Moon Mother on Herbalism, Plant Spirit Medicine, CBD, and Beyond
Jessica Bates was trained in herbalism, nutrition, botany -and passionate about all things ‘witchy’. Jessica had started a small organic skincare line and after urging from friends and people in her community – she decided to start adding CBD and Moon Mother Hemp Co was born. Jessica is deeply knowledgeable about plant medicine in general but also about cannabis. We picked her brain about why Organic Cannabis matters, what the difference is between full-spectrum vs. Broad-spectrum or isolate, and much more.
Listen now or read the interview below!
Jessica, Can you tell us about your journey into herbalism and then into cannabis?
My interest in herbalism started when I was young. I connected with the plants, and I felt like the plants were speaking to me always. I always had an interest in witchy things. I had a mentor when I was in high school, a friend’s stepmom who was really into plant medicine, sustainability, homesteading, and things like that. So that was my kind of first real introduction into growing your own herbs, growing your own medicine, growing your own vegetables.
I didn’t have any formal teaching until I was older, but I went to the library, I checked out a bunch of books on herbalism, and I started teaching myself. When I moved out here [Boulder, CO], I worked for Leaf, the vegetarian restaurant, and started learning more about nutrition and health in general. It just blossomed from there.
I was introduced to the Herbalism school here in Boulder, which was formally the North American Institute for medical herbalism. Now it’s the Colorado school for clinical herbalism. I studied there formally under Paul Bergner and Lisa Nora, and it was amazing. It changed my life; I loved it. At that point, everything took root. I had this formal training in nutrition and herbalism and botany.
They take it to the next level there because you’re not just learning about plants to heal or treat symptoms, you’re learning about whole body systems, root causes, and plant spirit medicine as well. Speaking to the plants. The energetic piece. Personal relationships with each plant are developed at that school and fostered there.
I didn’t even recognize cannabis as an herbal remedy for a long time. I have had a super long relationship with cannabis; I think my first experience was when I was 13. It wasn’t until I stopped using cannabis to get high that I started recognizing it for its medicinal values and as a therapeutic herb. I started delving into the medicinal aspects and the healing properties.
I do view the recreational uses and the spiritual uses as also therapeutic. Many years using cannabis (to get high) opened and expanded my mind. I felt that all of that was therapeutic, and all of that was medicinal. So not to, not to bash the benefits of being high because there are huge benefits there too.
I would not know the things that I know about myself and my community and my universe if I didn’t have cannabis.
Whats the Story of Moon Mother Hemp Co?
Moon Mother Hemp Company is a hemp-based CBD company. We have botanical skincare products, CBD drops, and pet care products. We specialize in skincare, body care, and CBD.
We grow all of our own hemp from seed to sale and have a strong relationship with every single plant that goes into the ground.
My husband and I plant the seeds, take the clones, we do it all with a small team. We love it. My husband has ten plus, maybe 15 years of cannabis cultivation experience. He’s excellent at it. As you know, my background is in herbalism. I had a small skincare company, a line of organic skincare products before and we were getting requests to put CBD into our products. I was skeptical as an herbalist. Until I started diving into it myself and experiencing it and hearing stories from my community and stories from some of my customers about, you know, the healing that they’re getting from CBD.
We started to dig in, and what we noticed most was our anxiety. I felt like we didn’t even know we had anxiety. We’re parents, and we get stressed, but we didn’t even realize how stressed we were until we started taking CBD ourselves and we loved it. So I started incorporating it into my skincare products and into some of my elixirs that I was making. It just organically happened to where I was doing CBD strictly, and we started the farm together last year.
It’s been cool to combine our passions — Ed’s passion for cannabis cultivation and mine for plants, botanical medicine, and herbal formulations. Herbal formulations are a big part of what we do at moon mother. It’s not just CBD plus some generic lotion base or CBD plus beeswax or plus olive oil. For the balms, there are herbal formulations that amplify the effects of the CBD.
It’s science. Some of it is intuitive, some of it is just downloads and intuition, but a lot of it is science. What herbal formulation is going to amplify the benefits here, including the terpenes of the herbs and essential oils in combination with terpenes in the hemp as well? It’s a lot of fun formulating.
Is Everything Organic on Your Farm?
Yes. It’s USDA certified organic. We use only certified organic ingredients. All of the butters, oils, herbs, essential oils, anything that we’re using in our products, including the hemp, is USDA certified organic. We try to keep it as fair trade as possible. If something is wildcrafted, of course, it’s not organic because it’s wildcrafted. We do ethical wildcrafting when we do. It’s very clean and healthy.
We are really into environmental sustainability. We’re really into caring for our families and caring for our community. The medicine itself, the therapeutic products that we’re putting out, are designed to help us not to do us more harm. With my background, it’s easy for me to see what kind of skincare products are going to be beneficial, what sort of internal products are going to be beneficial, but not everybody has that background or knowledge. It’s essential to us that everything that we’re doing is for the greater good, not only for our community but for our planet as well.
What is one exciting product combining herbs and CBD that you’re working on have made?
