If you’re like me, marijuana is a little daunting for you. I can only take 2 hits, otherwise I find myself in the same situation I did during my sophomore homecoming—which was hiding underneath a piano, unable to keep eye contact with anyone, and the inability to use my arms. And 9 out of 10 times this always happened, which is why even though marijuana is now legal in California, I’ve been reluctant to jump on the CBD wagon, let alone try anything with THC in it. But for someone like me whose anxiety is my form of cardio and on top of that, I suffer from chronic insomnia, I need extra assistance that deep breathing and yoga simply cannot fix. Insert lots of research and conversations with friends (both in and out of the CBD bubble) and ultimately the research (for me) was undeniable to try CBD drops.
Personally, when it comes to something I ingest or apply topically, I want the product to be clean, ecologically responsible, organic, and of course cute packaging never hurts. But once I started researching the Internet on CBD brands, I was inundated with an overwhelming amount of products on the market. If you thought a little hit of a spliff would send me under the table, then the search for a CBD tincture sent me deep into a virtual hole. And since this is an emerging market, the reviews on people’s personal experience were slim to none. In the end though I decided on Juna. What drew me to Juna was that the founder Jewel Zimmer had a background as a fine-dining pastry chef in San Francisco. The fact that from all the other brands in the market, she was the only one I had come across that came from a food background. That was intriguing to me, mainly because a chef has a different relationship with food and wellness, than say someone with a marketing degree. Juna looks at their products as an art and science, like winemaking. Everything is about quality ingredients as well as, “looking good, feeling good, and tasting good”. Juna was the only brand that emphasized on having a quality product that was (enjoyably) edible. And due to my extreme anxiety, as well as the nature of my job, I decided to call her to get more information.
Jewel Zimmer, founder of Juna, wife, mother, and chocolatier AS TOLD TO SVN SPACE
“My philosophy was that beauty comes from within, and why couldn’t chocolate nourish the body too? So around 2009 I had developed (along with a chemist) a way to extract the natural antioxidants in cocoa and infuse it back into the chocolate to create this super potent superfood treat. And at this time no one was empowering chocolate in this way, it was just candy. And I knew I had this amazing product and I knew who my market was: someone who was intelligent, savvy and understood quality, which is why I ended up distributing with Barneys New York, Neiman Marcus, and Dean & Deluca, [just to name a few].
Shortly after I launched in Barneys nationally, CBD companies were hitting me up since I was already working with other chemists, so it made sense to them to partner with me, but I shut it down for a while, mainly because we all have (or heard) that college brownie experience of having a terrible trip with edibles, and just the general negative stigma that surrounded marijuana. But then the cannabis conversation started changing, and I started doing my own research and realized the amazing potential this plant had to heal. And like with my chocolates, I wanted to create something from a beauty and wellness space.
Starting Juna wasn’t about capitalizing on a new market; I care more about nourishing the body, and also making it accessible to this whole other market that wasn’t about recreational smoking or being medicinal, (which is why her products are called drops and not tinctures. “Tinctures sounds so medicinal, and that’s not me”).
“I had seen so many CBD oils that had beautiful packaging, beautiful marketing, but just tasted…bad. So with Juna, I wanted to enhance the natural flavor of the flower, but also have it taste good”.
My philosophy is about balancing our bodies inside and out, but instead of having a glass of wine or 2, you can take a drop or 2 to unwind and relax after work. People want to relax, have more sex, have stronger cognitive functions that a cup of chamomile tea can’t really provide—but CBD packs that punch for you.
The cool thing about CBD is that it works to what your body needs—it’s an adaptogen, so if you need a lift, it lifts, and if you need to relax, it helps you relax.
With Nude (our CBD drops), they are non-psychoactive, so anyone can use it at any time of the day…personally, I use it twice a day. I have it in the morning in my coffee, green juice, or under my tongue, and then in the late afternoon. I notice it makes me more present, aware, and balanced.
Jade is half CBD, half THC (2.5 mg of each), which I use at least once or twice a week. It has a little THC, but it's small because on a wellness perspective, I’ve always believed less is more.
“When you use Jade its very lifting and clear because you want to be social, and not sit around and watch TV all day, that’s not what Juna is about”.
Then there’s Gold, which has 5mg of THC. I use this if I’m going to go out, and it leaves me feeling good and groovy. The thing people don’t talk enough about is that THC is super arousing; it’s a pleasant surprise. It also makes you just more happy, relaxed…you’re just non-reactive to the small things.”
BINGO—that’s exactly what I was looking for, something that allowed me to just be nonchalant, instead of a chicken with its head cut off, and a possible side effect was good sex? SOLD!
I was sold not just on her products, but her as well. Jewel really embodied the essence of what Juna is, an intelligent, earthy and creative product. Her connection to cannabis, the body, and having an understanding of the cultural market place was enough for me to drink this metaphorical kool-aid.
Talking with her shed some fears that surrounded marijuana for me too, and what really aided in this was her background in cooking. She reminded me that cannabis is a plant and that we needed to look at it like food, not a drug. For so long we’ve created such a negative connotation around cannabis that we forget this— and with Juna, she really emphasizes this point. “I’m a businesswoman, I’m married, and I have two girls—I’m not trying to become this villain who eats popcorn all day and hides in a hole.”
I mean who doesn’t want to be mellower, more focused, and more aroused in life? I’ll take a lifetime supply! And if you’re sensitive to THC like me, just remember less is more.
This conversation has been edited for clarity and conciseness by: Mimi Dang