After learning about the history of the hemp plant while studying in LA, Jonathan Stefanni-Machado was inspired to help people take back control of their health and at the same time, become more conscious consumers.
“We all have that voice in our head telling us that we should do more or do less and it just helped in quieting that voice and allowing me to be more present in the moment,” said Jonathan Stefanni-Machado on his first experiences of CBD, while studying at UCLA in California in 2015.
“I don’t consider myself to be an anxious person but being in the US there was a different culture, a different way of living, and all these small daily stresses to contend with.”
Jonathan was working out five to six days a week at the time, as a semi-professional football player and was recommended CBD for inflammation.
Instead he ended up falling in love with it for how it helped him to get a longer, deeper sleep and quieted his anxieties.
But it wasn’t until he began researching the history of the cannabis plant that he felt the urge to enter the space himself.
“If you look at the course of human civilisation, we’ve been using cannabis for tens of thousands of years, but for the last 100 years it has been an outlier,” he said.
“I don’t think many people know about its history, that cannabis was a tool that we used to demonise groups of individuals, particularly minority groups and communities of colour.”
He now believes that the emergence of the CBD industry is bringing this knowledge to the fore and educating people about the false stereotypes and misconceptions which have shrouded the plant for decades.
“CBD has created an opportunity for people to engage with cannabis in ways that they haven’t before,” he continued.
“The stereotypical notion of a ‘stoner’, being a young male, who sits at home on the PlayStation, isn’t an accurate depiction of a cannabis user whatsoever, and we now have all kinds of products which are helping to change the narrative.”
He added: “I think it’s still going to take years to change the stigma, but we’re headed in the right direction.”
Treed CBD, which Jonathan launched with two university friends, was founded out of a desire to empower people to take a more holistic approach to healthcare.
“We created Treed to empower individuals to take back control over their health and their happiness, not only through hemp, but plant-based remedies as a whole,” he explained.
But their mission is a much greater one, to help create “conscious consumers”, who aren’t afraid to challenge the status quo.
“There’s so many great opportunities in the cannabis space for diversity and inclusion, we have the opportunity to do something with this industry that we haven’t done with previous ones,” said Jonathan.
“Activism is changing, it’s is being done by everyday people who speak up. There is a more of a shift towards consciousness and inclusiveness and I think cannabis sits at the heart of that as an industry.”
He added: “We’re not saying everyone has to run around being social justice warriors, but it’s just about making sure people are informed.”
And as a brand Jonathan believes Treed and others have to take some of the responsibility.
“We’re not saying that what we believe is right or wrong, but there are other narratives and there’s other ways to look at things and we want to present those different ways of looking at things, because we want to develop consciousness consumers,” he added.
“I believe that as tomorrow’s and today’s brands, it’s our responsibility to educate consumers, the reasons why the movement is growing now and to help people understand the things that have shaped the society that we live in today.”
CBD is just the tipping point for Treed, with plans to expand into other plant-based remedies and ride what Jonathan describes as the “psychedelic wave”.
“We really see the future, as taking a completely different approach towards health and wellness.
“That will start with cannabis but we’re looking beyond that and developing products like lion’s mane, mushroom blend and capsules, because we really want to be on the sort of mushroom adaptogens and this whole wave of plant remedies.
“There is a whole wave of clinical trials happening looking into how plants such as magic mushrooms can help cure things like post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) because of their impact on the brain and I believe that all of these natural plant remedies will have a sort of mainstream adoption in the next five to 10 years.
“Honestly, I just feel like cannabis is just knocking on the door for a whole range of plant-based extracts.”
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