Nick French has a dozen beehives on seventy acres of a Colorado hemp farm. With these bees, he has harnessed the power of three super foods to create his Colorado Hemp Honey. Containing whole CBD hemp extract, as well as essential oils for flavoring and aromatherapy, the locally grown line of raw honeys packs a powerful healing punch.
French brought his bees to the hemp farm long before he had visions of honey jars. "The goal was to increase seed production," he remembers. "The DEA and U.S. government regulate all the viable hemp seed that comes into the country. Basically, you can't import hemp seed until you get approved by the DEA. So farmers here have to save their seeds and plant them again. It drove the seed prices up over $4,000 a pound last year; some farmers were forced to pay as much as $10 bucks a seed."
Then the bees saved the day. "We were hired by Hemp Farm Colorado to come in and put bees on the hemp to increase seed production," French reports. "Hemp is wind-pollinated, but wind pollination doesn't guarantee seed production, especially not in this volume."
This peaceful, symbiotic relationship between bees and hemp flowers isn't news: Bees have basically dominated the seed-production game for 150 million years. "The bees were all over the hemp, it was amazing," recalls French, whose bees are distributed throughout the metro area. "Within 25 miles of Denver, there are over forty hives, forty colonies that we have from Parker to north Denver. So there are about six different apiaries, and they range from backyard beekeeping to 27 acres, to small orchards in Greenwood Village. Last year, I had them near Wash Park."
This locally sourced beekeeping pays off, as the super-food effects of raw honey are most powerful when you're ingesting honey made by bees in your neighborhood. "You should find honey produced as close to home as possible because the honey will have those pollens in the air that might cause seasonal allergies," notes French. "You're desensitizing your body to those local pollens. A spoonful of honey is like medicine when you are using locally sourced, raw honey."
A former Marine, French has been producing raw honey for seven years. Raw honey is a super food on its own, but he got curious about what would happen if it also contained the healing benefits of CBDs. A few years ago French was approached by a local advocacy group, and he started learning about the health benefits of industrial hemp. Since CBD is not THC, there's no psychoactive high involved, nor does the resulting product fall under regulatory rules enforced by the Marijuana Enforcement Division, Colorado's government branch that regulates cannabis. But CBD is still touted as helping stomach and anti-inflammatory problems, among other maladies.
"Honey's healing powers revolve around seasonal allergy relief, digestive aid, enzymes," notes French. "So why not take that and infuse it with hemp extract, with the healing powers of pain-relief, anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, cancer-fighting properties? I started to infuse the two of these, then my wife, who is an aromatherapist, added the idea of essential oils. So now we have the flavors of raw CBD honey, like mandarin, lemon." It's like three layers of super foods in one tiny jar!
Industrial hemp has what is called an "entourage effect" of benefits, so a consumer also enjoys the benefits of the terpine and the plant product itself — and many argue that hemp contains more healing benefits than just the CBD.
French's Marine background comes into play when dealing with veterans suffering from PTSD. "I have a passion for wanting to help soldiers with anxiety, PTSD," he explains. "Honestly, anyone who has been through something traumatic, whether it be rape, car injuries, head injuries. Another partner of mine is Eric Peter; he does a lot of work with veterans with tension-release exercises, meditation, yoga. There was one instance of a Vietnam vet who hadn't slept well in nearly forty years; he worked with him and he now sleeps like a baby."
Colorado Hemp Honey will make anyone sleep like a baby. In our experience, a little goes a long way. This is a comforting carrier for CBD, to put in tea or simply eat as a honey stick. "We're just trying to make super foods, healing foods and help the save the bees," French continues. "That's how I got into beekeeping. I started an Adopt a Honey Bee program and I sell shares, and people get a certificate and a jar of honey. They're helping to support honey bees in Colorado, vital to the economy and vitalization of our food supply."
With a business that's already grown from one to forty hives, the sky's the limit. But French is just glad he could help both bees and the hemp industry. "The industry is so great, I'm really glad I got involved in it," he says. "Everyone really wants to help." Learn more about Colorado Hemp Honey and purchase some for yourself on their website.