High Country: Meet Sopris Health & Wellness where whole plant medicine matters most | AspenTimes.com

High Country: Meet Sopris Health & Wellness where whole plant medicine matters most

Katie Shapiro


Sopris Health & Wellness Presents CBD 101 Thursday, October 4, 6 to 8 p.m. Third Street Center 520 S. 3rd St., Carbondale soprishealthandwellness.com

“But does it get you high?” It’s the question I am asked every time when recommending CBD products to friends, family and colleagues. The reassurance in which I answer is always questioned again with an, “Are you sure?” Yes, I promise.

The clearest comparison to a CBD supplement is that of a daily vitamin. Short for cannabidiol, it’s the compound from the cannabis plant that does not have a mind-altering effect, but is widely believed to effectively and naturally soothe pain, insomnia, inflammation, stress and anxiety.

In 2017, the CBD industry grew by 40 percent and hit $367 million in sales, according to New Frontier Data. In a new report, the independent, neutral-stance cannabis research firm says the CBD segment of the cannabis market alone is expected to grow to $2 billion by 2022.

As the CBD wellness craze continues to sweep the country, one local company is aiming to shift the zeitgeist of the industry toward the importance of using full-spectrum extractions. Carbondale-based Sopris Health & Wellness uses the whole plant versus most products that are produced using CBD isolate.

Founder Bryan Ward explains, “Full-spectrum CBD creates an ‘entourage effect’ for maximum efficacy by preserving the fullest range of secondary cannabinoids, terpenes and other nutrient compounds from the plant.”

That effect causes a synergistic, powerful phenomenon on the human body, which for Ward means whole-plant medicine matters most.

Officially launching Sopris Health & Wellness late last year, the recent Roaring Fork Leadership Academy graduate traded a tech career in Boulder for a cannabis startup in Carbondale to pursue his passion for helping others.

“I am a serial entrepreneur and knew I wanted to have my next business be in the cannabis industry. I had become painfully aware of how pharmaceutical ‘solutions’ — especially opioids — were ravaging large portions of our population. So Sopris Health & Wellness was born to provide alternative, all-natural remedies to elevate the quality of life for as many people as we can.”

Ward enlisted John Lee, founder and manager of Providence Apothecary in Glenwood Springs, as his partner and product manager. Together they have developed a portfolio that includes full-spectrum CBD gelcaps, oils and a salve — all of which are produced using a patented, low-temperature, lipid-infusion extraction method sourced from a partner organic cultivation facility in Boulder.

While CBD is also found in marijuana plants, Sopris Health & Wellness sources its oil solely from hemp plants due to the higher concentration of the non-psychoactive compound and because hemp CBD is legal in all 50 states, so products are shippable nationwide.

Dr. Andrew Cunningham, a Denver-based consulting board-certified MD and herbalist, was first alerted to the product line through a friend and was immediately impressed. Now on board as the brand’s medical consultant, he sees a particular benefit for those who engage in higher intensity activities.

“We see CBD as a neuromuscular tonic. Everyone is susceptible to inflammation just by interacting with our everyday environment. I think taking CBD daily complements eating an anti-inflammatory diet and consuming anti-inflammatory spices like turmeric and ginger,” says Cunningham.

“It helps create the space to be more mindful of the present,” Ward adds. “Studies have shown CBD encourages your body to produce GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid), which has been known to have a calming effect on the brain and central nervous system. Both meditation and yoga encourage your body to produce GABA as well, so it is my belief that CBD combined with either activity can be a natural solution to work through periods of anxiety and depression.”

However, Cunningham cautions, “It isn’t the cure for everything. There are conditions for which CBD has been studied and shown effective, and then there are conditions for which we have a lot of anecdotes from people who use it with benefit. I feel safe recommending quality CBD products liberally as it minimally interacts with other medications and herbs, and it is very well tolerated by most. And as with any new supplements, any specific questions should be directed to your primary care providers before taking.”

After a successful soft launch this summer, including activating an information booth during First Fridays in Carbondale, Sopris Health & Wellness is available locally at Mana Foods and Bombshell Salon, at Providence Apothecary in Glenwood Springs and in the Fahrenheit Body Spas boutique in Basalt, where you can also add on its salve or oil to any massage.

And because they’re on a mission to help through healing, 5 percent of sales are donated to opioid addiction and mental health-related charity partners (Aspen Strong Foundation is one local recipient) with progressive pricing plans available for lower-earning customers.

Next month, you can learn the ABCs of CBD in-person at a special seminar hosted by Sopris Health & Wellness at the Third Street Center in Carbdonale, where the founders will give a short presentation about the research and science-backed health benefits of CBD, the difference between hemp and THC extractions and where the industry is headed.

Katie Shapiro takes a 25 mg gelcap every night and has never slept better. She can be reached at katie@katieshapiromedia.com or followed on Twitter @kshapiromedia.