Sara Rotman Talks Wellfounded Botanicals And Cannabis Health

When it comes to the modern world of cannabis products, there is a wide selection available to consumers in legal states.

But not all products are created equal.

While cannabidiol (CBD) products have become popular and marketable products over the past several years, certain producers value making clean, consistent, and effective products over increasing profit margins.

Sara Rotman had never been one to use cannabis regularly.

She had tried it in social settings but was not a habitual user and considered herself an avid anti-smoker.

When Cannabis Use Becomes a Medical Necessity

But Sara’s view on cannabis changed after her life took an unexpected turn; she was diagnosed with life-threatening Crohn’s disease.

When conventional medicine couldn’t adequately treat Sara’s symptoms, she turned to cannabis, which she says saved her life in more than one way.

Sara says that she found relief in high concentrations of full-spectrum CBD and delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which enabled her to manage pain and calm chronic inflammation.

Sara also says that cannabis oil benefitted her skin, reducing redness and producing a calm, healthy glow.

One particular individual whom Sara says helped with her Crohn’s disease was Dr. Henry Han.

The Dose Makes The Medicine

Sara says that a primary focus of Dr. Han’s was “just getting enough cannabis into people’s bodies to really be effective.”

Dr. Han told Sara that people living with chronic illnesses need an incredible amount of cannabinoids to produce the kind of good they want.

“Generally speaking, it’s hard to do, and it’s one of the things that really figured into the way that we developed our products,” says Sara. “Because we wanted to really make sure we have enough medicine in the bottle. So we always have over 1,000 cannabinoids in the bottle. Whether it’s our 1:1 ratio for our 30ml tinctures…we have 600 milligrams of THC and 600 of CBD. That’s really so people can get enough medicine in their body.”

With a Crohn’s disease diagnosis, Sara’s interest in growing and consuming organic food became a physical imperative.

Food as Medicine

A self-proclaimed foodie, Sara says she had been very interested in the quality of her food, but her health conditions made it an absolute necessity, vital to her survival.

Only weeks before Sara was in the hospital with renal failure, she and Nate had purchased a farm in Santa Barbara, California.

When Sara returned home from the hospital, she focused on using food to help control her symptoms.

But the land wasn’t immediately ready for the growing that Sara and Nate wanted to do.

The land needed some remediation before they could properly farm it.

At the time, Sara says they couldn’t even grow a blade of grass in the soil due to its poor quality.

Sara says she and Nate spent three years working to heal the soil.

They bought animals and began rotating crops, eventually bringing the land back to life.

“We had sort of this really grand vegetable garden that we sort of put in,” says Sara. “While we waited for the balance of the farm, to restore its soil, we brought in soil just for those garden boxes. We started growing chickens, and cows, and pigs, and goats for our own milk and meat. We even have access to the most amazing fresh fish out of the ocean. So we were very, very fortunate to have this property and to live where we live.”

Sara says that the diversity of what they can grow on the farm is almost infinite.

Sara and Nate started a collective and began growing cannabis, wanting to do things the right way and be as legally compliant as possible.

Quality is Priority

Having experienced a range of varying effects from inconsistent and contaminated medicinal cannabis products, Sara and Nate strove to produce consistent quality plants.

“I think there’s a lot of legitimate frustration and anxiety about how cumbersome the regulations are,” says Sara. “But when you’ve been a patient who received so many bad batches of medicine that were really detrimental in some cases, like getting arsenic poisoning was something that happened to me, that’s bad,” says Sara. “When you live though that, you start to really be grateful for the Prop 64, you know, all the stuff we live under.”

Sara says that, early on, they committed to making safe, reliable medicine their number one goal.

But they also sought to educate the skeptics and nay-sayers.

“I think it’s important to changing the minds of people who are anti- because they’re very loud and they still exist, and they create a lot of problems for farmers like me or brands like mine,” says Sara. “We started this brand and this farm to create medicine to make me well and to hopefully increase wellness for others who are seeking similar things.”

Sara says that, while necessary to survive and keep working, making money has never been the primary goal, but quality and consistency were.

“I think when you have that goal, it’s a different set of business imperatives that you go in with,” says Sara. “The product is the most important thing; the quality of the flower that we grow, the flower that we put into our products. We grow using all organic practices. That’s not a law but that’s a very important thing for us. It’s harder and it’s more expensive, but we think it means a much safer, healthier product.”

Spreading the Love

What started as a personal quest for wellness turned into a viable way to provide clean medicine to other patients.

