An Interview with APOTHEM co-founder & CEO, Amelia Baerlein
How did APOTHEM start?
My co-founder Tony and I, are close friends with a shared belief in the restorative and therapeutic power of the hemp plant and other plant-based remedies. In 2018, Tony was looking into CBD and hemp-based products for a family member suffering with psoriasis when we fell down a rabbit hole together dissecting everything from seed to finished product, repeatedly not liking what we found.
There were so many sub-standard CBD products on the European market with little or no information available about how they were produced, where the ingredients were sourced from, or how the hemp was cultivated – it was like the wild west. During this time, we sourced some CBD products to try from overseas and invited a few selected friends and family to join in and it was everyone’s personal experiences that inspired us to start our own brand and APOTHEM was born.
How does CBD work?
What allows CBD to have a positive effect on the body is how it interacts with a complex network of Cannabis receptors throughout our body, called the endocannabinoid system. Our endocannabinoid system helps to bring balance into the human body and regulate both mental and physiological processes including sleep, memory, appetite, inflammation, and mood. It’s amazing to think that cannabis-like molecules naturally occur within us so our bodies are designed to work with cannabinoids like CBD – this is also why each person’s experience with CBD is so personal, because our bodies are all unique. We’ve got some great educational content on our blog if anyone is keen to geek out more on the endocannabinoid system and CBD.
There’s a lot of uncertainty around CBD so we need to ask, does it get you high?
It’s a great question, and still so relevant. The reaction I get from some people when I tell them what I do is brilliant sometimes, joking about getting high from taking CBD, so we know there’s still a lot more education to be done, and we’re here for it. Fortunately, this part of CBD education is pretty straightforward. In the UK, CBD is only legal providing that it contains 0% THC. THC is another of the primary cannabinoids (a naturally occurring chemical like CBD) found in the cannabis plant and is the main psychotropic compound that produces the “high” sensation. So, without THC it’s not possible to experience a mind-altering high from CBD.
What are some of the proven benefits of CBD?
CBD can be so beneficial for our bodies, inside and out. There’s lots more research to be done, but the World Health Organisation suggests that there are many diseases and conditions for which CBD might have therapeutic benefits, including anxiety, depression, and Parkinson’s disease. It’s also been shown to help alleviate certain skin conditions too. I think the most common and widely accepted benefit of CBD is its calming and soothing effects on the mind and body – for many people if helps make the stresses of the day a little less noticeable, which cumulatively can really make a different to people’s sleep, emotions, vitality. At APOTHEM, we love all the positive feedback from our community, it takes us back to the original motive for starting the company. Early on we coined the phrase ‘little miracles’ which describes all the everyday improvement stories we hear about CBD taking the edge off to give people more freedom to live better each day.
What is some of the emerging research focused on?
There’s so much potential with CBD. Recent legislative changes around hemp and CBD have enabled numerous clinical trials to begin and some of the main fields of research are exploring the use of CBD for anxiety, for chronic pain, and for rare forms of epilepsy, amongst others. The results of these studies should become available over the next five years. In the meantime, some brands are investing in their own independent consumer and clinical trials to prove the efficacy of CBD, which is what we did with our RECHARGE CBD tension relief cream and our signature DAY CBD oil drops. The results were pretty incredible.
Can CBD be used for PMS?
Absolutely. As always, it’s personal, but there are so many people using CBD for discomfort associated with female-related conditions. Recent studies have even shown that there are a high number of cannabinoid receptors in the female pelvic area and there is evidence that suggests CBD can have a positive impact on PMS and associated cramp pains. But it’s still early days and it’s mainly anecdotal evidence – people telling researchers about the impact CBD has had on their lives. One of our team members gets a lot of relief from using APOTHEM RECHARGE CBD cream on her abdomen when she’s experiencing cramps. All of this feedback is so valuable but there’s still more scientific research to be done about the anti-inflammatory and balancing effects that CBD can have for women experiencing PMS.
How can you tell if a CBD product is good quality?
As with any product, not all CBD products are created equal (and some sadly aren’t even CBD at all). I can share a few quick tips on what to look for and if you’re unsure, always reach out to the brand and ask for some clarity before you buy.
- Check the label. CBD strength is easily misunderstood, so look for the milligram amount (e.g. 500mg) rather than solely a percentage (5%, 10%), and check that the stated amount of CBD is pure and not a diluted down concentration listed as a ‘CBD ingredient’. Some brands may also say that a product contains CBD, when it actually only contains hemp seed oil; full of beneficial fatty acids but devoid of CBD, so always look for ‘Cannabidiol’ or ‘CBD derived from cannabis sativa’ in the ingredients list.
- Look at how the products are made. If the company uses Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) compliant processes, that’s a great sign. You also want to make sure that your CBD products have been independently checked for safety through lab reports (you can request a brand’s Certificates of Analysis for verification of the products’ strength, purity and 0% THC).
- Check the brand credibility out. If the brand is stocked by reputable high-end retailers, this can be a good indicator of quality as many of these stores have strict criteria and do a lot of research to source the best quality products for their shoppers. And finally, it sounds obvious, but see what other people are saying about the brand – check out social media, review sites like TrustPilot etc.