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March 5, 2021 ADVERTISE

Julie Aitcheson, Author at Hemp Market Report

Julie AitchesonJulie AitchesonJanuary 12, 2021


When Mike and Sarah, the brother and sister team behind CBD company Creative Bath Design’s mother was recovering from cancer and struggling with chronic pain, anxiety, and severe neuropathy, the siblings swung into action. Drawing on over a decade’s worth of experience in the CBD industry and a passion for alternative medicine, the two put their heads together to develop a remedy that would address acute symptoms as well as overall wellness. 

Observing how nothing brought their mother ease like a hot bath and a good rest, the two partnered with sculptor Robert Maya to create a custom leaf mold for the bath bomb that would become their flagship “Soak and Toke”. Each leaf-shaped bomb (infused with organic essential oils as well as 350 mg of CBD isolate and 25 mg of CBG isolate), also contains a pre-rolled CBD joint inside to be enjoyed in or out of a relaxing bath.

At the end of my first and hopefully last Covid holiday season, nothing sounded better to me than a long, quiet soak in the tub. With election news still stirring the pot, cases spiking, temperatures dropping, and the ever-present conundrum of how to celebrate friends and family without, um, friends and family, I was more than ready to give Creative Bath Design’s leaf-shaped bath bomb a try. 

 The bomb itself was about the size of my hand, and I watched the fizzing bath water closely to see the first signs of the promised CBD pre-roll as it melted away. A pleasant blend of floral and citrus notes scented the rising steam as the water-tight tube poked out of the shrinking leaf at last. I climbed into the tub and let the remaining fizz of the bath bomb peter out. Within ten minutes of soaking, the persistent pulsing headache that had taken up a three day residence between my eyes began to ease. I lit the pre-roll with a cute little match cleverly positioned on the inside of the lid of the tube in which it came. The smoke was smooth and clean, with no accompanying sharpness or burning sensation on the inhale– one of the smoother smokes I’ve tried in fact, which fit perfectly with the purifying and relaxing ritual of bath time. The effect was gentle and a perfect prelude to a sweet night’s rest after a holiday season of too many leftover turkey sandwiches, a retail hangover, and chronic Zoom fatigue. 

$24 for one pre-roll-bearing 7 ounce bomb makes this a special occasion self-care treat for me rather than a daily or even weekly ritual, though given the advertised potency and one-two punch of soak and toke, there is no doubt that it is worth every cent.

Julie AitchesonJulie AitchesonSeptember 16, 2020


VCC Brands, leading manufacturer and distributor of a range of cannabis-infused products out of California, launched Subtle Tea in 2010, and with it a line of full-spectrum beverages intended to refresh the senses while balancing the body via the endocannabinoid system. Their CBD-only line is cold brewed with 25mg of broad spectrum CBD per bottle, all natural ingredients, and just a hint of sweetness from plant-based, keto-friendly stevia. Subtle Tea is crafted to appeal to health-conscious consumers with a predilection for creative thirst-quenching.

I recently sampled Subtle Tea’s Jasmine Green Tea with Lychee (CBD only), though it was a hard choice between that and the White Peach Tea with Cardamom and Ginger White Tea with Fuji Apple. I immediately loved the look of the bottle, with its appropriately subtle label graphics and simple design, choosing to drink it over ice on an especially steamy mid-Atlantic summer day.

As for the beverage itself, I’ll start by saying that I am fairly particular when it comes to bottled teas and tend to avoid them, as it is difficult to find one that is not heavily sweetened, and those that are can be too bitter for my taste. Green tea in particular requires precise steeping in order to avoid a level of bitterness that must then be offset by excessive sweeteners, not to mention what happens to all of those fragile antioxidants. Jasmine green tea can be especially hard to do well, as the jasmine overtones are delicate and easily overwhelmed by over-steeping.

