The ABCs of CBD: An Interview With CBD Producer Bonnie Hagen, Founder of Bright Energy Wellness
The ABCs of CBD: An Interview With CBD Producer Bonnie Hagen, Founder of Bright Energy Wellness
July 21, 2021
The past 18 months have left many of us anxious and uncertain, as well as stressed and strained, as we’ve navigated our health and well-being under very difficult circumstances. As a result, many have been in search of help for the pain, anxiety, and other sources of distress that have arisen. While previous posts in agebuzz have addressed the possibility of using medical marijuana or CBD products, the reality is many of us remain confused about the options. So, in an effort to bring clarity to this conversation, we’ve invited Bonnie Hagen, the founder of Bright Energy Wellness, a producer of high-quality CBD products, to educate agebuzz readers on everything A-Z about CBD products. Bonnie will also become our newest agebuzz Guest Blogger!
This interview was conducted by agebuzz Managing Editor Connie Zuckerman. We’ll be posting the interview in 2 parts- so be on the lookout next week for Part 2!
CZ: Bonnie, thank you for taking the time to provide info and advice to agebuzz readers about CBD. We’re excited to welcome you as a new agebuzz Guest Blogger! First, give us a sense of your background. How did you get involved with the production and sale of CBD products? How did you develop your expertise?
BH: Connie, it is a pleasure to speak with you and clarify many of the misperceptions in the CBD marketplace for the agebuzz audience.
As the founder and managing principal of an energy engineering firm, I have helped buildings get “healthy,” by helping them save energy, save money, and lower their carbon footprints.
When cannabis growing facilities became legal in New York state, I sought them out as clients, as they are notorious for having energy-intensive lighting and HVAC to help the plants grow better. In my desire to learn about my clients and their needs, I learned about the healing powers of the cannabis plant, or cannabidiol (CBD) specifically.
I wanted to try CBD for myself and my family, but the marketplace was confusing since the industry was relatively new, some companies were making outrageous claims, and product legality was in question. I wasn’t going to use just any ol’ product on myself or my family if I couldn’t be sure it was a safe product.
I brought all my building engineering experience to the table and applied it to “human engineering”. After all, the body is a machine, and when it is treated well, it works properly.
I spoke to growers, horticulturists, extractors, bottlers, marketers, and other industry experts across the country. I learned about all the characteristics that make for a CBD formulation that delivers real results. I created a formula based on my own personal values: clean ingredients, organically and sustainably grown, non-GMO, vegan, kosher, and without additives, fillers, or residual solvents from the extraction process. I had farmers create my custom formula and I bought more of my formula than my family needed, thinking that others might be experiencing the same confusion in the marketplace that I had, but didn’t have the time or know-how to do the research that I did. After inviting my friends over to talk about cannabis, I shared with them everything I learned and they all wanted to buy some of my extra bottles. I knew I was in business when the demand for my clean and effective products outpaced my supply.
I decided to launch my own brand of legal, high quality, phyto-cannabinoid rich, full spectrum hemp extract products with CBD, that are grown organically, without pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, or other contaminants. I believe in transparency, integrity, lawfulness, truth in advertising, and helping people to get healthy without getting high. All these values are the pillars upon which Bright Energy Wellness was formed. And now, it gives me great pleasure to help others find the CBD regimen that is best for them.
CZ: Now for some basics: What exactly is CBD? How does it differ from marijuana? What are the main uses of CBD? What ailments can it help or provide relief for?
BH: Both hemp and marijuana are plants bred from the Cannabis species, but they are genetically distinct and differ legally. They also differ in cultivation, chemical properties, and use. There are over 100 compounds, or cannabinoids, that have been identified in the hemp and marijuana plants, each with different properties and herbal effects. The two most famous cannabinoids are Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD).
While both THC and CBD can be found in both marijuana and hemp plants, it is important to know that marijuana is cultivated to yield high levels of its psychoactive ingredient, THC; and hemp is cultivated to produce high levels of its potent, anti-inflammatory ingredient, CBD.
CBD does not have any intoxicating properties and binds to receptors in our endocannabinoid system and immune system. CBD offers anti-inflammatory, neuro-protectant, and analgesic benefits which help to reduce or eliminate pain. Many people report that CBD helps them sleep better, as well as manage conditions like anxiety, depression, and PTSD. CBD that is grown and processed ethically is non-habit forming, is not intoxicating, and is considered generally safe for most people.
CZ: Have there been scientific research studies about CBD and its various properties and benefits? Is there a basic understanding of what CBD does to your body and how that might be beneficial?
BH: When it comes to research, few sources rival the Harvard Medical School. Back in 2018, the school posted a guide that spoke directly about the research on and evidence of CBD’s benefits, including showing its effectiveness for addressing conditions like anxiety, stress, PTSD, depression, and even insomnia. CBD is also useful in treating some of the most debilitating types of epilepsy.
In addition to Harvard Medical School, scientific research studies about CBD, its properties, and benefits abound. CBD works in the body thanks to what is called the human endocannabinoid system. This is a natural part of the body that was only discovered in the 1990s. While its entire function is not yet understood, researchers have found that the endocannabinoid system plays a role in many different functions, including appetite, mood, memory, and sleep.
