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Why CBD helps with Anxiety (and why its not the ultimate solution)

Anxious? Depressed? You might be suffering from capitalism

Note: This blog was written by Sophe a while back, before ‘coronavirus’ was a word we all knew. This moment we find ourselves in provides a lens for reflection. How can we embrace lockdown and the different forms of impact it is having on our lives, as an opportunity to connect with ourselves, and observe the experiences of our body, our mind, and our heart and at the same time be curious to meet and navigate the bigger forces at work? How can we understand the interactions between our individual lives and the structures, both enabling and oppressive?

The title of this blog is also the title of recently published research from the journal of Sociology, Health and Illness. It suggests that society’s mental health crisis is strongly related to the capitalist system. We are living in a time where politics is often framed by polarising narratives that simplify and divide, where vital services such as hospitals and schools are being battered by austerity, where tech and social media tend towards sideline human-to-human connection, lengthening our working day and providing us with round-the-clock stressful media updates – all set to the backdrop of looming climate breakdown. (It is important to note that tech is also a huge enabler for many of us affording vital and empowering possibilities for meaningful connection, creation and organising for people of all walks of life.) It’s a lot to take in, to say the least, and we would be remiss to not name the system that pulls the strings in which all of this takes place: capitalism.

Lots of different things affect how we feel. We can do a lot to help ourselves. But it is important to keep in our sight the larger forces at work

Feelings of anxiety and helplessness in society are on the rise and it is no wonder. Anxiety can be felt in the body as much as in the mind and can be described by feelings of restlessness or panic, and difficulty making decisions, taking criticism, or taking risks. In our target-driven culture, where more value is put on our ability to produce than on our wellbeing, there can be little space left to notice and untangle our feelings, let alone, make steps to understand where they’re coming from or address them. 

The options available to tackle anxiety are wide-ranging. But pharmaceutical options bring side effects, while the suggestion of a “mindful minute” from your boss at the start of an 8 hour working day can feel tokenistic and a cynical attempt to improve economic performance. The wellbeing movement is soaring, with gong baths, yoga retreats and cacao ceremonies being an increasingly mainstream go-to for people feeling the need to duck out of their day-to-day. Meanwhile, more and more people are reconnecting with the power of plants to help them feel well.

Ancient folk wisdom teaches us the benefits of integrating cannabidiol (CBD) into our lives, as a way to reduce the symptoms of anxiety. CBD, extracted from the flower of the hemp plant, works in a way very similar to the psychiatric option of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. CBD impacts the brain receptors responsible for our body’s response to anxiety, bringing your serotonin to a normal level. At Hempen, we’re constantly moved by our customers’ accounts of the impact that CBD has had on their wellbeing. 

But despite the many options we, as individuals, have at our disposal to treat our malaise, it is so important to remember that mental illness is not a personal failure. We all live in the world. We all have to cope with all the things that happen in it. And we are all less in control of our lives than ever before. The psychiatrist Peadar O’Grady explains: “The term ‘anxiety’ is used particularly when the threat is not immediate or is unclear but it is fear by another name”. Our wellbeing cannot be solved simply by us working to change ourselves. Beware of the many ways that wellness solutions can distract us from honest conversations about the system we live in and the anxiety that stems from its toxic roots. Capitalism is making us sick. A small example: how easy is it to find a place outside of your home to sit down and catch up with a friend without having to buy a coffee or fork out for a venue? The monetisation of everything, including just being, is an inhibiting vice.

Some sound advice from @Emilyonlife

If you’re feeling low, struck by a sense of isolation or lack of meaning, it is ok. You’re not on your own. CBD can offer you effective relief. But it is not necessarily the elixir to solve all. We need to directly challenge the systems that pedal our problems – though being an important part of wellbeing practice for many of us, no amount of pills, pipettes, gongs or yoga mats will get at what is really going on. There is a stark gap between what we need as human beings and the conditions that we live in, under capitalism. It’s important to keep in mind that so many of us are raised to understand our value as being attached to how hard we work. And that this notion is convenient to productivity and profit.