The light color of the tea was immediately reassuring, suggesting that the green tea had not been left to brew too long. An initial sip proved this to be the case. The green tea was mild and smooth and the jasmine and lychee played well together for a flavor that was bright and floral without being overly fruity. The hint of sweetness was pleasant and not at all overpowering, and the caffeine/CBD combination put me in a calm but alert state that kept me on task throughout my day without sabotaging a good night’s sleep. If the other flavors in Subtle Tea’s THC and THC/CBD blends yield similar results, craft beverage drinkers looking for a healthy pick-me-up will be well-pleased.

Julie AitchesonJulie AitchesonSeptember 14, 2020


Rachel Rapinoe, Kendra Freeman, and Brett Schwager’s CBD brand Mendi takes self-care for athletes to the next level with its line of full-spectrum and THC-free CBD products. Mendi recruits from a deep bench of professional athletes to share their personal stories of enhanced recovery and improved performance, using Mendi’s offerings as a key part of their wellness regimens.

Website profiles detailing the product preferences of sports luminaries like Megan Rapinoe, Sue Bird, and Merritt Mathias entice everyone from weekend warriors to professional athletes to reap the benefits of Mendi’s formulations. Products are available in either the “Core” or “Base” line categories, with Core formulations containing less than .3% THC and the Base line no THC at all for those subject to stringent drug testing.

After sampling Mendi’s full spectrum gummies and Lemon Balm & Rose Bath Salt, I can confidently say that Mendi is getting a lot of things right on both counts, at least according to my melty, blissed-out muscles. A tough week of home renovations put these products to the test, and they passed with flying colors.

With most other gummies, I typically need at least two (one, and then a follow-up dose an hour or so later) to unwind and unclench from the day’s exertions, but with Mendi’s gummies, one did the trick. I was experiencing naggingly achy shoulders and lower back pain from painting, and the next day I woke up pain-free. Flavored with concentrated fruit juices, I didn’t feel like a kid sneaking handfuls of Lucky Charms before bed, and the sugar content didn’t send me into the stratosphere.

I saved the bath salts for when the last coat of paint had dried, the final trim nailed into place, and the last drifts of drywall dust swept away. Lemon balm and rose geranium (not rose, as the front of the pouch, suggests- the two are different plants) share a therapeutic mission of calming the nervous system and providing pain relief. The scent of this bath salt is pure heaven, and in combination with the Epsom salt I added (as recommended) and the formulation’s own salt blend would have been enough to turn my knots to mush. But the addition of full-spectrum CBD seemed to prolong the effects of the soak well into the following day. While I’m far from a professional athlete, I am an active person who demands a lot from her body, and I found Mendi’s gummies and bath salts to be a perfect way to give back and restore myself for the next hurdle on the home front.


Julie AitchesonJulie AitchesonSeptember 9, 2020


California-based TruFlora Herbal Spliffs sources hand-harvested ingredients from small farms dedicated to “sustainable, mindful horticulture” in order to realize TruFlora’s founding vision of  sparking “a plant-human cosmic connection.” This pitch is reinforced by their gold-embossed black packaging adorned by colorful plant renderings, which bear filtered roll-ups in corked plastic tubes. TruFlora cannabis is also “sun grown and dry framed”, which means that the plants are raised outside of grow houses using no excess water, in addition to being harvested according to the phases of the moon.

 Co-founders Erica Kay and Carlos De La Torre, who also own Los Angeles dispensary Cornerstone Wellness and bring over 20 years of experience to their latest venture, work to bring people and plants together through botanically-inspired cannabis products. Kay and De La Torre expand their efforts into the realms of empowered education, community outreach, and policy change in order to further their mission to build a “conscious cannabis business”.

I sampled TruFlora’s “Feel Good” and “Wings” pre-rolls, and found if not what I would call a “cosmic connection”, then at least some distinctly pleasurable effects. The “Feel Good” blend contains 60mg of THC and 113.68mg of CBD in addition to Wanderlust Cannabis (85%) and “Vizion Herbal Blend” (15%), which includes organic Gingko Biloba, Gotu Kola, Damiana, Mate, Calamus, Lobelia, and Skullcap. These are some of my favorite herbs to work with and Lobelia is notable for being beneficial for the lungs, though it never would have occurred to me to smoke Mate. The packaging promises a “euphoric and vibrant” experience, which I didn’t quite achieve, but I did experience a clear-headed calm that was most welcome and seemed to contribute to more restful sleep that evening. 

