A HEALTHY DOSE
If you drive to Luce Farm in Stockbridge, you’ll eventually come to a sprawling expanse of rolling hills with an old farmhouse waiting warmly, newly invigorated by its current owners, the Pimentel family. Becca, Joe, and their sweet children Georgia and Joe are not only adding to the working landscape by growing hemp. They are also hoping to change the current medical world by offering high quality, natural products that alleviate pain, decrease inflammation, and enrich the well-being of our local community.
Their products are made using oil extracted from hemp plants grown on the farm. If you are confused about hemp, you are not alone. No, it is not the same as marijuana. Hemp and marijuana are both part of the Cannabis family of plants, but hemp plants like those used by Luce Farm are tested to have less than 0.3 percent THC, the chemical compound that makes one “high.” Put simply, Luce Farm’s products are entirely non-intoxicating, meaning you will not feel any sort of high except that your chronic pain is quite likely to disappear.
Hemp is a crop that has been grown for thousands of years. Impressions of plant fiber rope, likely made of hemp, were found in Czechoslovakia and dated all the way back to 24,870 BC. That’s right, over 20,000 years ago. It was used early on for making rope and paper; even our Declaration of Independence was drafted on hemp paper. It was used by Chinese shamans as early as 2700 BC, and its medicinal properties became more widely known the more it was grown. Starting in the early 1900s, laws prohibiting marijuana sprang up in the U.S., and so began the complex regulation of hemp in our country.
At Luce Farm, the Pimentels, along with partner Chris Condon, grew 2,500 hemp plants last year. Their end goal is to create finished products like Hemp-Infused Honey, Hemp-Infused Oil, and Hemp-Infused Balm that contain Cannabidiol (CBD), a compound with significant health benefits.
Starting from seed, the plants are tended by the crew using organic methods from infancy to harvest, at which point they are sent to Waterbury for carbon dioxide extraction of the medicinal full-spectrum oil containing CBD and tested to make sure that the levels of THC and other compounds are right where they should be. The CBD oil returns to Luce Farm where they get to work in an industrial kitchen, mixing the full-spectrum CBD oil with certified organic coconut oil for their Hemp-Infused Oil or with coconut oil and raw Vermont honey for their Hemp Honey. These products are both edible and perfect for eating on a teaspoon or mixing into your morning drink or yogurt. The oil version has a quite herb-y flavor and scent, while the honey may be easier for those averse to “green” flavors.
Their Hemp-Infused Balm is a combination of organic sunflower oil, organic coconut oil, organic cocoa butter, vitamin E, beeswax and CBD hemp extract. The balm can be rubbed on sore muscles or arthritic joints. Luce Farm grows other medicinal herbs as well, like chamomile, calendula, and comfrey, which they hope to blend with their CBD extract in the future to create more unique products.
The products may seem to have a high price tag, being retailed around $40-50 per jar, but considering that you get 50 servings in a jar of the Hemp-Infused Oil, it comes to $1 per serving. Most customers find that it is more than worth it.
Besides helping chronic pain or arthritis, Luce Farm is hearing success stories that are truly inspirational. A customer with muscular dystrophy said she is gaining her life back. A customer with esophageal cancer uses their hemp oil to increase appetite and provide comfort. I have spoken with friends who have neck pain or hip pain whose symptoms disappeared once they started taking Luce Farm’s hemp products. Other conditions that can be alleviated include anxiety, depression, migraines, and sleep disorders, just to name a few.
Once you start looking for CBD products, you will see that there are multiple brands now available in Vermont. What makes Luce Farm unique? They pride themselves on being involved from “seed to shelf.” The Pimentels have their hands in the entire process minus extraction, and they hope to change that in the coming year after they raise the capital for the expensive extraction equipment. Whereas some other companies buy in CBD oil from different states like Colorado, you can be assured that Luce Farm’s hemp oil comes from plants grown organically on their own farm. An added bonus is that a purchase of Luce Farm’s products supports at least two families who are revitalizing the agricultural economy of the Rutland region.
When asked what they hope to share through this article, the Pimentels said that they want to “de-stigmatize the culture” around hemp and the medicinal properties of the cannabis plant. “We give it to our kids, we take it ourselves,” Joe Pimentel said.
Becca Pimentel chimed in saying she believes that “what we put in our bodies is making us,” which I believe wholeheartedly. So the next time you are thinking of reaching for a bottle of synthetic over-the-counter medicine, consider Luce Farm’s all-natural hemp medicine instead.
Lindsay Courcelle, CMT is a Myofascial Release therapist, part-time vegetable farmer, and natural health advocate. Email her at alchemyMFR@gmail.com.