#123 – Jamie Hall, Author of Alternative Alchemy and Cooking with Cannabis and CBD
All right. Thank you for joining us. I’m Jenn Procacci. And I’m joined today by Jamie Hall. She’s the founder of Alternative Alchemy, a California-based baked goods company. She first started experimenting with CBD baking when she experienced postpartum depression. She has an amazing publication. It’s called Alternative Alchemy: Recipes and Mindful Baking with CBD, Herbs, and Adaptogens. We’re gonna be talking about her book and about her journey with CBD and cannabis. But first, I just want to let you know that if you think the CBD School Podcast sounds great, thanks the guys at The Base Sound Creations. Whether you’re thinking about getting into podcasting or you already have a show, I highly recommend getting in touch with them. They’ll help you with stuff like sound editing, publishing, distribution, promotion, content analysis, tech support, and so much more. They can do production aspects, and they can really take your show to a another level of quality and visibility. So if you’re interested in checking them out, you can email them at [email protected] And make sure to use the coupon code MYPOCASTNOW because you’ll get a free 30-minute consultation. You can also visit thebasesound.com/podcasting and start podcasting the right way now.
All right. Jamie, are you here with us today?
Thank you so much for joining us. Where are you broadcasting from this morning?
I’m in Los Angeles.
Oh, great. I’m up here in Northern California. So same state but two worlds away.
Where are you in Northern California?
So I’m up in Mendocino County and in a small town called Covelo. I actually live outside of that town up in the mountains.
Oh, wow. That’s awesome. Okay. We’ve done like Arcata, stuff like that.
Oh, Arcata. So that’s up in Humboldt.
Yes. My sister in law went to school in Humboldt County.
Oh, nice at Humboldt State University?
She did. Yes. It’s very beautiful there.
They’re an amazing place. We’re very lucky up here. Lots of natural splendor. And lots of cannabis, that means lots of CBD.
And that leads me to my first question for you. It’s something I like to ask everyone, which is just what’s your personal relationship with cannabis?
That’s such an interesting question. I mean, it’s kind of difficult to answer in some ways for me, so I think of myself as a little outside of the box. I mean, certainly I, you know, as a kid, recreationally, tried cannabis and things like that, and on and off throughout my adulthood. But it’s never been my preferred thing, traditional THC. I like wine. But I’ve really developed quite a relationship with CBD and sort of trying to point out the differences has been an interesting journey for me. So, a very dedicated CBD user and occasional THC user, but much more of a relationship with CBD, I guess.
Well, there’s no problem there at all because CBD is a huge component of the cannabis plant. I’m a cannabis cultivator. I have a legal farm up here in Northern California in addition to doing podcasting and another radio show called The Cannabis Hour up here on public radio. And we grow everything from THC-rich strains, all the way to strains that are so low in THC and so high in CBD, that they’re like borderline legal. I definitely would consider you a member of our cannabis community. So thanks. And I really appreciate people like you that do the work of sort of taking cannabis more into the mainstream with your cookbook. It’s a really beautiful publication. You’re kind enough to send me one. And I just want to tell our listeners how absolutely gorgeous it is. It’s so tastefully designed and the photographs are beautiful. I’m also an artist. So I really appreciate just how visually pleasing this book is. It’s very bras.
I worked with a really talented photographer, and beauty sort of exudes from everything she touches. And we did that styling of the book together. And it was such a wonderful experience. And she’s a fellow mom and we have sort of similar mentality as in children that are roughly the same ages, and so it was such a nice experience. We shot it at her house and a lot of it is her stuff and we just had a wonderful time.
Motherhood: A Journey to CBD
Oh, that’s great. You mentioned motherhood. And I know in your book in the introduction, it talks about how becoming a mom actually led you on the path to this journey that you are on now with CBD. Would you mind telling us about that?
So I had my first first child in 2012, my daughter. And I think that sometimes when we’re really in something, which I would also classify this pandemic time in my life to be very similar to that, you don’t realize that it’s hard, that It’s troublesome. It’s just kind of your day to day. And so when my daughter was a few months old, I started to realize that I wasn’t unhappy. So I wouldn’t have noticed it as depression. But I was very, very anxious, which is a component of that. And I started to realize that if I could just chill out a little bit, and be more present, I would really be this better version of myself. And so I became, you know, very dedicated to trying to get back to that and figure out how I could do that.
And I was very shocked to realize that, you know, after having a natural childbirth and everything else, I was very fortunate to be able to do that, and you know, spend tons of money learning how to naturally nurse my child and everything. Because it’s one of those things that despite it being natural, at least for me, it was not easy, that the doctors and everyone else were so set on, “Okay, well, if you’re feeling any way except, great, here’s the pharmaceutical, antidepressant that we prescribed to everybody.” And that just felt for me really counterintuitive to everything I had been going for up until that point. And it was really scary at that point, like I wasn’t eating dairy because I was afraid it would keep my baby up at night, because maybe her stomach couldn’t handle dairy. I mean, you’re just in such a weird spot as a new parent. Just to the idea of, you know, putting a pill in there and not knowing, you know, whether or not it was going to just destroy her or make everything better. It was really scary.