“Wings”, billed as a “creative and engaging” smoking experience, contains 176.4mg of THC, 1mg of CBD from Wanderlust cannabis, and a “KinNikNik Herbal Blend”(15%), which is made up of Uva Ursi, Passionflower, Motherwort, Damiana, Red Raspberry Leaf, and Lobelia. I enjoyed the taste of this one  and the presence of Motherwort, which is a supreme herb for anxiety. Passionflower has a deep tranquilizing effect on me, which did not lend itself to feeling “creative and engaging”, though the blend did seem to boost me over the kind of negative self-talk that can sometimes hinder my creativity.

 Overall, I rate TruFlora’s herbal spliffs high for taste, quality, and experience, but no herb is one-size-fits all and will affect every individual differently. Not everyone who smokes TruFlora’s pre-rolls will find themselves in a “cosmic connection” with the plant world, but they will have a thoroughly enjoyable smoke balanced by some of nature’s most effective botanical allies. 

Julie AitchesonJulie AitchesonAugust 19, 2020


As an herbalist, cannabis reporter, and product reviewer, I thought I’d seen in it all in CBD delivery systems, until news of Mondo CBD’s Edible Hemp Powder found its way into my inbox. Described as a “powdered tincture” guaranteed to “disappear on your tongue like a sweet cloud”, my order of CBD powder arrived in an artful white box festooned with airborne rainbow-hued hemp leaves. Inside, I found a small glass jar containing 13 grams of powder, a small white scoop, and lip balm-sized travel tin. In addition to 150 mg of broad-spectrum CBD and 300 mg of Theanine (an amino acid found in green tea which is believed to calm anxiety and promote relaxation) per jar, I would also be getting non-GMO tapioca starch, organic cacao butter, and organic coconut oil in each dose, which helped explain the almost pasty quality of the powder. 

A quick sprinkle of Mondo’s Edible Hemp Powder on my tongue proved that the formulation was, indeed, fine enough to dissolve on contact, despite its pasty texture and the fact that it stayed clumpy when added to room temperature or cold water. There is a postscript on the note included in the box cautioning that the powder’s texture might change due to temperature, and that chilling it in the fridge for thirty minutes then mixing it with a fork will achieve a more dust-like texture. The taste was light and slightly sweet, without too much of a weedy accent. I tried it with my nightly cup of tea, though after a few attempts to get it to fully dissolve, I simply dropped it in a bit of water and swallowed it like a shot. Keeping it in the fridge made the powder dissolve much easier in liquid of various temperatures.

According to the verbiage on Mondo’s website, the inclusion of tapioca starch increases the absorption of the powder, facilitating a relaxing effect that can be felt within five minutes. For me, this was indeed the case. In fact, I had to make sure I got my nightly dose of reading in before I took the powder, as my eyelids were drooping by the five minute mark. I did try the powder in a smoothie, and at lunch in some soup. The powder blended well enough into both after refrigeration, but on both occasions I felt a bit too relaxed for my preferred daytime tempo. Still, as an adjunct to my winding down ritual I found this latest innovation in CBD supplements easy to use, and a welcome change from gulping capsules or the standard tinctures. 


Julie AitchesonJulie AitchesonJuly 20, 2020


After suffering for years with acute eczema (and the bullying that accompanied it, as her troubled skin was stigmatized with behind-the-hand whispers of “look at her body”), HERBODY Cosmetics co-founder and Chief Science Officer Hardip Kalsi were inspired to create a line of skincare products to celebrate “her body” and empower women to embrace their unique beauty. 

