CBD is a growing industry in 2019, due to provisions in the 2018 Farm Bill that legalize commercial hemp farming.
Now everyone, from major retailers to the recreational and medical cannabis industry is jumping on the bandwagon.
It’s getting harder to separate fact from fiction with all the marketing and fake news out there. So, we started reaching out to interview CBD company executives and find out who really knows their industry.
Brody Shemansky, CEO of HARA isn’t your typical CBD salesman.
He’s a former college gymnast and current fitness guru who promotes CBD as a health supplement he himself uses alongside other nutritional supplements.
We caught up with Brody to discuss his unique perspective on the industry.
You use CBD personally. This isn’t just a product you sell, but something you truly believe in. Can you tell me a little more about your experiences with CBD?
B: Sarah and I were both athletes are the University of Iowa. She played Field Hockey and I was an all-around Gymnast.
We were both 1st team all-big ten athletes, and we graduated in 2013.
I realized I was having issues with my lymph node in my right armpit during our move from Iowa to Californian in 2014.
I spent about a month trying to convince doctors that there was something wrong with me. In that time I had been to the doctors 12 times, 3 emergency room visits, and several urgent care visits but every doctor told me I looked so healthy that nothing could be wrong with me.
After antibiotics that caused a seriously intense drug-induced fever, I told doctors that they would need to take a biopsy to look for abnormal cells.
Shortly thereafter I was diagnosed with Nonhogkinst large B cell lymphoma.
I started an intense Chemotherapy immediately, and I started using CBD 2 months in to help with nausea.
After finishing treatment in 2015, I started exploring ways I could help people avoid serious illness.
I enrolled in school at the University of Santa Clara for my MBA late 2017, and we began developing Hara December of 2017 and launched the brand April 6th, 2018.
And this isn’t just a CBD play to you. Hara is more of a lifestyle brand that promotes the type of healthy lifestyle you lived in your recovery. Tell me a little more about what preventative maintenance you do to keep your body healthy.
For starters I workout almost every day. It is important to me that I keep my body functioning properly. Working out is a small part of staying healthy.
The biggest piece is what you put in your body. I make sure that all of my food is organic, I stay away from red meat, I work to eat a pescetarian diet most of the time, and I supplement my diet with vitamins.
I have found how important CBD and other cannabinoids are to health, recovery, and my overall wellbeing. I also take CBD and other cannabinoids daily. I have been involved in the fitness industry for my whole life.
Before my time as a bodybuilder, I was a division 1 gymnast. Spending my life playing sports at a high level I have become extremely in tune with my body.
I notice the difference I experience when I supplement CBD consistently. I am more focused, recover quicker, sleep better, and maintain a clear head during the day.
Do you find that CBD improves your workouts? In what ways?
I absolutely do. CBD definitely helps my joints. I notice that my joins feel more resilient when I am using CBD. I used to have consistent pain in my left shoulder and right elbow.
Asymmetrical pain in joins at a different part of the body is pretty typical. The body is a chain. Often times the injury to a right ankle will cause pain in the left hip at some point.
I was a health and human physiology major in undergraduate so I studied the human body, illness, and pain quite a bit. Anyway, I don't experience pain in either now that I am taking CBD consistently.
I had these lingering pains throughout my college career. These were chronic injuries that just started to fade when I started my CBD use.
I also notice I maintain my musculature is better when I am taking CBD.
I used to get consistent blood tests after chemo and during my bodybuilding career. I noticed my testosterone levels, my lipid levels, and a few other metrics were always better when I was taking CBD.
I could also see it in my physical shape. I stay more full and lean when taking CBD.
Testosterone balance and cortisol play a massive roll in aesthetic appearance and performance.
Finally, I sleep better which creates a noticeable improvement in my recovery time and my strength.
That’s actually a great point. And you obviously worked out on a very high level. The Iowa Hawkeyes are a Division I NCAA school, and you’re competing with Olympic and career hopefuls. This is the upper echelon of sports – do you think CBD should be considered a performance-enhancing drug?
