Michigan couple’s CBD business blooms naturally, with holistic healing at its heart – mlive.com

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Michigan couple’s CBD business blooms naturally, with holistic healing at its heart – mlive.com

LANSING, MI — For Bryan Madle and Sarah Birney, the CBD industry is all about a natural approach to living a happy, healthy and pain-free lifestyle.Th

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LANSING, MI — For Bryan Madle and Sarah Birney, the CBD industry is all about a natural approach to living a happy, healthy and pain-free lifestyle.

The husband-wife team, whose relationship began while they were students at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, have worked as caregivers in the marijuana industry. They went all in on CBD as soon as the 2018 farm bill removed hemp from the list of federally controlled substances in December of that year.

Within a month, Birney and Madle launched Blooming Botanicals out of a family-owned Lansing laboratory, offering up a selection of oils, salves and other products that can help ease anxiety, stress, pain and more.

For both, it was a natural evolution that grew out of their passions for environmental sustainability and holistic health.

The two — who have known each other since attending high school in Okemos — began dating when Madle was studying environmental research management at Western Michigan University in the late 2000s and Birney was enrolled in the school’s nutrition and dietetics program.

While Madle went on to get his degree at WMU, Birney left the school’s dietetics program and took a left turn toward a more holistic approach toward healing.

“I’ve always been interested in health and wellness since I was like 8 years old; food, for example — trying to understand it,” Birney said. “I went to school for dietetics to learn about nutrition. I was told I was going to work in a hospital, getting people low-fat yogurt and they would already be so far off their path but that was really all there was for me. I didn’t really want that to be my reality.

“I thought there had to be a better way to help people before they got sick.”

Birney left the program and enrolled at the Kalamazoo Center for the Healing Arts, where she studied massage therapy and “learned about how the body works, how energy works and how healing specifically works.” That led her down a path that ended at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York where she, and later Madle, learned about health coaching and preventative care.

Armed with that newfound knowledge, the duo moved to Costa Rica in 2015, where they had been visiting annually since 2009. While in Central America, the couple spent the next year studying superfoods. Upon their return to the Lansing area, the couple began working as health coaches, while still serving as licensed caregivers in the medical marijuana industry.

Once work on the 2018 farm bill began, the couple educated themselves in the non-psychoactive components of cannabis’ cousin plant, hemp.

Related: ‘Sky’s the limit’ for hemp farming in Michigan

”It really meshed with our background and we just had this very serendipitous moment of being business owners, husband and wife together,” Madle said. As the opportunities and laws were changing to make it legal, we were able to combine our backgrounds of health, sustainability and cannabis in a kind of one-stop shop for a therapeutic product for our audience that we had already built.”

For Madle, CBD met the “triple bottom line,” offering economic, social and environmental benefits.

“The plant itself has so many more uses outside of just the medical component and what it does for the soil, what it does for the crop rotation,” he said.

And while the environmental components excited Madle, the health components are what attracted Birney.

“One of my first questions, was why does this help so many different people? Is it a snake oil? The same things other people ask,” Birney said. “It’s a great question and I wanted to know how it worked.”

Those questions led to seminars and research as well as conversations with doctors that led to an understanding of how the endocannabinoid system works in people, and how CBD receptors work to alleviate everything from pain to anxiety to depression.

All in, the couple launched a product line of herbal-infused full-spectrum CBD in which they set out to differentiate themselves from some of the major players who had already saturated much of the market.

So, while many of the bigger name brands and other startups were doing nothing more than commonplace white-labeling, or using the same ingredients as the other products on the market, Birney and Madle went down their own road and focused on healthy and synergistic natural additives vs. artificial. That includes using salmon oil in their pet oil to non-GMO, vegan ingredients in their non-psychoactive CBD oils.

They also decided to put an emphasis on transparency, and placed QR codes on their products so consumers can scan their product and see test results to gain peace of mind that they are buying a legitimate product.

Related: MLive investigates CBD claims as unregulated products flood Michigan

“We just really wanted to be true to our kind of passions and bring in what we’d studied growing up, but also abroad, herbs and superfoods and come up with some very unique products from the beginning,” Madle said. “We’ve also been very picky with wholesalers which I think has helped validate the brand in some ways.

“We want to be in places where patrons are health-minded and the staff is as well because we want them to represent the band and be able to answer questions about our product. You aren’t going to buy medicine or get a trustworthy opinion about a product at a gas station, for instance.”

Birney and Madle have no plans or desire for their own brick and mortar store, given the ability to reach people online and work with wholesalers across the state. But their products can be found in a growing number of select provisioning centers around Michigan, including at Herbology and KKind in Kalamazoo, Lake Effect in Portage, Rare in Muskegon as well numerous spots in Ann Arbor and Lansing.

Products can also be ordered online at bloomingbotanicalshemp.com, where one can also find fun recipes such as for CBD mocktails, hummus and smoothies and the like.

Portions of all purchases are donated to the Association Community Carbon Trees, an organization that combats climate change and counteracts deforestation in Costa Rica, while providing wildlife corridors and growing biodiverse habitats in a country that Madle and Birney have close ties to.

The couple also works with a multitude of other nonprofits close to their heart, including Last Prisoner Project, which focuses on cannabis justice reform; Backline, which offers mental health services to music industry professionals; and recently The Trevor Project, which provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to members of the LGBTQ+ community under the age of 25.

“We’re always looking for good organizations that are doing the jobs they say they are at the community level and beyond,” Birney said.

As they continue to grow, Blooming Botanicals plans to introduce a CBG tincture later this summer. Also non-psychoactive, CBG has been used to help people with GI issues and boost energy levels, Madle said.

Additionally, the couple is currently working on licensing agreements and has plans to market medical and recreational marijuana lines later this year, with the same mission of focusing on holistic products. The company, which currently gets all of its hemp from Colorado, intends to partner with another licensed growing operation in Michigan for its cannabis, Madle said.

To keep up with the business, follow Blooming Botanicals on Facebook or Instagram. Madle and Birney will also be talking about their products and giving out free samples at an upcoming vendor day in Kalamazoo. The event, from 1-5 p.m., Saturday, July 10, will take place at Herbology, 1986 S. Sprinkle Rd.

In addition, the couple will be on site at Lighthouse Provisioning Center, 704 S. Garfield Ave., in Traverse City on July 24 as the center celebrates one year in business. Blooming Botanicals will also have a presence at the Barefoot & Free Yoga Festival, scheduled for Aug. 7-9 at Proud Lake State Park in Commerce.

Also on MLive:

Whitmer bans government funds for conversion therapy on minors, calls for practice to be outlawed in Michigan

Man who served more than 20 years in marijuana case has sentenced commuted by governor

Michigan native Lindsay Lou brings music, mental health awareness to the virtual stage

KKind: Kalamazoo’s first recreational marijuana shop opens despite coronavirus

Herbology expands to recreational marijuana sales at Kalamazoo location

New Michigan law doesn’t mean vets are going to prescribe marijuana to your pets

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