by Andrea C. Nakaya
CBD has become incredibly popular in the last few years. It seems like consumers can’t get enough of it in tinctures, gummies, topicals, and all of the other CBD creations that seem to pop up daily. The industry is now worth billions of dollars in the United States alone, and has millions of devoted customers.
Recently, however, some people have begun to realize that CBD is not the only beneficial compound in the cannabis plant, and they are starting to understand that by focusing on CBD alone, they are actually missing out on some other incredible wellness benefits. If you’re one of those people who is looking for something more than just CBD, The Raw Botanics Co. might be able to help. In addition to CBD, its elevated wellness products also include other cannabinoids and custom terpenes, as well as functional mushrooms and other botanical adaptogens. By combining all of these powerful plant ingredients, Raw Botanics aims to give you some of that power in a form that is tailored to your specific wellness needs.
What Are Cannabinoids, Terpenes, and Adaptogens?
While CBD has attracted a lot of attention for its potential health benefits, it’s important to know that CBD isn’t the only good thing in the cannabis plant. Cannabis contains a large group of chemical compounds called cannabinoids. CBD (cannabidiol) is one. Another well-known cannabinoid is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the chemical that makes you feel high when you smoke or ingest marijuana. However, while THC and CBD get a lot of attention, there are actually more than a hundred different cannabinoids in cannabis, and many of them are believed to also have significant health benefits. For instance, there is evidence that CBN (cannabinol) helps with sleep and inflammation. CBC (cannabichromene) is believed to help with relaxation and act as an anti-depressant, and CBG (cannabigerol) is thought to help with pain relief.
Cannabis contains other types of beneficial compounds too. Terpenes are oily molecules that help give the plant its aroma and flavor. For example, a terpene called limonene can create a citrus aroma. Terpenes don’t just smell good though. They are also thought to have a wide variety of different health benefits. For example, a terpene called alpha-pinene is believed to help improve memory, and beta-pinene to increase alertness and cognitive function. Other plants contain terpenes too, including various herbs.
And then there are adaptogens. Adaptogens are a class of plants that are believed to improve your health by helping your body deal with different types of stress. For example, ashwagandha is an adaptogen that comes from an evergreen shrub found in parts of Asia and Africa. It is thought to help with aging and anxiety. Some functional mushrooms are adaptogens too. Functional mushrooms get their name from the fact that in addition to merely providing nutrition, they are believed to have health benefits. Lion's Mane is a functional mushroom that is thought to help with brain function.
The Power of Plants
The Raw Botanics Co. takes advantage of all these powerful natural medicines contained in plants, and uses them to formulate products customized for all kinds of specific wellness needs such as reducing stress, improving energy, and enhancing immunity. Founders Les Kollegian and Brendan Smith both came to understand the importance of natural wellness and the healing power of hemp and other plant medicines after traumatic experiences in their own lives. Kollegian battled cancer twice, and Smith struggled with PTSD after being randomly stabbed in the chest as a college freshman. Says Smith, “I was lucky to survive but it changed my life forever. Many years after this horrific experience I still suffer from PTSD.” (Read Smith’s story here.) Smith’s wife Lesli faced her own health challenge; dealing with severe anxiety after the birth of their second child.
Smith explains that in facing all of these challenges, he and Kollegian knew that they needed the healing power of hemp, but also realized that the products out there were not quite right for them. For instance, he says, “I started to experiment with CBD at this time to help me sleep and I quickly learned that most CBD companies use melatonin mixed in with the CBD oil. Melatonin is not good for people with PTSD because it increases nightmares and has other side effects. Melatonin in supplements is also a synthetic chemical that is produced in a lab, and I did not want to take anything that was not natural.” Instead, Smith realized, “We had to create our own product.”
