Casey Cooper never thought she would be in the CBD business.
In fact, she never really had any interest CBD at all. With a burgeoning career in law, she always associated weed products with the “lazy stoner” stigma, which she worried would be bad for her image. That is, until she saw the life-changing effects that CBD oil had on both her husband’s injuries and her lifelong insomnia. Now, she’s one of the co-founders of Botanika Life, a CBD lifestyle brand working to change the misconceptions she used to have herself.
So how did she get here? It was all thanks to Botanika Life’s other co-founder, her husband Bradford “Brad” Emmons.
As a former collegiate athlete, Brad was well-versed in the uses of CBD oil and medical marijuana for pain management. Knowing how powerful and effective it was, he had always dreamed of working in the industry, so got an education from Oaksterdam University (America’s first “Cannabis College”) and went on to work at dispensaries. Casey for her part, stayed far away from the stuff (she had never even smoked it before) — until someone suggested she try CBD oil to help her sleep.
“Truly the first thing that ever helped me get a full restful night’s sleep was a CBD gummy that had a little bit of THC in it,” she says, noting that she had tried everything from melatonin to deep breathing to Tylenol PM, to no avail. “And I started taking these and I would fall asleep within like 45 minutes to an hour and I would wake up feeling refreshed and not groggy.”
This, she says, was a “turning point” in her life, and made her realize that she wanted to join Brad in his journey toward weedpreneurship.
“We knew that CBD was helping us, and we saw that the industry was starting to lean that way, and we decided last year to leave both of our jobs and start Botanika because it was something that we believed in and it was something that we could do together,” says Casey. “it was really scary at first. But we knew that it was the right thing to do for us and for others.”
The first product they created was a topical salve, which they tested on friends and family who were more than happy to play guinea pig. “My dad is someone who was a hardcore athlete, never smoked pot, and now he’s rubbing CBD on his knees and elbows every single day and turning every single one of his friends onto it and family members,” says Casey. “And that’s actually what the best part to me is, is that you take people from a generation who the stigma of marijuana still exists to a lot of them, and you’re opening up their eyes.”
As of now, the line includes CBD ingestibles—like hemp oil and CBD gummies—and topicals—like pain spray and salve rub— made from a 99.9% CBD isolate grown in either Oregon or Colorado. “We try to keep the ingredients as few, simple and natural as possible,” says Casey, who lists Shea Butter, Menthol, and Eucalyptus among some of such ingredients. In addition to their oils, creams, and salves, Botanika Life also offers a selection of sprays that are individually formulated to help with things like sleep, energy, and hangovers.
For both Brad and Casey, changing the stigma surrounding CBD is one of the most important parts of their brand mission. “Basically, it was my own perception that I wanted to change,” says Casey. “And because I know a lot of people that have the perceptions that I had… and if you have a perception of marijuana being ‘bad’ or ‘hippie’ or ‘granola,’ or whatever word you want to use, it prevents people from using something that can truly benefit them. So by taking away that stigma, you’re opening up an entire new audience to these amazing products.”
In order to do this, says Brad, education is key. “A lot of people are not sure what CBD is, or cannabis itself—they think of as just ‘pot’ and ‘reefer madness,’” says Brad, who credit’s the brand’s blog and website for helping people understand that, no, Botanika Life’s products won’t get them high. “We have to educate them on what CBD is compared to THC, and everything that’s in it … educating the public in this, in this industry, and that’s first and foremost.”
“Our mission is to educate and then to be able to provide high quality products to the masses,” echoes Casey, who notes that they try to avoid catering to a specific “target demographic,” since their products can (and should!) be used by anyone. “We want everyone—from the Insta models, to our dads, to Brad’s grandma, who uses cooling spray on her knees every single day—[to use our products]. We just want it to be a product that everybody can use and share together.”
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