Mission speaks to Apothem Labs co-founder Amelia Baerlein about changing the narrative of CBD.
By Sonia Kovacevic.
The rise of CBD, the medicinal strain of cannabis derived directly from the hemp plant, has segued into the mainstream over the past few years. However, many misconceptions still remain surrounding the derivative and its THC content, the main psychoactive compound found in the plant. Apothem Labs is pioneering the way with premium products focused on “botanical synergy,” harmonizing select botanicals to supercharge and unlock CBD’s full potential for each particular product and purpose. We speak to Co-founder Amelia Baerlein about her journey into the world of cannabis, Apothem’s focus on empowering females in the industry, and what makes Apothem’s formula unique.
How did you get into the world of cannabis?
I’ve always been a fan of plant-based remedies, and so when my co-founder Tony was looking into CBD and hemp-based products for a member of his family, I was instantly intrigued. We then fell down a rabbit hole together, dissecting everything from seed to finished product and we didn’t like what we found. There were so many substandard products with little or no information available about how they were produced, where the ingredients were sourced from, or how they were cultivated – it was like the Wild West. During this time, we included a few selected friends and family in our trial and the feedback sealed the deal for us. We knew we had to start our own brand because all of the individual stories were so motivating.
What differentiates Apothem from other CBD brands?
It has to be our products and our people, namely the synergies we create with all of our products where we use botanicals to develop beautiful formulations to harness the full potential of plant power. The reason for both is we wouldn’t have the products without the people. We accumulated a very talented team to research and develop the range we have today. We didn’t want compromise on anything – quality, strength, and taste (or no taste for those who don’t want it).
What would you say is the biggest social misconceptions surrounding CBD?
It’s got to be the question as to whether CBD gets you “high.” That’s the first question people who are unfamiliar with CBD and hemp ask. It’s understandable because hemp derives from the cannabis family and the other well-known cannabis compound is THC, which as well as having medicinal benefits, has psychotropic properties. Our products have 0% THC.
What is something unique you discovered working in this field that people might not know?
We all have Cannabis receptors in our bodies! As humans we all have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) discovered in the early 90s. The ECS is a system of neurotransmitters that occurs all through the body through receptors at the end of our nerves. They found that humans, and all organisms with a vertebra, naturally produce molecules in our bodies that are similar to the structure that occur within the cannabis plant – hence the name “endo” (produced naturally within the body) “cannabinoid” (cannabis-like). Essentially, cannabis-like substances that naturally occur within us humans and attach to receptors that are perfectly designed at the end of each nerve to receive these molecules. Nature works in strange ways.
What is the benefit of adding botanicals to the CBD?
We believe in what we call ‘botanical synergy,’ so we harmonize the highest quality CBD with specially selected botanicals to unlock the full potential of all the plant-based ingredients. Essentially, we supercharge our CBD products for targeted purpose. For example, Lights Out Drops include chamomile, skullcap and lemon balm, all well-known botanicals to help calm and unwind as natures gentle soothers, and our Recharge Cream-Gel includes magnesium, arnica, and eucalyptus widely known for their anti-inflammatory and soothing properties. The result is a range of beautifully formulated products where both the CBD and the hand-selected botanicals are the heroes.
Was it difficult to break into the market?
We started around the time medicinal cannabis was legalized in the U.K. so there was a lot of hype around cannabis and CBD products at the time, but not many credible and informative brands out there, so the market was ready for Apothem. Our exceptionally talented team ensured we stood out from the get-go as we consciously stepped away from the typical ‘hippie’ and ‘clinical’ brands to find our niche in the everyday luxury space.
How has Apothem evolved since its inception?
We are all so obsessed with CBD we don’t approach business like a job, it’s in our DNA to strive to be the best and so we are our biggest critics when it comes to doing things better, meaning we are constantly fine-tuning things from understanding customer data to educating those new to the category. Top of our agenda is how we are working to become a more sustainable business, so we have some exciting plans for the future.
Apothem is a female-focused company. Why was this an important decision for you and your Co-founder Tony?
Tony and I passionately believe in encouraging more women to embrace their entrepreneurial spirit and feel the cannabis industry is the perfect platform, as we are seeing more and more women take hold of our industry across the globe. The world has changed so much in my lifetime I think it’s important to embrace the realness of a more balanced society, where outdated opinions and inequality are openly shamed to become a thing of the past.