Crippled with chronic health conditions, Jade Proudman was at her lowest when she found Charlotte’s Web CBD oil. Now she’s an industry expert helping thousands of others across the world.
If anyone knows about CBD it’s Jade Proudman.
The founder of Savage Cabbage back in 2016 she was one of the first on the scene when the UK industry was just emerging.
As the official UK distributor of the world famous Charlotte’s Web hemp oil for the last four years, she has become a trusted voice – and a friendly face – for thousands of people living with chronic health conditions.
But it was Jade’s own ill-health that led her here.
Diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS/ME) at the age of 14 she has battled with a bill of health issues for most of her life.
But things came to a head in 2012 when she collapsed at home, experiencing slow transit gut motility. She was rushed to hospital where she underwent a series of emergency surgeries and was left with a temporary stoma. Over the next year Jade’s health declined rapidly, to the point where doctors told her husband and three sons to say their goodbyes.
“I was in hospital fighting for my life, my family said their farewells, it was quite catastrophic,” said Jade, now 40.
She underwent 10 surgeries in the space of 12 months before having an ‘overwhelming’ ME relapse and was diagnosed with reactive arthritis and epilepsy.
Jade was left with a daily cocktail of strong prescription drugs to manage her pain, as well as the various complications she had been left with.
“I wasn’t coping incredibly well with the 16 plus pharmaceutical medications that I took on a daily basis,” she said.
“It would be morphine for breakfast, dihydrocodeine for lunch, then medication to stop me feeling sick and ibuprofen which burned through my guts and gave me peptic ulcers.
“I’d been left in a very rubbish situation while I was in chronic pain all the time and the pain relief wasn’t really working, it just made me dosey. It was not nice.”
She continued: “My husband was dispensing my medication, cutting up my food, lifting and carrying me to the loo.
“I got to a point where I just asked him to help bump me off.”
Of course, Jade’s husband didn’t agree.
Instead he suggested they watch the CNN documentary Weed, with Dr Sanjar Gupta which followed the story of American schoolgirl Charlotte Figi.
Charlotte’s Web CBD was founded by the Stanley Brothers in her name, after the family discovered hemp oil could be used to treat her symptoms caused by a form of epilepsy, Dravet Syndrome.
Despite being sceptical about cannabis beforehand, Jade thought maybe it could help her too.
“I was scared of cannabis, I tried it in my youth and hated it and had avoided it ever since,” she said.
“I was apprehensive but I thought if it works for this little girl, what have I got to lose?”
Not knowing how else to access the product, Jade tweeted Joel Stanley asking for his help. He got straight back to her and within 10 days a Charlotte’s Web care package was on her doorstep.
“After 24 hours of using the oil I was basically morphine-free for the first time in two and a half years, and I haven’t haven’t looked back since,” Jade said.
“It was literally a sea change that completely altered my perception on things.
“My sons got their mum back.”
But she continued: “Then I panicked because I thought ‘what to do when I run out?
“There were people I knew in a similar situation to me, and I wanted to tell them about it but how would they get it?”
The solution was Savage Cabbage, which she set up initially to safeguard her own supply and help a few friends with health conditions.
That was June 2016. Now she supplies CBD products to 6,000 people in 44 countries across the globe.
Her husband, and later her parents, all gave up their jobs to cope with the demand.
However, at the heart of it all remains a firm commitment to helping people. Since they started the Savage Cabbage has donated £75,000 worth of products to people who can’t afford it or are in dire circumstances.
“That’s a founding pillar that I pride myself on and one of the big reasons why I wanted to do this,” she said.
“When I started to look into it, there was nowhere to go for help, so I went to find out about it so I could be the person who can signpost and guide others.”
Jade built strong links with the Stanley Brothers and other industry experts, travelling to America to learn from leading doctors and scientists first-hand and keep up with the ever-changing cannabis landscape.
As well as Charlotte’s Web, Miriam’s Hemp and leading Jamacian brand Jacana, they have recently produced their own range of CBD and are preparing to branch out to the American market, with the launch of Savage Cabbage US later this year.
But Jade still battles with her own health – and the stigma of living with an invisible illness – and takes CBD daily saying she ‘couldn’t function without it’.
“I do have my bad days and I have to manage my energy levels carefully,” she said.
“There’s always a troll somewhere ready to leap out and say something like ‘you don’t look unwell’ – but I don’t post pictures of myself throwing up on Facebook.”
It is only thanks to the support of her family with other aspects of the business, she says, that she is able to reserve her energy to focus on what matters to her – building relationships with her customers.
“I didn’t know I was setting up a business, I thought I was setting up a community,” she added.
“My main focus is still on people, on building a community of support and enabling people to get to know each other, so they know where they’re not on their own.”
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