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Ask Annie: How Seniors May Benefit from CBD

There’s an ever-growing body of research that suggests cannabidiol (CBD) may have the potential to help people suffering from seizure disorders, anxiety, chronic pain and other ailments. Yet, even though the vast majority of states have legalized some form of medical cannabis, the stigma of prohibition still looms large—with older Americans in particular.

I get it: After nearly a lifetime of being told marijuana use makes you violent, addicted and insane, it’s understandable that many of our older friends and family members may regard the idea of cannabis as beneficial with suspicion. 

But, as always, the truth will set us free. Thankfully, reefer-madness myths are fading as they’re replaced with a better scientific understanding of cannabinoids and how they affect our bodies and brains. I’m convinced that seniors can benefit from education around cannabinoids such as CBD, and how they can support our health as we age. 

Here are three things I want seniors to know and understand—backed up by vetted links to reputable sources:

1) You have an endocannabinoid system, and you need to take care of it.

Every single human being has an endocannabinoid system (ECS), a.k.a. a complex network of receptors located in the brain, central nervous system and throughout the body. This unique system interacts with both endocannabinoids (produced within the body) and phytocannabinoids (produced by plants, primarily hemp and cannabis). 

The way the ECS functions was pinpointed fairly recently (in the 1990s), but scientists have discovered the ECS is involved in some of the body’s most important biological processes: from our immune response and reproductive function to our endocrine and nervous systems. Researchers have determined that the ECS may be key to maintaining homeostasis, or balance, in your body. 

In the same way we take care of our skeletal systems with a diet rich in calcium, or our muscular system by exercising and stretching, we need to attend to our endocannabinoid systems. Just as exercise and Omega 3s can help support your cardiovascular system, they can help support your ECS. Research suggests CBD stimulates the endocannabinoid system and has a role in managing inflammation and its associated pain sensations. 

Oh, and speaking of pain …

2) CBD is an option seniors are considering for chronic pain.  

The world’s most trusted scientific institutions, including the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, suggest that cannabis has pain-relieving properties. 

More than half of older Americans suffer from chronic pain and some of them are seeking out CBD as a possible solution to pain relief: In fact, a recent study by Remedy Review of 1,000 people ages 54 and up found that 9 percent of American seniors had tried CBD for health-related reasons. Also, of those who tried it, 61 percent reported a reduction in their pain symptoms. 

A recent study of 2,736 patients above age 65 aimed to evaluate the safety of medical cannabis in seniors. The authors concluded that “cannabis use may decrease the use of other prescription medicines, including opioids.” 

Unlike many prescription pain medications, it won’t get you high. In fact, it could potentially help you feel more calm and relaxed. Which brings me to my last point …

3) While CBD is non-intoxicating, it does interact with our brain.

Part of the Nelson family’s ethos is embracing the life well-lived. To do that, we need to care for both the machine (our bodies) and the software (our minds). I think CBD helps us do both. 

In addition to the physical challenges of aging, there’s no denying that aging can be stressful, too. In a recent 10-year-long study by the University of Manitoba of more than 200,000 Canadian seniors, one-third of them were diagnosed with a mood or anxiety disorder. 

And while research on how CBD impacts mood is still in the preliminary stages, there are some promising findings as it relates to anxiety and sleep. In a recent clinical study of CBD’s efficacy in 72 adults suffering from anxiety or poor sleep, 57 patients (nearly 80 percent) reported decreased anxiety—and sleep improved within the first month for 48 patients (66.7 percent). 

It’s important to keep in mind that no single study is conclusive. And CBD isn’t some magic wand that we can wave to solve every health issue. 

Mental and physical health are complex systems, with many contributing factors and moving parts—especially as we age. CBD is a tool in my health toolkit that I’m grateful to have as I get older, and I encourage people of all ages to do their own research on cannabinoids and the ECS. 

Learn more about Willie’s Remedy and catch up on other Ask Annie posts.

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Ask Annie: Why CBD and Caffeine?

Steaming cup of Willie's Remedy CBD coffee being poured into mug from French Press

Annie Nelson, the visionary behind Willie’s Remedy, is a longtime believer in the healing power of organic nutrition and the many benefits of the hemp plant. In this blog series, Annie shares what she has learned about plant-based wellness over the years, and how Willie’s Remedy products came to be. Here’s the backstory on Willie’s Remedy Whole Bean Coffee: 

Q: What inspired you to create a hemp-infused coffee? 

The first time I tried hemp-infused coffee, I absolutely loved it. It was made by a gourmet small-batch infused coffee and tea company out of Boulder, Colorado, and I quickly became their best customer! This whole-bean brew was truly unlike any other CBD coffee I’ve tried: delicious, energizing and calming. We don’t sell any products we don’t believe in, and we were so enamored with this coffee that we reached out to the company’s owners and partnered with them to develop the Willie’s Remedy blend.

Q: Why does the infusion method matter?

There are many ways to arrive at coffee with hemp compounds in it—you could just add a dropper of hemp oil tincture to your regular cup, right? But that just leaves a layer of oil floating on top of the coffee, much of which will cling to the sides of the cup when you drink it. That’s not the best way to get the compounds into your system—and an oil slick isn’t all that appetizing, either. 