There are three components to the endocannabinoid system – cannabinoid receptors, enzymes, and the cannabinoids themselves. The human body has cannabinoid receptors throughout it. Their job is to receive cannabinoids produced by the body (yes, believe it or not, your body does produce cannabinoids!). Enzymes are responsible for breaking down the cannabinoids, creating endocannabinoids, and making them usable by the body.
There are two types of cannabinoid receptors in the body: CB1 and CB2. Current research shows that CBD influences those receptors, perhaps improving performance, although the full function is not yet understood. CBD also affects other receptors in the body, including serotonin receptors, which is perhaps one way that CBD helps alleviate pain, inflammation, stress, and anxiety.
While we already know so much about CBD, there is still a lot more to learn and so the scientific research continues.
CZ: What are the risks or side-effects of using CBD?
BH: There are potential side effects with all natural supplements, and even some foods. For instance, grapefruit can interfere with some medications. There is some evidence that CBD may interact with some medications, as well. For a small group of people, CBD also raises liver enzymes. Some of the other side effects noticed include fatigue, changes in appetite, and diarrhea.
CBD is considered generally safe and works with your body’s endocannabinoid system to help provide relief from everything from insomnia to skin conditions and more. However, if you are currently taking prescription medications, consult your doctor before starting a CBD supplement.
CZ: Is using CBD legal in every state?
BH: It depends. There is just so much to talk about here. The 2018 Farm Bill changed federal policy regarding hemp, including the removal of hemp from the Controlled Substances Act and the consideration of hemp as an agricultural product. The bill legalized hemp under certain restrictions. But what does that mean?
The 2018 Farm Bill allows states and tribes to submit a plan and apply for primary regulatory authority over the production of hemp in their state or in their tribal territory. A state plan must include certain requirements, such as keeping track of land, testing methods, and disposal of plants or products that exceed the allowed THC concentration. So, CBD is not legal if it comes from overseas or from states that do not have approved plans. CBD is also not legal if it was grown on a farm that is not operating in compliance with the Federal Farm Bill, even if it was grown in a state with an approved plan. So, if your brother-in-law’s sister’s nephew’s best friend bought a plot of land and is growing hemp and selling hemp extract unless the farm is registered with the state and complies with the Federal Farm bill, it is not legal.
Also, notice that “hemp” is referenced in the Federal Farm Bill, not CBD. CBD has been designated a drug by the FDA. So, unless you are a doctor or pharmacist, it is not legal for you to buy or sell CBD. Hemp happens to contain CBD, just like flax seeds happen to contain CBD. Hemp and flax seeds are legal to buy and sell, but once someone who isn’t a doctor or pharmacist starts labeling their products CBD oil or CBD cream, they are operating illegally. So, when you go to buy your CBD products, make sure to look for a reputable company. Avoid bottles labeled CBD, and instead look for the products labeled hemp extract. As mentioned earlier, a full-spectrum hemp extract (not hemp seeds!) has CBD in it and is the most effective.
CZ: Do you need a physician’s prescription to buy CBD?
BH: As I mentioned before, CBD was designated a drug by the FDA. The CBD product approved by the FDA is a prescription oil called Epidiolex and is considered an effective anti-seizure medication to treat two types of epilepsy. If this is what you need, then you will need a physician’s prescription.
If you are interested in a hemp extract product (oil, tincture, gummy, cream, etc.) that has naturally occurring CBD, you do not need a physician’s prescription and you can buy this most anywhere.
CZ: Are there special dispensaries that sell CBD?
BH: Yes. You can buy hemp extract with CBD from dispensaries. You can also buy it in supermarkets, chiropractor’s offices, beauty supply stores, massage studios, pharmacies, sporting goods stores, and more. Many people buy their hemp extract with CBD online. No matter where you prefer to source your hemp extract with CBD, use the information I provided to ensure you are dealing with a reputable source and get a quality product.
CZ: Who are your typical customers?
BH: We have many customers who are healthy and want to remain healthy, so they take our hemp extract with CBD daily, like they take their multivitamins.
We also have customers who have specific health concerns. They may be in some sort of pain, whether physical and/or emotional, but not so disabled that they cannot function or require hospitalization or urgent care. They are definitely not the best versions of themselves and may be concerned about their conditions deteriorating. Many of our customers are not thrilled with the prospect of taking medication for their conditions as they know there are side effects that they do not want to deal with. They are seeking a solution from a trusted source, and know that traditional Western medicine is not the only answer for them. They believe that clean ingredients are best for the body, mind, and soul. Our customers are discerning and believe that good health is a necessity.
CZ: What is the most important thing readers should know and remember about purchasing and using CBD products?
BH: Your health is your wealth. Do not gamble with it.
CZ: Thank you so much for all of your insights and advice, Bonnie!
BH: These are great questions, Connie – and we really only scratched the surface! It is my pleasure to share with you and agebuzz!
Be on the lookout for Part 2 of our interview with Bonnie Hagen, to be published next week on the agebuzz website!