Thursday, 17 January 2019

LoveGrown Hemp helps pave the way for Maine farmers – Daily Bulldog

Erica Haywood examines a cannabis plant at the LoveGrown farm. (Photo courtesy of LoveGrown website)

FARMINGTON – The Farmington Farmer’s Market welcomed a new vendor last season, offering something slightly different in the world of local/organic products. LoveGrown Hemp offers MOFGA-certified hemp products that range from tinctures to tea to infused honey, all with the purpose of holistic healing.

Haywood found her way to the healing properties of hemp after helping her partner through a long struggle with prescribed medication as the result of a severe accident. The dark time of his addiction nearly tore them apart completely, Haywood said, until they began replacing the pills with the CBD-rich hemp flower.

“The world of cannabis was brand new to me. I had only smoked marijuana a couple times in college, experimental only, I had never really gotten into it,” Haywood said.

Haywood began helping her partner out with growing the medical marijuana at their home. With her green thumb, the plants began to thrive, and the two became licensed caregivers.

From there LoveGrown Hemp grew, and now offers not only CBD products that are proven to relieve anxiety and pain, but also one on one consultations, and support for other hemp farmers in the state. Haywood works closely with doctors to prescribe products based on a client’s needs- the complete opposite of her former job as a contracts negotiator for pharmaceutical companies where she basically helped prescribe client needs for the product that would pay the most money.

Haywood studied biology and chemistry at the University of Maine at Farmington. She had planned to be a biology teacher, but ended up disliking the profession once she got into the classroom. From there she apprenticed as a dessert and lunch chef at the Homestead, doing as much gardening as possible in her free time.

“It just suddenly all came together. Growing plants, working with people, herbalism, healing…I left my job in 2012 and I haven’t worked for anyone else ever since,” she said.

This is the third year that LoveGrown has been an official “seeds in the ground” business, and the market is rapidly expanding. As one of the first hemp growers in the state, and still one of only 10 who are offering “crop to drop” products, Haywood has been instrumental in helping other farmers get off the ground. The business provides seeds to other farmers, and even offers room under their umbrella organization- all in the name of providing high quality products to customers, Haywood said.

“CBD/hemp products are extremely unregulated. The government hasn’t really come in on it yet. It’s been hard to find a way forward, but I’m confident we found it,” she said.

Many people get confused when talking about the differences between CBD and THC- the chemical compound that results in the “high” feeling of consuming marijuana. While they are both cannabinoids, the results of ingesting are dramatically different. Haywood likened them to different dog breeds- same species, drastically different characteristics.

One of the biggest differences between the two is CBD’s potent anti-inflammatory effect. Anxiety, Haywood said, is just inflammation of the brain. When someone ingests CBD it can provide mental clarity, focus and more energy.

“The biggest thing I want people to know is to source locally. With no state or federal regulations, it’s important to trust your source. Are you going to trust a product made in Las Vegas more than one made in Maine? Probably not,” Haywood said.

For more information about LoveGrown Hemp, click here.

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