One that I’m attached to and have a really strong relationship with is the Wise Woman Comfort Balm. Wise Woman is specifically formulated for menstrual cramps. It works quickly. I know that CBD works fast for a lot of people, but I attribute it to the formulation. There is St John’s wort, chamomile, hops – which a lot of people don’t know but hops are a potent anti-spasmatic topical. So this is a formulation that’s dear to my heart. The hops and also the myrcene and the mango butter – it’s a technical formulation.
It was a download. Some things you’re like researching and plugging it all in. A lot of formulations come as a download when you’re just sitting with the plants, and they’re like, ‘Oh, use this with this.’ It’s like a little whisper, and a little tingle and plants will speak formulations to you.
It’s incredible to hear the stories of women that have used our products. One woman told me that her doctor was recommending that she get a hysterectomy because her cramps were so bad. Having a hysterectomy is a huge fucking deal. It changes the way your body works completely. It changes your life, and it’s not something to be taken lightly. Instead, she used our wise woman balm.
Of course, root causes are something that need to be addressed. I always encourage people not to use CBD as a bandaid. Use CBD, use hemp, use cannabis in conjunction with some lifestyle change with some journey to find out what it is that’s causing you pain. Whether it’s emotional, whether it’s societal, whether it’s physical, environmental, whatever it is, whether it’s a food allergy… A lot of people are consuming sensitivities, and it is their sensitivities that are making them sick.
It’s tricky for me when people come to us for a magic bullet. We don’t want to sell a magic bullet, but we do want to help people. It’s an interesting balance.
What are the potential dangers of consuming cannabis or CBD that is from nonorganic plants?
Hemp plants suck up toxins from the soil, that’s called bioaccumulation, and basically, hemp itself is a bio-accumulator. It pulls up everything from the land around it. So soil testing is crucial. Knowing your soil is huge, especially with hemp. Knowing what pesticides are being used, what pesticides are being used in the land around you is a factor. I eat mostly organic, and I use only my skincare products.
Organics has been important for my family and me not putting poison into our body. I know that that’s privileged and not everybody has access to organics, but with cannabis and with hemp, it is almost more important to avoid pesticides and to use certified organic.
I like certified organic because you know, that a third party watchdog is verifying what you’re doing. They put us through the wringer. They’re checking every step. We love third party verifications because it tells the customers you can trust us because we’re verified, not because we’re saying to trust us. There’s a lot of greenwashing in the food industry and the body care products industry, but it’s huge in the cannabis industry as well. Greenwashing, where people are saying, and even using organics in the name, is a red flag.
We like to stress certificates of analysis as well. Not just certificates of potency, but certificates of analysis that include: heavy metals, pesticides, microbial, terpenes everything, everything under the sun. You want a full panel testing, not just potency. The potency is important; you want to know that you’re getting what you paid for. But you also want to know that what you’re putting in your body is not doing more harm.
For some people it just comes down to can I afford this or can I not? We completely understand that, and we have assistance programs for that very reason.
Can you talk about those assistance programs?
We have a veteran program, so veterans get a discount. Seniors get a discount and people who are on government assistance. People who are needing assistance can reach out to us and get their own personalized coupon. We want to make plant medicine accessible to everyone.
We don’t talk about it a lot because it’s really for locals. But we have a program for people who are using CBD and cannabis for cancer treatments as well. We can do special bottles at a discount. All they have to do is reach out. That’s what we’re here to do. We’re here to help people.
Can you Explain to Us the Difference between full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate?
Full-spectrum is the full spectrum of all the cannabinoids in every part of the plant. It’s the waxes, the terpenes; it’s every part. Like we said before with the entourage effect, it’s the most (in my opinion and a lot of people’s opinion) it’s the most beneficial way to consume the plant.
Broad-spectrum is fractionated. It’s a portion of that. It’s, it’s not precisely isolate because isolate is just the isolated CBD molecules. A lot of people say that broad-spectrum is just THC-free, but broad-spectrum can also be similar to full spectrum minus the terpenes or full spectrum minus the waxes and facts. It’s most of the plant but not all.
A lot of people are saying that broad-spectrum is THC free. I want to touch on that a little bit because THC free, hemp oil is a little bit tricky and it’s a little bit misleading. A lot of people don’t understand that even with THC free hemp oil, you can still fail a drug test. Some drug tests test for THC and their metabolites including CBN and other metabolites of THC. And so if you’re taking broad-spectrum hemp oil, you can still fail a drug test. If you are being tested, the only safe option would be CBD Isolate.
CBD Isolate is just CBD isolated by itself, no other cannabinoids. Unfortunately, isolate doesn’t always work for everyone. Some people’s endocannabinoid systems don’t even recognize it when it’s alone. You may have heard from people, ‘CBD just doesn’t work for me.’ And then we’re finding out that they had an isolate based product.
So we say give it a try again. Get a full spectrum product. Even if you’re taking full spectrum and it doesn’t work for you, try a different product. Because the ratios of the cannabinoids and terpenes specific to some brands only work for some people, and then once you’ve moved to a different brand, that brand may work for you. We hear that all the time, your brand worked for us when these other brands didn’t, or this brand works for me, and yours doesn’t.