Human beings need connection, they need safety and they need meaning. Luckily for us, this trio is highly compatible, if not fundamental, in what is needed to counteract the forces underpinning our unwell society. Stop to reflect on what actually brings you feelings of connection with others, a sense of security, a sense of meaning. Is it really ticking off a long to do list?  In her podcast, Krista Tippett explores “how settling inside ourselves right now, and kindness towards ourselves, are gifts to the world we want to make.”

Have a break. Get your body engaged. Sit down. Hang out with a tree. Do nothing for a bit, like Tom!

Also think about how your actions could feed into a bigger picture. What struggles can you offer your energy to? What resources can you give?  What perspectives could you bring to what gathering? You and your wellbeing are important. And so is the wellbeing of the people around you. A good balance is there for all of us, and for all us the balance is going to be different. Let’s stick together, look after ourselves and each other and join in the struggle for a better world. Collective organising and mutual aid is more powerful than the highest-strength CBD.

You are important and you have power .
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Pre-order the gift of plant-based healing

Let us never underestimate the importance of plants.

Whether that’s in the miraculous powers of their physical properties, or their long-held symbolic significance, recorded in folklore as early as the Ancient Greeks. From the “I love you” of a red chrysanthemum to the purity represented by an orange blossom, the language of flowers has long been spoken amongst sapiens.

Poppy in a flower meadow

On 11th November, for some, the Red Poppy is a symbol of Remembrance of the end of the First World War, a memorial to the fallen. The White Poppy was introduced by the Women’s Co-operative Guild in 1933, remembering all victims of war, of all nationalities, and as a lasting symbol for peace.

For us at Hempen, the flower that holds the most daily significance in our lives is Cannabis sativa. This annual herbaceous flowering plant has ancient historical importance – with hemp cultivation recorded in China as early as 2800 BCE. Though the uses of hemp could be listed for hours, the flowers alone are packed with phytonutrients like cannabinoids, with incredible healing properties.

Hemp "has been cultivated for millennia to exploit the plant’s toolbox of useful natural compounds it offers.”
Hand gently holding organic hemp plant

Today, as we remember those returned to the earth, we also give thanks for having had (and having, in the future) the chance to cultivate a plant as incredible as hemp, to offer nutrition, relief and well-being to people.

We’re chuffed to be launching our new range of Organic CBD Oil for pre-orders today!

Why on pre-order?

Excellent question. Well, as Rob described in our previous post, we’ve spent a long time searching for the best organic hemp growers and CBD producers in Europe, and formulating, testing and tasting our potential new organic CBD oil. Because if we can’t make CBD in the UK ourselves, then we feel responsible for bringing you the best alternative we possibly can.

And, as all the best things do, that takes time. After receiving the latest round of lab test results, we collectively decided we wanted to increase the levels of cannabinoids in the final oils, bringing a wider spectrum in higher ratios. This means keeping all of the goodness in during the extraction process. We believe that using the whole of the hemp extract brings the most benefit to the body, when all of the cannabinoids work in harmony together. This is the true essence of the hemp plant, and it is what we choose to offer you.

As our Zena so eloquently put it:

“It’s like going to a football match, but you only take your star player, and you don’t take the rest of your team. You’re not going to win, with only one player. You need the whole team, working together.”
Zena
Hempen Co-operative Member

“It’s like going to a football match, but you only take your star player, and you don’t take the rest of your team. You’re not going to win, with only one player. You need the whole team, working together.”

Right now, we’ve worked on the new formula, and are eagerly anticipating its arrival for us to mix and bottle for you. We had hoped, meditated and optimistically decided that it would, in fact, be in our hands and ready to share by now, but of course, our hard-working and ever-helpful partners need time to work their magic!

So rather than keeping you waiting any longer, we’ve decided to launch the new range on pre-order. While we’re getting it all ready, have a browse of the range, do some research, see what you think.