HerBody Cosmetics draws from the healing and beauty traditions of North America, Africa, and India, incorporating sustainably grown and harvested CBD into vegan, all-natural products that Kalsi refers to as “triple bottom line skincare”. HerBody has attained the Envirocann Certification for its products, which ensures that Best Management Practices are used to grow and process cannabis ensuring environmental stewardship and compliance to local and state regulations. Envirocann also certifies hemp CBD products as well in addition to cannabis.

 I sampled the Camellia Rose CBD Face Cream, with 200mg of CBD per jar. The texture is silky if a bit waxy, and the camellia rose scent fresh and wears well. I applied the cream at night and also in the morning under sunscreen. Even in the mid-Atlantic summer humidity, my skin tends towards dry, likely because I am over forty and turn on the air conditioning at night in order to sleep restfully. The cream did not absorb fully into my skin upon initial application, possibly because it contains shea butter which works great on my body but can be too heavy for my face. Still, by the time I was ready to lay my head on the pillow, my skin felt moisturized yet not greasy. The next morning, I noticed some tightness and unresolved dryness around my mouth and eyes though I’d slathered on the cream liberally, which indicates that the cream did not provide an adequate protective barrier for a seven-hour snooze.

 I did find that HerBody’s Camellia Rose face cream wore well under my daily sunscreen (an all-natural, mineral-based formula that can also exacerbate dryness if I don’t moisturize first) despite not being quite up to the task of protecting my skin from the drying effects of air conditioning. Someone younger or with oilier skin may find it just the thing for their nightly skin regimen. Falling asleep with the lovely scent of camellia rose was a definite plus, and I only regret that my sunscreen covers up the fragrance. With HerBody’s clean ingredient pedigree and Envirocann Certification, I would certainly be interested in giving some of their other products a try (I’ve got my eye on the Coconut Rose CBD Face Cleanser), but will be sticking to daytime use when it comes to the divinely-scented Camellia Rose Face Cream. 


Julie AitchesonJulie AitchesonJune 29, 2020


Prior to giving Wana Brands’ Wana Wellness Quick line a test drive, I had the opportunity to speak with Mike Hennessy, Wana Brands Director of Innovation, and Dr. Christopher Shade, CEO of Quicksilver Scientific on their collaboration to bring this cost-effective, maximally potent, and botanically-enhanced CBD tincture to market. Wana Brands’ Quick line of CBD tinctures uses advanced nanoemulsion technology that dramatically enhances absorption and bioavailability, and botanical extracts selected to act as “assistants” to specific cannabinoids in an entourage effect, to offer what Hennessy and Shade believe put their CBD tinctures at the front of the pack.

Using botanical extracts to enhance the therapeutic effects of CBD and other cannabinoids is not an innovation exclusive to Wana Brands or Quicksilver, but Dr. Shade is eager to point out that Quicksilver Scientific is the market leader in developing enhanced nanoemulsified products whose efficacy is backed by data and in-house measuring devices that few if any other companies possess.  “Some companies use “nano” as a buzzword but are not getting the particles small enough,” Mike Hennessy confirms. “One hundred nanometers is the established definition, but almost no one has the ability to measure that apart from us.”

Advanced Nanoemulsion

According to Dr. Shade, Quicksilver’s mastery of advanced nanoemulsion effectively accomplishes what so many other products merely pay lip service to, in the form of a tincture whose therapeutic effect can be felt within mere minutes of ingestion with at least six times the bioavailability of other CBD formulas. “And by including botanical extracts with similar effects to the strains used,” he adds, “you increase the number of receptor sites in the body that can receive the effect.”

To better grasp the significance of “nanoemulsions” and “receptor sites”, I tried out the Wana Wellness “Relax” formula, which in addition to delivering 13mg of hemp and 10mg of CBD per bottle comes enhanced with 5-HTP, GABA, L-Theanine, skullcap, and rose essential oil for what Dr. Shade characterizes as a “purifying and calming effect.” 