Absolutely not! CBD is a preventative health compound. I won't call it a supplement because we are not yet there as a society.
Of course, CBD helps improve physical performance. It helps the body stay closer to homeostasis.
When things work better internally, things will also work better externally. Staying as healthy as possible is not an unfair advantage.
I wish I knew more about CBD and health during my college career. My diet and supplementation were horrible back then.
I was studying pre-med but had absolutely no concept of health. I think I had one course in human health and all we discussed is how vitamins affect the body.
We didn't cover anything related to preventative health. It wasn't until I graduated and was diagnosed with exposure-based cancer that I began to question what was going into my body.
The fear that this exposure could come about again drove me to learn as much as I could about prevention. It led me to CBD and cannabis. I am extremely grateful because I was given the opportunity to wake up.
Explain what full-spectrum CBD is. A lot of people are under the impression there are only two compounds in the cannabis plant: THC and CBD, but in fact, there are over 110 known cannabinoids, along with an array of terpenes of flavonoids. Why is full-spectrum CBD so important?
Full-spectrum CBD is so important because the compounds in cannabis work together in the human system to produce what is being called the entourage effect.
Full-spectrum means that it contains the compounds that are naturally found in hemp. A single compound extracted from the plant, such as CBD, can have fabulous effects but it does not have its full effect without other cannabinoids like CBN, CBG, CBC, and many others.
These other compounds not only help CBD does great things for the body but they also interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) which is involved in regulating pain, inflammation, and nervous system health.
CBD is currently the most popular component with our limited research because it has been observed to have the broadest effect on the system.
Having broad effect does not imply how intense its effects are for any given ailment and we have discovered that CBG and CBN are also very important compounds.
The compounds in hemp are transmitters that interact with the ECS in the body and the ECS has been found to play a large roll in proper regulation of the body systems.
Do you have any plans to create a CBD energy shot or some kind of CBD/Creatine blend to further penetrate that market?
Yes, we absolutely do. My intention behind creating this company was to give people access to a plant that has drastically helped my personal health.
It is a mission of mine to help as many people as possible.
I got sick in my earlier years because I had no idea what I was doing in regards to health and wellbeing.
If I had been turned on to something that was cool and health-conscious at a younger age than I may not have experienced the illness that I did.
We intend to develop as many products as we can with natural ingredients that have the power to serve its users.
I am also extremely keen on human performance and human optimization. A CBD wellness energy shot falls right into this line of thought.
We are currently working on several unique formulations that we will be bringing to the market come next year.
If possible, I would also like to one day deliver a wellness shot that includes juiced cannabis leaves.
If you have never read any information on juicing cannabis and its benefits, please give it a google search.
Where do you see the CBD industry going after the 2020 election? Several states are already pushing cannabis decriminalization measures forward, and the state of Texas recently stopped arrests for carrying small amounts of marijuana because it’s too difficult to distinguish from hemp. Really that’s only a legal distinction, as biologically they’re the same cannabis plant. But how do you see this all going now that CBD is essentially mainstream?
That's a great question, and it is really hard to say. As always, I stay positive and hope that we can make both hemp and cannabis mainstream so that we can do more research, produce more green products, and improve the health of the people and the planet.
The positive reform does not come without resistance.
Just yesterday the Californa bill, Hemp in California, that was anticipated to pass last month was put on hold till 2020.
This bill would permit the use of hemp in food, beverages, and cosmetics. It really looks like we are all moving in the right direction, but this movement is slow and requires resources.
We must all do our part to help this industry move along.
The public has previously been fed miss information about cannabis and hemp for many different reasons that I need not go into at the moment.
Now that the public has begun to self-educate on the value of this plant, we have seen a great deal of progress.
The people hold the power. We must keep pushing and keep educating to ensure that the full benefits that this plant is realized.
Cannabis can do so much to serve the planet and its people and it is certainly our duty to keep pushing for reform. We are doing a great job and I hope we don't let up.