It’s so individual because everyone’s endocannabinoid system is so different. Most CBDs will work for everyone, but not every product is going to work for everyone.
What are some common misconceptions about hemp that you encounter?
One, in particular, is that hemp is a different plant than marijuana. It’s not different. It’s different genetics. The way that I like to describe it to people, especially older people, is that it’s like tomatoes. It’s the exact same plant, tomatoes are tomatoes, but you have your sauce tomatoes that are bred for more liquid. You have your beefsteak tomatoes that have more fiber that is thicker and heartier for slicing. Cannabis is the same as tomatoes. Different cannabis plants are bred for higher amounts of THC or higher amounts of CBD or even higher amounts of CBN. It’s just different genetics.
It’s the exact same plant. Looking at it, you would not be able to tell the difference. They have the flowers; they have the oils, they have the crystals. They, it’s the same plant. Different properties, same plant.
Another one is that you want the male plant for CBD. We hear that a lot. Oh, it’s the male plant. No, for CBD it is still the female plant.
What are some of the most common things that people use CBD for and what are some things that people don’t know they could use CBD for?
The most common ones that we see are pain. Of course, inflammation. Joint pain, muscle pain, anxiety, and sleep issues are the big one. In my journey as a health care provider and in my community, I have been focused on women’s health and family wellness. I was a postpartum doula. Women’s health is really important to me, a passion of mine. What we’ve seen a lot is women coming into the store with sleep issues and anxiety.
Of course, men have anxiety too. If you know anything about family dynamics, it’s a lot of times the women who are bringing home wellness products. But what we see is women who are coming in, Oh my husband has his ailment, my husband has that an ailment. But specifically the women, they have a ton of anxiety. There’s a lot of pressure out there. Women are holding the family; they’re holding their communities; they’re the heart of the family. There’s a lot energetically going on there.
There are a lot of mixed reviews about CBD and sleep and whether it helps. The way I feel about it and what we see to be true is that CBD doesn’t directly affect people’s sleep, but it relaxes and heals your central nervous system to a place where you will be able to fall asleep when you’re supposed to. So you’re not going to take CBD and like fall asleep right here, it’s just not like that. But if you take CBD, if you take hemp oil, an hour or two hours before bed, you’re going to have less inflammation. You’re going to have less pain; you’re going to have less anxiety. So when it’s time to go to sleep, your nervous system will know it’s time to go to sleep. You won’t be in a state of fight or flight; you will be back to homeostasis.
CBN is excellent for sleep. Our products are rich with CBN, and so people find them to be amazing for sleep, but it’s not so much the CBD. Cancer is a huge one. I might be fried for saying this, but people are using CBD for cancer. People are using hemp to battle tumors, and these are the success stories that keep us going. These stories where people call us, and they’re like, ‘I am shrinking my tumor with your product”. That’s the thing that gets us out of bed in the morning. This is precisely why we’re doing it.
Eczema and other skin conditions are another use. We have a heal-all skin balm that’s great for different skin disorders. We’ve heard that it’s one of the only things that’s helping people’s eczema. It’s the life-saving stories that keep us going. It’s, “I did not have a hysterectomy because of your product, I didn’t have knee replacement surgery.”
Again it all comes down to root causes, and the root cause of most ailments is inflammation. We live in a society that creates inflammation; it’s environmental toxins. It’s the food that we’re eating. Its constant stimulation. So anti-inflammatory, anything can do no wrong.
One five and ten year industry predictions?
I am cautious when it comes to predictions. I’m kind of superstitious, and so I don’t like to say things out loud, so I’ll knock on wood, and then I’ll say some things.
It is tricky out there with the FDA. I think some people think that they know what’s going to happen. The rest of us have no idea what’s going to happen. But we have seen a lot of really crazy stuff happen with the FDA. We have seen the FDA demolish healthcare. The system that we have now is broken, and the FDA is responsible for part of it. We’re in their hands right now, what’s going to happen?
Topicals are a huge thing that we do. We think that topicals are less at risk than internals. We’re positioning ourselves as a topicals only brand if need be. I want medicine to be in people’s hands. I think one year we’ll still be where we are today because things move slowly with the government.
Five years it could go either way. Ten years CBD is going to be everywhere. I think if they do try and ban CBD, there’s going to be a considerable backlash. They can’t keep this plant down forever. This plant is rising. It is strong. It’s healing people, and people need healing.
We’re at a crossroads right now. Our world, the environment. We need this plant. We need hemp plastics. We need hemp fibers. We need hemp to heal the soil, to heal the land. We need cannabis to heal us energetically. So in five years, it could go either way. In 10 years, it’s coming back, and it’s helping us.
My friend and one of our employees, Rachel (ganjasana), she always says that “cannabis is cultivating us more than we’re cultivating it.” And I love that. It’s very true. It’s cultivating us as a society and once it’s out there and once the people have it, they’re not going to let go of it.
People are going to fight back. So 10 years it is going to be everywhere.
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