VELOBAR started with a bike ride early one summer morning through Rhode Island's picturesque East Bay countryside.
Earlier that week, I’d shot an interview with a local care-giver who was making medical cannabis edibles with health food-based ingredients. At the time, I was working as a television producer for a large international media company, but as a side project I’d started up Cannabis Frontier, a YouTube channel focusing on the cannabis industry. (Due to YouTube censorship, our most popular videos were all taken down, so I stopped posting new material - but back in the day we had a strong following and millions of views.) Something this care-giver had said really stuck in my mind: “You’re giving your body medicine. Why pollute your body when you’re trying to make it better?”
As anyone who’s ever walked into a dispensary knows, most cannabis edibles are sugary junk food. But why would a medical marijuana patient want to “pollute their body” by dumping empty calories into an immune system already compromised by illness? For that matter, why should anyone have to eat junk food to get high? As a child of the 70s raised on a commune in West Virginia, I grew up immersed in the ethos of the “back to the land” movement, eating healthy organic food that we grew ourselves. I just couldn’t understand why there were no healthy cannabis edibles on the market. So I became obsessed with the idea of creating a cannabis-infused snack that tasted great and was good for you.
A few weeks later, I found myself in an Oregon kitchen developing a cannabis-infused protein bar with a local nutritionist. I insisted on a few key principles:
- It had to taste better than any protein bar on the market, with or without cannabinoids
- It had to have high protein content from plant-based “superfood” ingredients like nuts and seeds, instead of processed protein like whey, soy, or casein. (Nuts and seeds are loaded with Omega-3s, which are known to support cardiovascular health, reduce inflammation, and lower blood pressure.)
- Everything had to be organic, gluten-free, non-GMO, and Vegan
- Cannabinoids had to come from the highest-quality, sources, with full transparency of testing results.
- Consistent dosage levels in each bar
VELOBAR “The Healthy High” debuted in Portland medical dispensaries in the Spring of 2016. Health-conscious Portlandia cannabis consumers took notice, and reviews were positive. But an early trend emerged that was not at all what we expected: the CBD bar sold much better than the THC bar.
Ironically, even though cannabis had become fully legal in Oregon, most of our customers seemed to want the health benefits of the plant, without the psychotropic effects of getting high - so they were choosing CBD over THC. And on a personal level, I found that I enjoyed the CBD bar in ways that were very different from the THC experience. It turned out my own CBD protein bar was the perfect sports recovery solution after a long bike ride or workout!
As we ramped up production of VELOBAR CBD and re-branded with a new, cleaner look, we expanded from Oregon dispensaries into mainstream grocery stores, as well as spas, gyms, and yoga studios across the country. It turned out plenty of people - not just health-conscious Oregonians - loved our great-tasting healthy CBD protein bar!
As I was out promoting Velobar at in-store demos and other events, I found I was asked the same question again and again: “So what is CBD going to do for me?”
It’s a legitimate question. And it deserves a legitimate answer.
Due to decades of (in my opinion, senseless) hemp and cannabis prohibition, researchers were prohibited from doing research on the medical effects of cannabinoids, so the fact of the matter is, we just don’t know. Although some formal studies are finally starting here in the US, cannabis is still categorized by the Federal Government as a Schedule I drug, so researchers are STILL being impeded in their efforts to properly study cannabinoids. I don’t think I’m the only one who finds it odd that, while on the one hand the FDA says “The information we have underscores the need for further study and high quality, scientific information about the safety and potential uses of CBD,” the Federal government is effectively preventing further study by tying researchers’ hands. Although the National Institute on Drug Abuse is now working with the DEA and FDA to find solutions “that will not make research on marijuana so cumbersome,” it will likely still take quite a bit more time before we get full clarity on this issue.
It’s for this reason that we can’t - and don’t - make any health claims about cannabinoids in general, or our product in particular. That said, I do have plenty of anecdotal evidence gathered from conversations with hundreds of different people I’ve spoken with at in-store events about how CBD affected them. For most people I speak with, CBD delivers some amazing health benefits. Here’s a list of some of the most common things I have heard:
- Relief from anxiety and social stress
- Pain relief
- Sleep aid
- Weight management tool (to combat stress-eating)
- Sports recovery
- Mood uplift, sense of calm and well-being
There are also some - roughly 5% in my estimation - who tell me that CBD does very little, or nothing at all for them.
My personal takeaway from this passion project: when it comes to CBD in particular, and cannabinoids in general, I believe that everyone’s experience is unique. My respectful advice to those who are curious about cannabinoids: Do your own research, try what you feel comfortable with, and see what works for you.
As VELOBAR enters the new decade, we’re poised to take the next big step in our evolution, with an upgrade to our original formulation (more CBD + more protein), and the introduction of a new Peanut Butter flavor...with 25mg CBD, 10g of plant-based protein, and so, soooooo tasty!
When all is said and done, I truly believe VELOBAR is the healthiest, best-tasting and most effective CBD edible on the market. We're winning awards, and getting great reviews. Try it for yourself after a hike, bike ride or workout - or when you just want a grab-and-go moment of “Instant Zen." And please - if you get a moment, leave a comment on our feedback page, to let us know what your VELOBAR experience is like. The more information we get from our Customers, the more we can share with other people what these amazing natural plant-based substances can possibly do for them.
Enjoy in good health!
VELOBAR Co-Founder and CEO
Dragonwagon Commune Couple June 1972 - Walter Reiter
Brant & Maki - Michael Shatravka