The formula comes in a pump bottle, with each dose requiring four pumps. I found the delivery method a bit messy until I worked out that I needed to put the nozzle nearly in my mouth and depress the pump quickly and firmly. The taste was sweet verging on cloying, with a slight bitter aftertaste common to CBD tinctures. Though I’ve sampled dozens of formulations, this was my first experience with “advanced nanoemulsion technology”, and the difference was noticeable. I felt a pleasant lassitude within five minutes, with attendant muscle relaxation and a quieting of mental chatter. As I continued to use the product, the effects persisted, so much so that I began keeping it by my bed rather than on my kitchen counter, so quickly did the relaxation kick in.  

Quicksilver Scientifics and Wana Brands intend to continue developing out the union between cannabinoids and their botanical counterparts, which will include developing THC products for dispensaries. As far as this satisfied customer is concerned, that is welcome news indeed.

Julie AitchesonJulie AitchesonJune 18, 2020


CBD brand Elixinol’s claim of making “kind of amazing CBD products that work” is enticing without being truly hyperbolic—a claim that I recently investigated myself by sampling their “Stress Less” and “Body Comfort” capsules, as well as their “Daily Balance” tincture. 

Before trying the products from this Colorado-based company, I visited Elixinol’s website to learn a little bit more about them. In addition to an “Education” tab which led me to a helpful breakdown of FAQ’s with appealing graphics, the website specifies that their products are made from hemp grown within the USA, and that all partners are carefully vetted to meet Elixinol’s high standards of quality. Nothing groundbreaking there, but what is new is the growing trend towards pairing cannabinoids with botanical extracts in order to enhance targeted formulas. 

Elixinol’s “Stress Less” capsules contain 300mg of Ashwagandha, a root popular in Ayurveda for helping the body adapt and remain resilient under stress, and their “Body Comfort” capsules contain 275mg of Boswellia (the resin also called “frankincense”), which is a known anti-inflammatory. As someone with a fair amount of herbal training, I was excited to try these botanically-enhanced capsules and see if they produced noticeably different results from the 100% CBD products I’ve sampled. 

With the “Stress Less” formula, I did notice an enhanced capacity to maintain a sense of calm focus, and an ability to simply sit and enjoy a quiet moment rather than racing off to the next task. Falling asleep at night was also slightly less effortful. I exercise vigorously five or six times a week which can often lead to stiffness and soreness, especially after sedentary hours at my writing desk, so I was hopeful about the effects of the “Body Comfort” formula. While I can’t say that I noticed anything significantly different from the calm relaxation of the “Stress Less” formula (my neck pain persisted, as did the aches and pains when I hit the HIIT a little too hard), the overall sense of well-being was still most welcome.  

The “Daily Balance” tincture had a pleasant minty flavor and the light nuttiness of MCT oil that I prefer in my CBD extracts. At half a dropper (8mg) per recommended dose, I was able to take this one twice daily without fear that I would feel too sluggish or chilled out to tackle my to-do list. The effects were subtle beyond my ability to detect, but when paired with a dose of the capsules in the evening did seem to result in sounder, more restorative sleep. 

Overall I felt good about the ingredients and provenance of these products and happy with the results. At $54.99 per bottle of 60 capsules, which would last 30 days if taken per recommendations, the price point is a bit high for me to re-stock my medicine cabinet with this every month. I’d be more likely to pop for an ounce of tincture at $29.99, but with the capsules’ “botanical boost”, I’d say consumers are still getting their money’s worth.

Julie AitchesonJulie AitchesonApril 27, 2020


Canna River, a CBD company based in Thousand Oaks, California, is making a reputation for its focus on high-quality CBD products at the lowest possible price. Using lab-tested CBD made solely from hemp grown in the USA, Canna River offers tinctures, body lotion, balms, and pre-rolls, with more products currently in development. 

The CBD tincture I sampled was a 2.02 ounce bottle containing 5000 milligrams of CBD (85 milligrams per dose). The ingredients include organic MCT oil, full-spectrum hemp extract, and natural terpenes. “Flavor” (which the website further defines as “food-grade flavor extract”) and sucralose complete the ingredient list, but I am not clear on what value these add to the product, as it tastes much the same as other MCT-based oils I have tried that lack those additives. 