The method we use to infuse our beans actually took two years to develop.

Some quick chemistry here: Because plant cannabinoids are fat-soluble, they need a fat source in order to dissolve and become bioavailable. Top-quality coffee beans actually contain around 15 percent fat. When the beans are roasted, the solid fats transform into oils, which collect on the surface of the beans and give them that shiny look. When the beans come out of the roaster, we introduce hemp extract under very specific conditions that allow the hemp extract to bind with the oils on the beans. 

Our coffee is special because it’s a true infusion. Nothing extra has to be added or removed; there are no binding agents, no isolates. The plants want to work together! And in my experience, the coffee plant and the hemp plant have great synergy. 

Q: Why would you recommend combining hemp and coffee?

We keep some unusual work hours, especially with Willie’s touring schedule and other obligations, so we drink this coffee day and night! A lot of people are incorporating it into their morning routines, just to make sure they get that dose of naturally occurring cannabinoids first thing, but I think hemp-infused coffee can fit into the rhythm of anyone’s day no matter the time of day.

I love the combination of the uplift of caffeine and the calming effects of hemp. We’ve all had those moments of overdoing it with caffeine, where you feel jittery and unable to focus—but because the compounds in hemp modulate the body’s endocannabinoid system and help create equilibrium, it helps balance the caffeine boost—at least, that’s my experience. Hemp-infused coffee clears my head and helps me to be present and connect with others. 

We serve this coffee on the tour bus, backstage in the green room, after listening parties—even at Willie’s poker games, where our friends love it. Musicians, crew members, family and friends—all of them benefit from hemp-infused coffee. It’s good for mood and energy, but it also creates a group ritual and a social vibe, which makes it a great treat for an afterparty or group gathering. 

I often say that it puts me “in the zone,” and everything we make is about seeking out balance and helping others find their zone!

You can order Willie’s Remedy Coffee here.

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Ask Annie: Does American Hemp Live Up To The Hype?

The Nelson family celebrated big time when Congress passed the 2018 farm bill legalizing hemp farming in the U.S.

Willie and I have always been passionate about supporting American farmers and protecting our environment, so trust me when I say you can believe the hype around hemp. And we’re so happy to put American hemp to good use—it’s the foundation for all Willie’s Remedy products.

This miraculous plant isn’t just good for our farmers and our economy, it can actually heal our soil, our environment and our health. You could write a book on the endless uses for hemp—many have!—but I wanted to share a few reasons why I love hemp:

Hemp Can Help Influence History

It’s true that hemp is as American as apple pie. George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and other Revolutionaries grew it, and back in those days, farmers in the newly independent United States were not only encouraged to grow it, they could pay taxes with it. During World War II, the government created Hemp for Victory, a campaign encouraging American farmers to farm hemp for the war effort. With the historic 2018 farm bill, a new chapter is being written.

Hemp Can Help Our Economy

Hemp’s uses are endless: textiles, nutritious foods and beverages, paper, construction materials (a.k.a. hempcrete), clothing, nutraceuticals, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation and biofuel—I could go on. And the popularity of hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) has made this crop even more valuable. Hemp is opening up many new opportunities for struggling American farmers, especially because hemp can grow almost anywhere and in any climate.

Analysts say that by 2025, the global hemp market will be worth $10.6 billion. A thriving hemp industry could create hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs, not only in agriculture but in processing, manufacturing, research and food science—again, the possibilities are endless.

It warms my heart to see hemp opening new doors for our farmers and our local economies. We proudly source all of the hemp we use in Willie’s Remedy products from Colorado farms, and we look forward to working together with new hemp farmers as we develop more products.

Hemp Can Help Our Environment

Hemp grows with far less water than crops such as corn or cotton; it also requires relatively little need for pesticides to thrive and grows quickly (up to 20 feet high in just three months).

Hemp is also famous for its ability to draw heavy metals and other toxins out of soil. It was used to clean contaminated soil after the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Its deep roots help prevent erosion and increase the microbial content of soil. Hemp also converts to biodiesel, a nontoxic fuel source—which is something I care deeply about.

So, by growing hemp, we can conserve water, reduce unnecessary toxins, cut pollution, decontaminate and replenish our soils, prevent deforestation, and replace nonrenewable resources such as fossil fuels, lumber and plastic.

Is your jaw on the ground in awe of this plant’s powers yet? If not, keep reading.

Hemp Can Help Our Health

Hemp seed is considered to be one of the most complete sources of protein and essential fatty acids found in nature. Along with protein, fiber and iron, hemp seeds are also a great source of a host of other vital nutrients, including magnesium, thiamin, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese and vitamin E.

The full-spectrum hemp extract found in Willie’s Remedy supports healthy functioning of your endocannabinoid system (ECS). Promising preliminary research indicates that the cannabinoids in top-quality hemp extract can help with sleep, stress and inflammation, and holds potential for relief from pain.

Hemp is like the ultimate superhero of the plant kingdom. This ancient plant lives up to all the hype you’ve heard, and all of us at Willie’s Remedy couldn’t be happier to be part of the American hemp renaissance.

Learn more about Willie’s Remedy and catch up on other Ask Annie posts.