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An Interview with Jamie Evans, founder of The Herb Somm and author of The Ultimate Guide to CBD: Explore the World of Cannabidiol.

When I heard and read about Jamie Evans, a former wine specialist and now expert in culinary cannabis and wellness I was immediately intrigued. Wine, cannabis, fancy cocktails, and food- I’m in!

Founder of The Herb Somm blog and lifestyle brand, author of The Ultimate Guide to CBD, an educator in all things wine and cannabis, and an event host, Jamie Evans beautifully ties in the healing benefits of cannabis with some of the best things in life- food, beverages, and social gatherings. Jamie started her journey studying wine and viticulture with an emphasis in wine business at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. From there, she wandered to different wine regions of the globe to soak up more knowledge and to experience more winemaking practices. After experiencing a horrific car accident, Jamie was having trouble sleeping and wanted to heal herself holistically, this led her to the world of cannabis. Jamie realized that there were a lot of similarities between the wine world she knew so well and the cannabis world she was just starting to get acquainted with. After a couple of years studying and deep-diving into cannabis, she started her brand and blog, The Herb Somm. Since then, she has networked with some incredible people in the industry, grew her knowledge of cannabis (Visit this website for more on this), and wrote an incredible and informative book. The trend in CBD infused products has surged in recent years; it was only a matter of time before somebody combined cannabis and cocktails. You can even get cbd alcohol free drinks if you’re not a big drinker.

Jamie’s book, The Ultimate Guide to CBD is a Cannabis bible. It’s a great start for beginners, as well as, people who want to expand their cannabis practices. The Ultimate Guide to CBD takes you through the basics of Cannabis (what it is, the different terpenes, strains, etc.), has the most wonderful recipes for CBD infused meals, cocktails, and topical products and has advice and information from some of the world’s best culinary chefs, winemakers, doctors, and cannabis growers. She has lovingly and intentionally created a guide to get you on your way into the cannabis journey.

A few weeks ago, Jamie and I had a chat about her book and the ins and outs of the cannabis industry.

Photo by Chris Greenwell

Bri Vivanco: How did you get the opportunity to collaborate with so many different chefs, mixologists, cannabis experts, doctors, etc. for the book?

Jamie Evans: I started my business back in 2017 (The Herb Somm). I was networking like crazy at the beginning [stages] of The Herb Somm. Along the way, I met so many amazing people and everyone in the book is someone that I had actually met and people that have made such an impact. Everyone is a good friend of mine that I have learned so much from. Each person brings a unique perspective to cannabis and CBD in a very approachable lifestyle way. It made the book that much more special to include the voices of some amazing people who know so much about cannabis as well.

Bri: In your book, you have some amazing CBD cocktail recipes. What are the effects of combining CBD and alcohol and what are some reasons people would want CBD cocktails, other than the cool factor?

Jamie: At this point in time, we definitely need more research about the interactions between cannabis and alcohol. Combining alcohol and CBD together definitely enhances the [relaxing] effects, but again, it just depends on how your own body processes CBD. For me, CBD gives me energy, so it just depends. I do think enjoying cannabinoids in your drink is a really fun way to consume them. Rather than combining cannabis and alcohol, I think that mocktails, and cannabis drinks in general, are the future of beverages.

Bri: So, these cannabis-infused mocktails seem perfect for people who cant consume regular alcohol but still want to participate in the party atmosphere.

Jamie: They are perfect for people who are trying to be alcohol free and are living more of a healthy lifestyle in general. Drinking is such a big part of our culture so having the option of having a cannabis-infused drink is really fantastic. You can go to a party and not feel pressured to consume alcohol.

*In The Ultimate Guide to CBD, Jamie includes delicious and refreshing cocktail recipes and also, a recipe for creating your own simple syrup and bitters, both of which are infused with cannabis.

Photo by Colleen Eversman for The Ultimate Guide to CBD

Bri: How do you incorporate CBD/cannabis into your every day, wellness lifestyle?

Jamie: For me personally, my regime starts in the morning with CBD. I love to use CBD honey in my smoothie or tea and use CBD tinctures throughout the day. The tinctures do have THC in them because I fully believe in the entourage effect, (it may be like a 20:1 tincture) but I’m not getting the intoxicating effects of it, it’s more of the full benefits of that full-spectrum product. In the evening, I integrate a higher amount of THC because it really helps with my sleep, as well as CBN which is a really cool cannabinoid that is really great for sleep. It’s more of a matter of what works best for you and what cannabinoids work best for your body as well. Personally, I’m very sensitive to high amounts of THC so it was just a lot of experimentation to find the perfect ratio. I always say, start low, go slow when you first use cannabis products.

* In The Ultimate Guide to CBD, Elise Roberts gives you more information on how to find your perfect ratio.

Bri: I think it’s so great that there is a “trend” of living a clean lifestyle and there is also a light getting shed on big pharma and toxic beauty/topical products. It seems we have found one plant that kind of manages to do it all. (medicinally, topically, mentally, etc).

Jamie: Yeah, I mean, it always blows me away because it’s almost as if this plant was made for us because of the way it interacts with our body. Our Endocannabinoid system is made to interact with phytocannabinoids. It’s incredible that it interacts with CBD and THC so perfectly.