As they worked to create a better CBD product, both Kollegian and Smith knew that it had to be made of all-natural ingredients. Smith explains, “I always attempt to solve health issues or gain performance using natural plant-based products first and avoid pharmaceuticals at all costs.” He and Kollegian started with a product that would help with sleep. He says, “I looked at everything on the market and all had something in it that I would not want to consume, usually melatonin, sugar or artificial sweeteners.” That sleep aid, and all the products that followed, have taken many hours of work. Smith states, “We did a ton of research to get to where we are at. In fact, we spent a year building and testing before we launched our products.” They also work closely with other experts in creating their products. He says, “Today the ideas for the products come from both myself and Les. We then consult with our lab and farming partners for the most effective product ingredients. Every product we make has been formulated by a professional lab that is overseen by a medical doctor.”
The Enhanced Entourage Effect
In creating products for The Raw Botanics Co., Smith and Kollegian combine multiple plant ingredients in an effort to give consumers wellness benefits that can’t be had with one ingredient alone. Not only do multiple ingredients offer multiple potential benefits, but there is a lot of evidence that many plant ingredients can be much more powerful when they are mixed together in the right way. The idea that the various compounds in the cannabis plant work better in combination—as they are naturally found in the plant—rather than in isolation, is something known as the entourage effect. Full spectrum hemp products are popular because they believed to create this entourage effect.
However, says Smith, “The entourage effect is not exclusive to hemp.” He and Kollegian maintain that the entourage effect doesn’t just come from full-spectrum hemp products, but can actually be created through a custom blend of cannabinoids, terpenes, and adaptogens. This is something they strive to do in their products, and they call it the enhanced entourage effect. Smith gives an example: “Our sleep aid product called REST uses isolated CBN with has sedative properties, we then add sedative terpenes, functional mushrooms and ashwagandha. All of these compounds have the same goal to aid with sleep as the main purpose. All our products follow this same formula. So, it’s a benefit based on all natural formulas.”
Quality and Purity
The Raw Botanics Co. also does its best to make products that free from any artificial ingredients or pollutants that could be harmful to the body or the environment. All of their products are made in the United States, and are organic whenever possible. According to Smith, “Our hemp is grown in Kentucky, our terpenes come from North Carolina. Our mushrooms are grown on a family-run farm in upstate New York that grows mushrooms organically outdoors in a natural woodland environment.” He says, “We are dedicated to clean and effective ingredients which is why our products contain zero fillers, no myceliated grain, and no unnatural additives—giving you a completely pure and organic hemp and mushroom superfood supplement.” Not only that, but products are tested twice—by two separate third-party labs—for quality, consistency, and purity. Certificates of analysis are available on the company website.
Smith and Kollegian believe that their approach to wellness sets them apart from the other CBD companies out there. They explain that many other companies are essentially selling the same product, which is the CBD being created by large manufacturing companies. “Most companies do not have custom formulas; they just buy what product manufactures sell,” says Smith, “So there is very little difference between the thousands of companies selling hemp products online or in retail.” In contrast, he says, the custom formulas created by The Raw Botanics Co. are very different.
The Raw Botanics Co. also stands out for its commitment to creating strong community relationships, and for giving back to the community. Smith says, “We believe as global citizens we need to do what we can to improve the world even if it’s a small gesture we are committed to it.” The company donates 1 percent of its annual revenue, and also a 2 percent founders match to a number of different nonprofit charities. According to Smith, giving back not only helps the community, but it actually helps The Raw Botanics Co. create better products. He says, “As serial entrepreneurs Les and I and understand great companies require more than passionate businesspeople, they require being in tune with the consumers who use our products. We feel there is no better way to be in tune with people than helping the community.”
Always Striving to Be Better
So what drives Smith and Kollegian as innovators in the CBD space? Kollegian explains that it comes down to the simple desire to make the best natural products that they can. He says, “What drives us both is being the best version of ourselves in every way. The opportunity to improve every day spiritually, physically, and mentally using natural resources and products is a passion that brought us together as friends and continues to this day.”