With its farm-to-table philosophy, Juna creates all-natural, full-spectrum hemp and cannabis products from flowers that have been grown organically, without the use of chemicals and herbicides. In fact, some of the farms the California-based company works with supply produce to Michelin-starred restaurants.
As a result, Juna’s products—specifically its Nude Hemp CBD tincture—contain a cornucopia of active floral-botanical compounds including antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, terpenes, vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients. As well, the company, founded by former pastry chef and chocolatier Jewel Zimmer, lab tests all of its product to ensure a clean, consistent experience.
Asked why she has a hemp CBD product as part of her offerings, Jewel says, “Hemp was and is more approachable to the consumer. … if you’re like me and choose a full-spectrum hemp product, you will get the other 80-plus beneficial botanical active ingredients that the plant offers.”
HelloMD interviewed Jewel to find out more about how she started Juna as well as why its hemp CBD, which ships nationwide, can help with issues ranging from inflammation and pain to anxiety and acne.
Tell us more about Juna, in particular your hemp line. What’s the philosophy that the company is built on?
Jewel Zimmer: Juna hemp is inspired by the blurring of boundaries between beauty, wellness, food and pleasure. Coming from a food background, understanding the source of any ingredient is paramount—who’s farming, how are they farming, the terroir, the seeds, everything.
This helps us understand the quality of the product, including aroma, taste and efficacy, before it even goes to the lab or onto the plate. What’s also important is truly understanding the capabilities and chemical structure of the ingredient: What can we do with it, and what effect will that have on the ingredient itself, the product and the consumer.
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How did you transition from being a fine-dining pastry chef, making pastries and artisanal chocolates, into creating products in the cannabis industry?
JZ: Honestly, I transitioned out of the restaurant world and into the chocolate world more seriously when I became a mother. It didn’t make sense to raise a baby "on table 25" in the dining room all day. I had a passion for chocolate, so I launched my own company with the same values and principles I used when I was a pastry chef: celebrating the ingredient inside and out. Making sure every piece of its composition—from the aroma, flavor and texture—were highlighted.
But I took it a step further with chocolate and worked with a chemist in France to extract the naturally occurring botanical actives, mood enhancers and polyphenol antioxidants from the cacao bean. I then emulsified them back into couverture chocolate, reclaiming cacao’s botanical purpose. I launched nationally with Barneys New York, and from there I had a cult following for activated chocolate from here to Japan. I was essentially the Moon Juice of chocolate in 2009.
In 2015, when cannabis edibles started to be more readily available in California, I started to see the plant as a botanical—something I could introduce to others as a wellness supplement. But still, in 2015, cannabis still had a strong stoner stereotype, and a lot of people were apprehensive at the idea of looking at cannabis as a daily supplement.
So, I spent the next year and a half researching and learning as much as I could about the plant in every way. This was all in an effort to design a product that celebrated the botanical actives in the cannabis plant the way I had celebrated the botanicals in cacao, while also making sure it was approachable to an emerging consumer.
Tell us about your tincture called “Nude” that’s cannabidiol (CBD) derived from hemp. Why did you decide to create a hemp-derived tincture in addition to your tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) tinctures?
JZ: I realized during a few months of sampling my THC products with diverse groups in the San Francisco Bay Area that the majority of our groups were curious, but apprehensive about using cannabis. They needed to know they could function at work, home, with their kids and so on. So most people were requesting CBD products because they were non-psychoactive, and yet they were still experiencing a lifted and calm sensation with CBD.
The second piece was that almost no one wanted to shop in a dispensary and were on the fence with delivery services. A few members of our group had ordered from reputable cannabis delivery companies where a young “kid” in a beat-up Honda would show up with a package. It felt strange to them.
The same question kept coming up: "Are you sure I can’t just buy this CBD at the spa or on your website—basically anywhere but a dispensary?”
And that’s when I started to explore hemp CBD. Hemp was and is more approachable to the consumer from a purchasing experience if that consumer didn’t or couldn’t have a dispensary experience. The compound CBD is the same whether it comes from cannabis or hemp, so this took me back to sourcing: exploring states that had mastered hemp farming and the process of finding quality, pure origin, whole-plant hemp oil rich in CBD.
What are the main benefits of your Nude hemp CBD tincture?
JZ: CBD is known for its potent anti-inflammatory benefits. It activates internal receptors to release the body’s stressors, engage the mind, lift the spirit and promote overall well-being. Its entire job is to create homeostasis in the body—so the CBD works where it’s needed. Most people feel a focused calm when they take our Nude hemp CBD tincture.
Is CBD derived from hemp comparable to CBD that comes from the cannabis marijuana plant? What’s the difference?
JZ: The hemp plant itself is a variety of cannabis sativa, but its slightly different in physical and chemical structure. It naturally produces almost no THC and is also very fibrous, making it great for use in other industries such as textile.
It’s important to keep in mind that no cannabis or hemp plant is created equal. Much like grapes for wine, terroir and variety (seed strain) change the cannabinoid and terpene footprint, offering a different physical and mental experience.
What hemp-derived products do you like and why?
JZ: With hemp CBD, the product possibilities are endless. It’s great when taken internally for inflammation, pain and mood. But it’s also incredible when used topically. It’s known for its an anti-acne properties , and it helps reduce redness, puffiness and fine lines in your skin.
And if you’re like me and choose a full-spectrum hemp product, you will get the other 80-plus beneficial botanical active ingredients that the plant offers. After a day on your feet, this is the best topical massage ingredient there is.
Can anyone from anywhere purchase the Nude hemp CBD tincture?
JZ: Hemp CBD is currently available in most states in the U.S. as long as it’s lab tested and is proven to have less than .03% THC. This assures the functionality of the product.
Do you have advice for anyone who wants to purchase CBD derived from hemp?
JZ: Please read labels carefully. Make sure the products you buy are transparent about not using chemicals, and keep your eye on two things: full-spectrum, or whole-plant, extracts vs. isolates. They are very different and will have different effects.
An isolate is just CBD, with all of the other actives in the plant having been distilled out. This is necessary for some products like water and even some topicals.
But if you want to experience the entire hemp plant and the other 80-plus beneficial botanical active ingredients the plant offers, go for the whole plant, or full spectrum. Especially in this case, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Photo credit (left image): Enric Martinez