We’re hopeful that we’ll be ready to dispatch in two weeks time – but we don’t want to disappoint again, so we’ll update you as soon as we know for sure!

We're giving away CBD!

As a thank you for your continued patience, we’ve got a sweet, sweet special treat for everyone who orders from us this week.

All just for being beacons of patience!

Hempen 250mg Organic CBD Oil

These little gifts will be sent out along with orders placed between Monday 11th November and midnight on Sunday 17th November 2019 – with free delivery over £100.

In the meantime, read more about how we and why we chose our new CBD.

We can’t wait to hear what you all think about the new range – be sure to let us know!

And for those of you who love our UK CBD Oil, don’t worry, you’ll still be able to purchase it too (while stocks last). 

Blessings and love, the Hempen team.

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Sourcing the best organic CBD

Since the regulatory framework in the UK made it explicit that hemp farmers could not lawfully harvest the flowers and the leaves of the plants that they grow (meaning no-one can legally produce CBD for supplements in the UK), we’ve been busy changing the way we do things here at Hempen. We’ve had our heads down, focussed on finding the best way to supply organic, premium CBD to you all.

Here, Hempen’s Sales Co-ordinator Rob talks more about how we selected our new CBD source, and what that means.

Our new Organic CBD Range - how & why we chose it

Our intention at Hempen has always been to grow organic hemp locally, and to create high-quality organic hemp products for the UK market.

Growing hemp in the UK means that all the positive environmental impacts the Cannabis sativa plant provides us – such as enhancing soil health by reducing the need for herbicides and bringing diversity to crop rotations, and carbon sequestration – are happening close to where we all live. It also means that the UK has greater material and food sovereignty, given how versatile hemp is, making us less reliant on imports with high freight miles. It also means that we at Hempen have full transparency over our supply chain, and can track the production of our hemp products right through from seed to shelf. Hence, when the government made it clear that they did not want UK grown CBD products on the market we wanted to find a supplier as close to home as possible.

Proximity wasn’t the only factor when choosing our CBD source, though. We believe that hemp grown for food or well-being consumption should always be organically certified. Because hemp has the ability to draw toxic chemicals from the soil and store them in the plant material, growing on soil that may have been exposed to chemicals and pesticides increases the chances of toxic residue in the end product. Organic certification is the only way to know the integrity and safety of the hemp product from seed to shelf.

Ideally, we would have liked to have found a supplier who also subscribes to the not-for-profit, co-operative principles that underpin Hempen’s value system. We believe in community-led business that is driven by strong values rather than the bottom line. This means that we try to create a healthy way of life for our workers (us!), sharing wages equally and collectively making decisions that we believe are for the benefit of people, community and planet.

Unfortunately, at this time, other organically certified, not-for-profit hemp growers and producers are few and far between (although we have made contact with some new friends in Greece! Check them out here). Even fully organically certified CBD makers are a rare find! But after an extensive search we narrowed the field down to a handful of producers from Austria, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

After a round of testing, tasting and discussions with the producers in terms of the traceability of their supply chain, we decided that the Swiss producers were creating the highest quality CBD oil we had tried. The farms that supply them grow their hemp organically using biodynamic and permaculture growing methods, which are often seen as “organic plus plus”. For us, this was hugely motivating factor, given that regenerative agriculture practices are crucial for the future health of our food system, planet and us. Additionally, they were able to offer the most flexibility in terms of tailoring products to our needs (such as mixing the CBD oil in high quality organic hemp seed oil) and tinkering with flavour profiles.

Hempen Organic CBD Range from above

Despite there being CBD oil producers in Ireland, to date none of them are organic, which means we have sourced the highest quality, organically certified oil, grown as close to home as possible. Additionally, our Swiss suppliers are able to offer us a wider range of strengths than ever before, which means we now have strengths ranging from a 250mg CBD in a 10ml dropper bottle (2.5%) up to 2000mg CBD in a 10ml dropper (20%). The feedback on our UK-grown 300mg 10ml dropper has always been incredibly positive in terms of its efficacy, but it is nice that we can now service those customers who have been asking us for higher concentrations of CBD. We are also able to bring a RAW CBD oil to the market which is produced using innovative low temperature CO2 extraction techniques, maintaining 50% of the raw form of CBD – CBDa. 

