As an editor of West of Wild, an online publication dedicated to helping high-performing women optimize their day, I’ve tried a lot of CBD products. From novel packing, to novel dosing suggestions, to the coveted celebrity endorsement, for better or for worse, CBD brands have been making a tremendous effort to define themselves in a saturated market. However, with the surge of market entrants, and general inability of the average consumer to differentiate one CBD product from another, their efforts have not always been successful. In the case of expensive media buys, such efforts are often unsustainable.
Thus, the current mood in the industry is innovate, or die. To avoid the latter, some savvy cannabis entrepreneurs have coupled the cannabinoid with a category of plants that have been around for centuries, yet have only recently sprung to the fore-front of the wellness world.
Thanks to the educational efforts of their earliest purveyors, this class of holistic herbs are now familiar enough to the average consumer, that their coupling with CBD, might just make the cannabinoid more approachable. If you’ve frequented the ever-popular Moon Juice in West Hollywood, listened to a Goop podcast, or fancy yourself a cup of mushroom coffee, you’ve most likely heard of these plants. Yep, I’m talking about adaptogens.
Adaptogens and CBD
Adaptogens have been making a slow and steady resurgence in the wellness world, but their coupling with CBD is a relatively new concept. At the forefront of this pairing, is wellness entrepreneur Ken Lawson, founder of the FOCL brand of products.
Struggling with the common issues of focus and sleep, Lawson “became obsessed with finding, researching, and vetting the best natural ingredients to help”. While on his own personal wellness journey, Lawson stumbled on adaptogens such as Lion’s Mane and Ashwagandha, which he found to be beneficial in their own right. Once friends and family started asking what he was taking, “the lightbulb went off”, and the FOCL founder decided to combine adaptogens with CBD.
FOCL now offers a line of Wellness Stacks, which couple broad spectrum CBD with a slew of adaptogenic herbs and mushrooms -all in neat and tidy pill form. Each ‘stack’ is optimized for the time of day you are taking it: with “FOCL Day” pairing CBD with adaptogens that increase focus, learning, and memory; and “FOCL Night” pairing cannabidiol with adaptogens that help you achieve high-quality sleep.
When asked about the requirements a given adaptogen must meet before being included in the formula, Lawson stated that safety and effectiveness are the two most important criteria when selecting ingredients. Aside from having a world class scientist on their board of directors, clinical studies, consumer data, and top eastern and western doctors are all consulted in the selection and formulation of FOCL’s wellness stacks. Thus, while you’ll see some well known adaptogens such as Lions Mane and Ashwagandha in FOCL’s formulas, you’ll also see some lesser known herbs such as Purple Passion Flower and Bacopa Monnieri.
While it’s clear that Lawson made the decision to combine CBD and adaptogens in order to amplify their respective wellness benefits, I can’t help but wonder if the combination may also serve to bridge the gap between cannabis and the broader world of wellness. Put differently, could an established association with adaptogens, (and eventual inclusion of CBD in the categorization itself), help de-stigmatize hemp derived products in the minds of consumers?
After all, adaptogens are grouped by their ability to help the body produce a healthy stress response, and doesn’t CBD accomplish this as well?
It seems that only time will tell. In the meantime, Lawson is aware that “some [adaptogens] are more well known to the public than others” and admits that even as the popularity and awareness of these plants continues to grow, FOCL’s job is to “help educate and expose people to these amazing gifts from Mother Nature”.