“In the beginning, it was just growing medicine for us and for our fellow patients, and kind of learning how to do that well,” says Sara. “It sort of, by necessity, had not only become something that we learned how to do well, but we had to learn how to do it in a way that we could afford to eat and create this medicine. And so at that point, it really naturally just becomes a business. You’re either a hobbyist or you’re running a business, and we were doing it at enough scale where it had to become a business. Just to be able to pay for our licensing, it has to be a rather successful business.”

And Wellfounded Botanicals was born.

Without chemical and biological expertise, Sara and Nate worked very closely with a lab in Sacramento to develop their formulas under their strict criteria.

“There’s so many scientific challenges, especially on the ingestibles, how to get accurate dosing,” says Sara. “We’ve been working really, really hard as we develop our capsules. Because accurate dosing is one of our top priorities for the brand, just so all consumer and users can feel confident in what they’re taking and get a consistent experience from one day to the next on products.”

Positive Results

While Wellfounded Botanicals products haven’t been on the market for very long, Sara says they have provided relief for patients.

Sara says that a family member with Parkinson’s disease has experienced great relief from their products, with a reduction in tremors, better relaxation, improved sleep, and reduced anxiety.

In addition to providing accurate dosing and producing clean and effective medicine, sourcing all of their plant-based ingredients within 100 miles of the farm was a top priority for Sara and Nate.

Rather than using MCT oil, commonly imported from Brazil, they opted to use locally sourced safflower oil, a cover crop in California.

Safflower oil has heart-healthy and anti-inflammatory properties, says Sara, which are important to her and Nate.

“So we really insisted that we start with some of those things,” says Sara. “We flavored our tinctures, for example, with pomegranate extract, which is another fruit that grows readily here but not in most other places in the world. So the sort of hyper-local attitude towards the development of our product was really important. We use spirulina and matcha tea in our capsules, again, making sure that everything we bottle has its own holistic benefit for human beings, and in our case, sometimes canines.”

Local Sources, Quality Ingredients

Sara says that their ingredients must come from local sources for simplicity and a meaningful, positive impact.

“I don’t want it to be confusing to people,” says Sara regarding wellness regimes. “It should be very simple, very easy to understand. Sometimes I see these things that are labeled happy time or sleepy time or work time and I have no idea what that means. What I want to know is, when I take a full dropper of my 20:1 tincture, that I get two milligrams of THC and 100 milligrams of CBD, or whatever it is, and that works for me if I take it four or five times a day. And that the same bottle will be the same bottle the next I go buy.”

Often working with first-time cannabis users, Sara says creating a central experience with their products was very important.

“It (cannabis) is a beautiful substance for all of your senses,” says Sara. “You get that body relaxation, and the mental relaxation, and the elevated mood, and you sleep better, which means you feel better. As I said, many of the people that come to our brand are coming for the first time. Maybe they have soreness from sports, they are getting into middle age, maybe 40s and 50s, maybe they just want to play hard on the weekend and they don’t want to be drinking. All of these things are super valid. But I think, again, understanding what you’re putting in your body makes for a much more positive experience. Especially if you can repeat it next time.”

Of all the cannabis products from Wellfounded Botanicals and others, Sara says that she prefers tinctures for their flexibility and ease of dosage control.

“So for me, that’s sort of the super high watermark, but it’s not the only thing,” says Sara. “I also really like topicals, because I come from that world. And I really love skincare, and I love the sensuality.”

Looking Forward

In addition to the current lineup of products Sara and Nate produce through Wellfounded Botanicals, they are looking at adding something new and exciting in the coming year.

“We’re working on developing a fragrance,” says Sara. “So that’s coming out, hopefully in September. It’s like a THC fragrance where we actually have THC in an atomizer. So that will be a topical, but also in the air and atmospheric, almost like aroma therapy but with THC present.”

Sara and Nate are working with a Parisian perfumer they’ve tasked with capturing the terroir of their farm.

“It’s all based on the atmosphere that we’ve been so mixed in,” says Sara. “With fresh cannabis flower notes, our coastal sage, and eucalyptus, and sea air.”

Wellfounded Botanicals is adding topical products to the company lineup as well with the release of its Relief Body Balm, made with CBD, THC, safflower seed oil, jojoba oil, and shea butter.

There’s also a facial oil that Sara says has anti-inflammatory, anti-redness, and antimicrobial effects.

Looking forward, Sara says that Wellfounded Botanicals is also looking to produce beverages at a later date.