Part of what strikes me about working at Hempen is how much thought and time goes into every detail. And so, like many things that are well thought-out, bringing this new range to market has been an involved process. Hence, we are very confident in the quality of this CBD range and also very happy to bring organically certified CBD to the UK market – a rarity at the moment – at the most affordable prices out there. 

We look forward to hearing your feedback, safe in the knowledge that whatever the ups and downs of hemp and CBD legislation, Hempen will always be the place to find ethical, premium quality, organically certified CBD oil.

Prices are:
250mg Organic Full Spectrum CBD Oil, 10ml dropper – £18.99
500mg Organic Full Spectrum CBD Oil, 10ml dropper – £31.99
800mg Organic RAW CBD + CBDa Oil, 10ml dropper – £49.99
1000mg Organic Full Spectrum CBD Oil, 10ml dropper – £55.99
1500mg Organic Full Spectrum CBD Oil, 10ml dropper – £75.99
2000mg Organic Full Spectrum CBD Oil, 10ml dropper – £99.99

(Edit: prices updated 10th Nov.)

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The importance of organic farming

“Organically grown”, “farmed organically”, “made with organic ingredients”… these phrases crop up more and more in our everyday, from ads on the underground, to our conversations at the hairdressers.  Organic ingredients are present in a whole host of the things we use, from food to wellbeing, clothing to cleaning products.

Hempen Organic Hemp Seed Oil

But organic farming is nothing new, nor is its importance to the wellbeing of our bodies and the natural world. Though pesticides have been experimented with for 1000’s of years, it has only been since the 1940’s and 50’s when the “pesticide erareally took hold, that non-organic farming became the new norm.

Rising populations, lower yields and smaller labour requirements are used to justify mono-cultural large scale agriculture. Today, non-organic farming accounts for 99% of farming globally, but pesticides and fertilisers are detrimental to wildlife and their impacts go beyond the boundaries where they are used. Insect populations are vanishing, spelling catastrophic consequences for food chains, pollination, soil health and our health. Can organic agricultural methods produce enough food for a population set to hit 10 billion by 2050, avoid the obliteration of insects and trees and the pollution of land and water? In these times of climate change, environmental degradation and disintegration of community, organic farming offers a relatively untapped source of hope.

Insect on organic hemp leaf

A recent US study finds that while organic farms have lower yields, food produced is more nutritious, soil and water is less polluted, biodiversity of plants, animals and microbes is greater, greenhouse gas emissions are lower, and farming methods are more energy efficient. From a social perspective, organic farms also come out tops, being associated with more jobs, healthier work environments and happier workers in more connected communities. 

Hempen is a not-for-profit organic farm co-operative. At the core of our principles is a dedication to practices which promote the health of people and the environment. We make all of our products from certified organic hemp which makes us unique in the UK.

Besides the farm being organised in a way that promotes ecological biodiversity and the wellbeing of all of us who work here, the quality of what we produce is also maximised. As hemp is bioremedial, in areas of contaminated land, hemp’s quick and deep growing roots can clean soils by absorbing toxins into the plant itself. This means it is all the more important that we farm organically. Our soil’s health is integral to the quality and effectiveness of what we make. We’re proud to say that our CBD comes from clean and nourished soils which help to maximise the many health benefits that stem from using CBD.

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Donate to our legal & campaign fees

Many of you have so generously asked how you can help, and whether you can donate to help us in our legal appeal and wider campaign to #saveUKCBD.

If you’re able to, any support would be gratefully received. Click here to make a donation.

Thank you in advance for any support we might receive. Your kindness is already enough. We’ll update with a campaign plan very soon.

For those who you who haven’t signed, there’s a petition here:

https://www.change.org/p/department-of-food-and-agriculture-change-the-hemp-license-hypocrisy