This is the highest potency CBD product I have sampled to date, and I was pleasantly surprised by the fast-acting effects and the reasonable price point at $100 per bottle. I am a historically bad sleeper and have tried everything from Tylenol PM to shamanic drumming tracks to self-medicate. I even participated in a sleep study at the University of Virginia that involved cognitive behavioral therapy and wearing a tracking device on my wrist. It worked for a while until I forgot all of the behaviors I learned and backslid into insomnia once again. 

I am fairly sensitive to herbs of all varieties and CBD in particular, so I made sure not to take Canna River’s 5000mg formula until I was safely tucked into bed with my overdue library book. I dosed myself with 85mg (or one dropperful), which I allowed to sit under my tongue for thirty seconds before swallowing as directed. Within twenty-five minutes, I found myself fighting to keep my eyes open before remembering that allowing them to close was the whole point. The next thing I knew, it was morning. I felt rested, and the chronic neck stiffness that I’ve been experiencing as the result of an overly enthusiastic foray into online Pilates classes was noticeably absent. 

I’ve continued to use Canna River at the same dose, with similar results. It does not hit me like a ton of bricks, despite the high potency, nor do I experience any sluggishness in the morning upon waking. I intend to continue enjoying Canna River CBD tincture down to the very last drop, as well as a better night’s rest than I’ve experienced since the Obama administration. 

Julie AitchesonJulie AitchesonApril 20, 2020


Company: Her Royal Hempress

Product: Absolute Glow Face Serum

Founder: Emma Spivey

Emma Spivey’s fondest childhood memories consist of the family matriarchs passing on their horticultural wisdom. Yearning to her roots, Spivey returned to Texas after close to a decade as an agency copywriter in NYC to learn plant medicine and herbalism firsthand. A new mom to an active toddler, Emma creates products that she trusts for her family, combining her passion for CBD and the botanicals she’s learned over the decades.


As a woman in her mid-forties who passed large chunks of her life near the equator (and equal portions sprawled on rooftops, marinated in tanning oil), I take my skincare regimen very seriously. My skin is combination tending towards dry, but I am not one of those dermatological divas who thinks nothing of slathering layers of toxic pharmaceuticals on her face to sip a few lingering drops from the fountain of youth. I like my skincare products clean, cost-effective, and multi-purpose when possible, but those who expound the virtues of facial serum (a lightweight moisturizer often applied under a heavier moisturizer, sunscreen, or make-up primer) are legion, so I was game to give Absolute Glow Face Serum a try.

Her Royal Hempress specializes in cannabidiol-infused skincare products made with small-batch blends of CBD and botanical ingredients. Their products are all paraben, sulfate, formaldehyde, artificial color, and petroleum-free, and Her Royal Hempress sources from only four hemp farms to ensure purity and potency. The company’s founder is momtrepreneur and herbalist Emma Spivey, who comes from a long line of gardeners and possesses a new mothers’ commitment to creating products that won’t compromise the health of her family or her consumers. A portion of the company’s proceeds goes towards preserving and creating wildflower habitat for butterflies and bees, which rounds out Her Royal Hempress’ profile as a boutique company with lofty, eco-conscious goals.

As for the serum, I found the texture a bit heavy and waxy upon initial application, but was pleased with the eventual absorption and added hydration before applying my go-to daily moisturizer. I did not care for the scent, which faintly recalled Play-Doh, but did see some improved clarity to my skin tone by the time I finished the 1 oz. bottle. This may be due to Vitamin C or hyaluronic acid listed as two of the products’ key ingredients. At $60 per ounce, Absolute Glow Face Serum reflects the cost and quality of its raw ingredients, but I may need to try another bottle before committing to a longer-term investment in this latest addition to the flourishing field of CBD skincare.



About Us

The Hemp Market Report will target news from the fast growing worlds of cannabidiol (CBD) and hemp. As a sister site to the Green Market Report, HMR will cover financial stories, but also take a look at lifestyle news as well. The Hemp Market Report will also publish sponsored content as we seek to expand our content offerings.


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