And so I became very committed to this idea of finding something that was a little bit more natural that I could really keep closer to me than then I felt like a pill, a prescription pill, would have allowed me to do. And my husband really, he was the first one that suggested THC. And so when we moved back to California, it had just been legalized. And that’s kind of where I started. And I would do tinctures at night, but I respond to, like, barely any THC. And it’s like, I’ve had a lot of it. And that’s just something I’ve learned about myself. And not everyone is like that. But I didn’t feel comfortable being, you know, alone in the middle of the day with my baby, and you know, not knowing how I was going to react on a given day, even though I was really working on dosing myself, you know, micro-dosing with THC in an effective way. It just was always a little bit too much.
And we ended up finding out about CBD. Was pretty early at that point. I knew very little about it. And we ended up reading a lot about Charlotte’s Web, because that was the one that we could kind of find the most information about at that point. And I felt really comfortable with it because I didn’t feel like it had a stigma around it. And I don’t have — again, certainly, recreational use of THC is great. But I just really felt comfortable with CBD. And it ended up being exactly what I needed. I mean, we all are different. And for whatever reason, CBD was exactly what I was looking for. I mean, it, you know, turned off all the right switches and turned on all the right ones. So that’s how I got here.
That’s fantastic. Thank you for sharing that story of your journey with us. I think a lot of people can relate to struggling with using cannabis trying to find relief from mental stress or health problems. And really, there is a lot of kind of experimenting that you have to do before you find something that works for you. And something that I really love about legalization is that people have more resources for products that are —
Yes, I could not agree with you more. I am actually really looking forward now that I don’t have infants that are completely dependent on me for every single part of their day in life, to be able to experiment with, you know, things that are, you know, a little higher in THC. I’m really excited about that. Having the ability to do that now in a way that I feel comfortable. So that’s one of the things that I’m actually putting on my New Year’s resolution list this year.
Oh, that’s wonderful. Do you mind if I asked you how you did find out about CBD? You mentioned that your husband’s sort of brought up cannabis and THC wasn’t the right thing for you. But then you sort of found out about CBD.
So my husband’s family is all from Mexico. He is first-generation American and actually we talked to his dad and his dad brought up the idea of without knowing the specifics of it, but you know, referenced that his grandmother had always had hemp-based versions of tinctures that she used, you know, in Mexico and and that that was something that he had grown up with, like if he couldn’t sleep and whatever. And he gave us just enough information about that for us to start looking into what that would have been and that was kind of how we got to the Charlotte’s Web of things. Because initially we were trying to figure out, you know, how we could create something like that ourselves and what would go into that. And that’s something that I would maintain an interest in trying to get better about, like, you know, actually like growing and making things myself in the way of like oils and tinctures. But we haven’t gotten there yet. But that was kind of how we figured out that CBD was where we wanted to go with this. We started to read about it and found out about Charlotte’s Web.
Wow, that is fascinating. What you have to say about your husband’s family using the CBD tinctures in Mexico.
It’s decades ago.
It was very timely. And given my, you know, I mean, that everything, I really was fascinated by the natural at that point in my life. Like that was a really where — and I think I’ve chilled out a little bit, I still love it. But that was really where I wanted to go and be at that point in my life. And now it’s funny to look back on it. And you know, we were in the middle of New York City, and it was wintertime, and whatever. And I’m sure I was, you know, at some level, like yearning for nature in California, and so many things that I didn’t realize were also going on behind the scenes, but everything sort of fit together. And it was exactly what we wanted for that.
I actually traveled to Oaxaca several years ago. And while I was there, I got some cannabis, and it had a bunch of seeds in the bag. And I brought them back to my garden here in Northern California. And I grew them for some personal use. And they were totally… the plants were completely different from anything I’ve ever grown. And I realized that just because I procured the seed in Mexico, it doesn’t mean that strain is from Mexico or anything like that. But the plants wound up being very low in THC, and I haven’t had them tested for CBD. But now that you’re bringing up this tradition of hemp in your husband’s family, in Mexico, I’m curious to test those plants and see if they are high in CBD. And I just really look forward to the way the stigma is breaking down around cannabis. And I think we’re going to be finding out histories of cannabis use from all over the world that sort of haven’t really been brought forward much more than just in local knowledge because of the statement that’s around it.
It’s really great because it winds up people like yourself.
I mean, I have my Master’s in library and information science. So I’m an archivist. So history is definitely something that has propelled me through most of my life. And I really think like just so many parts of this were just opportunities to get back to myself. I mean, away from the “Oh, I just had a baby. And all I’m focused on is this baby and keeping this baby alive.” And you know, this gave me an opportunity to research something and get back into history and back to nature, like I said. And it really… I’m super interested, by the way. When you do test your plants, please let me know. Because that’s something I would really love to look into more like the relationship between high CBD and low and everything with the plants of different regions.
I have to say I definitely let you know. And I don’t think I even would have thought of that if you and I hadn’t had this conversation. Because I look at it from, you know, I cultivate cannabis for the legal market. You know, I love cannabis. And I look for certain things for personal use. But in terms of a commercial product, I look at it through a certain lens. And then I definitely saw that sort of went well, you know, probably not going to grow that again next year. It just didn’t have certain components that would be… I would need to have in order to bring it to the market and have it be successful. But it might have a little special something that I just didn’t anticipate.
Right. Well, I mean, when we started looking into the American history of CBD, that’s kind of what happened with CBD, anyway. They were trying to grow something else, a different strain. I can’t even think of the name that they were initially calling it — Oh, Hippies Disappointment or something. And they were like, “Oh, man, this is not what we wanted at all.” And then, you know, in hindsight, people have looked back and they’re like, “Oh, yeah, that was CBD.”