Minority-owned business shares benefits of cbd oil

By Sarah Jameson Felder

A DESIRE TO DITCH THE prescription medications Amy Sawyer used since childhood because of the side effects the medicine caused led her to herbalism. After studying herbalism for 10 years, a friend suggested she try CBD oil. Once she tried it, Sawyer says she knew she had to share her discovery with others — but there was one, not so tiny problem. CBD oil comes from cannabis sativa and people naturally assume it’s marijuana.

It’s not.

Cannabidiol oil, or CBD oil, is a cannabinoid compound found in cannabis sativa and is extracted from hemp. To be clear, hemp is not marijuana and has no or trace amounts of the psychoactive compound THC, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. THC in marijuana creates the mind-altering high. The endocannabinoid system, which is in the central nervous system, has receptors specifically for cannabinoids.

“Since this industry is so new there’s a lot of misinformation,” Sawyer says. “That’s why we call our medicine hemp based. CBD is part of that.”

Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a bill in March 2018 legalizing CBD oil with no more than 0.3 percent THC and meets certain label requirements. 

Realizing the potential market for CBD oil, high prices and lack of transparency in labeling ingredients, Sawyer, 31, and the friend who introduced her to CBD oil Jaimeson Wright, 28, started Rooted Scales in 2018. 

“[We’re] a hemp lifestyle and wellness company based here in Indianapolis,” Sawyer says. “Our mission is to provide all natural, organic high-potency hemp products as well as educate our community on the benefits of hemp medicine,” Sawyer says.

Besides educating people on what CBD oil is — and is not — Sawyer says she helps people understand how to purchase quality products. It’s easy to be confused.

“The product needs to be healing and not have anything that would be contradictory to the healing,” Sawyer says. “For example, we keep the chlorophyll. It has a little bit of a bitter taste, and it makes the oil a brownish-green, most companies take that out.”

After noticing products on the market with confusing labels and unnecessary additives, Sawyer and Wright decided to go into business together. The planning time was all of a month.

“I think it was like a God thing,” Sawyer says. “I think it was just the time that we needed to go and just start. … Start up costs were probably $10,000. I would say that’s probably over the course of five to seven months.”

While her entry into entrepreneurship was quick, Sawyer says she’s preparing her business for long-term success by partnering with health care practitioners to offer a discount of 20 percent, and military members also receive a 45 percent discount. Sawyer also is looking forward to when Rooted Scales can grow their own hemp instead of buying it from hemp farmers, which will make her product more affordable and spell longevity for the business.

Sawyer advises new entrepreneurs to work with people you can trust, remember why you started the business and allow God to guide you — especially during the tough times — and market your business.

“Social media is a thing,” Sawyer said. “Make sure that no matter how much you don’t like it, make sure you use the marketing tools that are available for us to use as a society.

Make sure to invest in a website. … There’s just so much to know; trying to do it yourself can lead to so many more headaches.”