Bri: What would you suggest using first for a beginner to cannabis?

Jamie: I think tinctures are actually the perfect thing to use if you are a beginner because they allow you to titrate up or down quite easily.

Bri: With so much false information out there, how do you know which companies are going to give you a quality product and are actually legitimate?

Jamie: Cannabis-derived products at dispensaries like this arizona dispensary are great because product lines have to go through rigorous testing in order to get their products placed on the shelves (here in CA). They get tested for pesticides, microbials, etc. Hemp-derived CBD products don’t have the same regulations so you just need to be careful. Some companies go the extra mile to get their products tested regardless of regulations. Always look for the certificate of analysis. It’s all about being transparent. You want to look at [a company’s] website for the certificate to see that their product has been tested and also, see that there is actually CBD in the product. Look for the brands that are going the extra mile.

Bri: What is the difference between full-spectrum and broad-spectrum? Why would you use one vs the other?

Jamie: There are 3 categories: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolates. I definitely recommend the full-spectrum because CBD and THC are like a power team, even if its just trace amounts of THC, you definitely want it in there so you get the full entourage effects; it improves the efficacy of CBD. Broad-spectrum is similar to full, however, all traces of THC have been removed completely from the product. Broad Spectrum is great for people who want to explore cannabis but are worried about drug testing. It’s a great option for people like athletes, who need to take drug tests [regularly].

Bri: How did you start integrating your long history of wine experience with cannabis?

Jamie: In college, I was taking wine sensory evaluation classes that taught you how to evaluate and taste wine and I remember also going through different [cannabis] strains and realizing there are so many similarities between the two [wine and cannabis] with aromas and flavors. Back then, there wasn’t a lot of research out about cannabis, I had no idea what terpenes were; the conversations about cannabis were nowhere near what they are today. In 2017 I started using cannabis for more medical/intentional purposes. I had witnessed a car accident and couldn’t sleep, so instead of turning to pharmaceutical drugs, I decided to heal myself holistically and started researching cannabis. When finding the perfect ratio of CBD and THC together, it really improved my sleep and helped with my overall self-care. During my research, I found so many similarities of wine and CBD which was so fascinating coming from the wine world. Discovering how cannabis works with our internal system is what ultimately led to my career change.

Photo by Colleen Eversman for The Ultimate Guide to CBD

Bri: Before your book, I wasn’t very experienced in cannabis or CBD. I had one bad experience and always wondered why there was so much hype around cannabis or getting high. Your book helped me understand the different uses, types, and ways cannabis can add and contribute to someone’s overall lifestyle of health. It’s been literally been my bible of cannabis.

Jamie: Thank you! The amazing this is, we can make our own medicine, we don’t need to depend on pharmaceuticals. If we can learn how to work with this plant, we are going to learn more about our own personal needs. Creating your own tinctures and finding a strain that works best for you is a great approach to discovering what your body really needs.

Bri: What are some of your favorite things to make at home?

Jamie: I love the culinary side of cannabis, so I love making food and drink infusions at my house. I always have infused butter and infused olive oil. I have infused bitters, simple syrup, you name it. When doing at-home infusions, you always want to make sure to label everything, especially for consideration to those who live with you.

Bri: Is it difficult to get started in cooking with cannabis? It seems so complicated, I wouldn’t even know where to start!

Jamie: It definitely seems intimidating for a lot of people, but once you learn how to make your own infusions, it’s quite easy. To start, you can make large batches of olive oil and butter. Almost every recipe [in the book] calls for one of those ingredients, so then you have the power to enhance whatever recipe you want.

Bri: What are some basic tools you would need to start make tinctures and infused ingredients?

Jamie: I use, what I call, “The stove method” (The stove method is highlighted in The Ultimate Guide to CBD). All you need is a mason jar, a candy thermometer (you always want to keep a close eye on the temperature), a fine mesh strainer and cheesecloth.

Bri: Your book got me so excited about cannabis and all the amazing recipes and things you can do with it, I feel like I want to host a cannabis dinner party or something.

Jamie: I think that the infused dining experience, in general, is a really cool way to educate about cannabis. I have an event series called ‘Thursday Infused’ [on the Herb Somm blog] where I work with many different cannabis chefs. It was an event series that educated people on how to consume cannabis safely and responsibly but also make people aware that cannabis is a gourmet ingredient that adds so many aromas and flavors to a meal but also adds a euphoria that takes a dining experience to the next level.

Bri: What is your favorite thing about being in the cannabis industry?

Jamie: I have felt so creative in this industry. Having the ability to be creative has been so rewarding. Coming from the wine industry, it was a very male-dominated space. Coming into a space where there were a ton of female entrepreneurs and female executives was really refreshing to see. It’s changed a bit since I’ve come into the industry, but there are still a lot of female-led companies compared to other industries. I think there is this sisterhood that exists with women in the cannabis industry where we all support each other and I think that’s really important.

Bri: What do you think the future holds for the cannabis industry?

Jamie: Right now, Since Cannabis is still federally illegal, we haven’t had the funding to do all the research that we need, so I think that as time goes on, we are just going to discover more and more about this wonderful plant. There have already been some great discoveries so far. I think as more and more research and clinical trials reach the public eye, you know, that’s what is really going to change the stigma that surrounds [cannabis].

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