound in marijuana, meaning that people can get many of the benefits of medical marijuana without getting high.

After trying some CBD products in Florida to help her insomnia, Smith decided to leverage her family\’s considerable resources to open her own CBD shop in Colorado. The CBD in her products comes from a special variety of hemp that is grown organically in La Junta, Colorado. As a fellow Fort Collins resident, I had the opportunity to visit Joy at her new store and talk about her own experience with CBD, current and upcoming product lines, company values, and her philosophy on cannabis treatment.

Some highlights from our conversation, after the jump.

NJ: Can you give a general description of CBD and what people might use it for?
JS: Cannabidiol, CBD, comes from, at least our plant that we use, [a plant that] looks identical to the marijuana plant. The industrial hemp plant is tall, thin, and kind of stocky. But our plant is called a PCR hemp plant, so it’s phytocannabinoid-rich: very high in CBD, low in THC, it is a proprietary blend that has been perfected over the last ten years.
CBD comes from the plant and is good for a number of things. We have what are called endocannabinoid receptors in our body, so when you take a CBD [product], we have the receptors to receive what we need whether it’s for your immune system, anti-nausea, inflammation, pain. You said it’s not psychoactive in your introduction, but CBD actually is psychoactive; it’s not psychotropic. It does work with the neurotransmitters; it does affect your mood, it does help with anxiety and depression.

NJ: What is your background with CBD/cannabis and what led you to open this shop?
JS: I don’t have a background in this. I have always been a holistic person interested in a natural approach to health. My husband has been in the health industry for 28 years.
What happened was I used CBD for the first time this spring to help me sleep, and the first night I took it I slept through the night, which for me was crazy. … I would fall asleep but then I would wake up a couple hours later and then be up for 3 hours. … At the time my oldest son was looking for something, he came to visit us, he was looking for a new business. He’s been in the online marketing business for 13 years … and he came to visit us in Florida and I was having a hard time sleeping. I had just come back from a trip to Africa; I was gone for three weeks; I had injured my shoulder; I was a mess and he said, “have you tried CBD?” He had started investigating the industry. So we went to a shop in Florida, got some CBD, and the rest is history, really. From that experience my oldest son Jared started talking to my husband about going into business.
My husband is busy; he didn’t want to do anything with another business. … so we started investigating manufacturers, doing our own market research, and came up with the manufacturer that we feel is the best in the industry right now for a full spectrum, organic, THC-free product. … The manufacturing facility is in Colorado Springs and their fields are in La Junta.

NJ: Many people in the medical cannabis world advocate for a holistic cannabis treatment, combining THC with CBD. What is your view on that?
JS: I honestly don’t know, as far as what the THC is good for, besides getting high. I know there’s good properties in that plant, but the CBD is good for a number of things like I mentioned.
We won’t ever have THC in our products, and I don’t think you need it. … we get the entourage effect with our CBD and our terpenes. So I won’t carry the THC products; I do want to target children, those who might have drug tests and wouldn’t want THC.

NJ: What are some of the main sources that inform your approach here?
JS: I wouldn’t say just one thing; we’ve been reading non-stop from the time we [started] researching. … When you’re reading stuff—and we were brand new to this industry—you’re having conflicting stories from one person, somebody else, it’s kind of like you have to filter out all this stuff. I feel like we’ve gotten more information from our own chief scientist on our product and how our product works, than anywhere else. There wasn’t one source.

NJ: How did you locate your grower and manufacturer, and how do you ensure that your products are environmentally responsible?
JS: We did a lot of research. When we started in the spring researching who does this, we collaborated with a friend who already had 2 years’ experience researching these companies. … we found the company that met the criteria—organic, full spectrum, no THC—for us. And I’ve been down there. I’ve been to the farms. I’ve seen their practices. I guess there’s a trust level. I haven’t seen lab reports on them being organic like I have [to ensure] there’s no THC in there, but I trust them.

NJ: What in your experience are some of the most common misconceptions about CBD?
JS: The biggest one is “am I gonna get high?” Can I drive? Even just giving a little sample of 4 milligram CBD, people ask “am I gonna be able to drive?”

NJ: How do you combat those misconceptions?
JS: Mostly everyone who comes in, there’s an education process. I’m gonna work on some videos that we’ll have on the website that will educate, [about CBD] and also just [about] each of our products and how they’re used. But you definitely have to educate.

NJ: What are people coming in here asking for?

JS: Relief from pain, relief from inflammation, a lot of arthritis, diabetes, neuropathy, anxiety is a big one – probably anxiety and sleep are the top two. Some people come in and they’ve used CBD, they’ve used THC before, some haven’t. I would say sleep and anxiety are the two. This week … one guy came in for his wife who has RA (rheumatoid arthritis), and she’s actually taking the 25 milligrams (CBD) with curcumin in it, which is known for anti-inflammation. I had another guy come in for his wife who has cancer, this is I think his third time, and it’s just helping her through the treatment process.

NJ: How specifically did you want to differentiate your products from others out there?
JS: Our manufacturer was a big one for us—organic, full-spectrum, no THC. I feel like our branding is classy, and we wanted a classy look. A lot of stuff out there isn’t, and that’s fine, but we wanted to be set apart.
We’re working on a face line, a face cream. I don’t look at it as cosmetic, but it’s an eye cream, a day and night cream, and a face serum.
… We’re also working on a vape. We’ll be the only vape that is organic, full-spectrum, THC-free. … For anxiety or pain management, that’s instant. That’s the number one way to receive your CBD, so I feel like that’s going to set us apart. 

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