Celeste Miranda‚Äôs doctors at Stanford knew she had replaced her prescription muscle relaxers with CBD, having found the compound to be a more effective treatment for her multiple sclerosis. However, according to her, not much was said about it despite the visible positive effects she found from her twice daily dose.
Until one day her doctor ‚ÄĒ a ‚Äúvery high‚Äďup‚ÄĚ professor who led the department ‚ÄĒ needed Celeste‚Äôs help.
‚ÄúCeleste, I got Stanford to approve research for [multiple sclerosis] and CBD, but I need your help,‚ÄĚ Miranda said, recalling her doctor‚Äôs words. ‚ÄúWe need to raise about $100,000 to get this program off the ground.‚ÄĚ
Without hesitation, Miranda replied: ‚ÄúAbsolutely, no problem, we‚Äôll get it done.‚ÄĚ
For almost two weeks Celeste Miranda worked through her connections and, in her words, made some noise over it. She started to see some money come in from donors. An advocate for CBD, the effort became a passion project of sorts.
And then her doctor called her back.
‚ÄúCeleste, stop everything you‚Äôre doing,‚ÄĚ she recalled her doctor saying. ‚ÄúStop, completely stop, immediately stop.‚ÄĚ
Confused, Miranda asked what was wrong. ‚ÄúStanford just lost one of their biggest financial contributors over this,‚ÄĚ her doctor replied.
‚ÄúI have no choice, it‚Äôs my job,‚ÄĚ the doctor continued when Miranda pressed the issue.
As she recalled, Miranda acquiesced, although her choices at that point were quite limited. ‚ÄúAnd so, to say the least, for the past three years, I‚Äôve been a patient at Cedars‚ÄďSinai now.‚ÄĚ
Founder of The Cannabis Marketing Lab, one of the top digital marketing agencies in the cannabis space, as well as the MACE Media Group, Celeste Miranda has watched and nurtured the industry as it has grown over the past decade. A pioneer from the early days of legalization, The Cannabis Marketing Lab is still one of the largest cannabis-specific marketing firms in the country, a force that‚Äôs launched a slew of businesses in the space.
But, before there was cannabis, Miranda was an ordinary marketer marketing ordinary things. For 10 years she worked with mainstream businesses ‚ÄĒlaw firms, a large chain of hair salons, and other non-cannabis entities.
‚ÄúAnd then, about nine years ago ‚ÄĒ so, it‚Äôs been 19 years in all ‚ÄĒ I had a grow light [company] come to me and they asked me to handle their marketing, so I did,‚ÄĚ Miranda told PotNetwork.
‚ÄúWe launched this grow light that very, very closely duplicated the sun,‚ÄĚ she continued. ‚ÄúLong story short, it was super successful. At that point I had a bunch of cannabis companies start coming to me.‚ÄĚ
And all this, according to Miranda, before the first legal sales occurred in Colorado.
As The Cannabis Marketing Lab grew, so too, did the demands from clients. When Miranda was approached about placing an ad in a science-based cannabis magazine, she had trouble finding one. Her solution was to create one herself.
‚ÄúSo that‚Äôs when I said, well, I have writers, I have graphic designers, how hard can it be to do a magazine,‚ÄĚ recalled Miranda. ‚ÄúLong story short, it‚Äôs very hard to do a magazine. So, that started Terpenes and Testing Magazine.‚ÄĚ
Billed as ‚Äúa publication catering to the science enthused professional,‚ÄĚ Terpenes and Testing Magazine takes an in-depth look at the science behind cannabis. With topics ranging from pesticide testing to horticulture and more, the magazine lends a gravitas seldom seen in the cannabis sphere.
After that came Extraction Magazine, followed by Cannabis Compliance & Packaging Magazine, and then CBD Health and Wellness. It‚Äôs a respectable portfolio in an industry that craves respectability ‚ÄĒ evidence that Miranda knows what she‚Äôs doing.
‚ÄúAnd then, after that, we put the conferences in line,‚ÄĚ said Miranda, referring to the CBD Expo Tour and its predecessor, the Terpenes and Testing World Conference.
She continued: ‚ÄúIt was kind of a natural progression and they all still, today, feed off of each other. You know, an exhibitor can become a marketing client, a marketing client can become an advertising client. So they can all feed ‚Äď we disclose everything up front, but they do help each other, and they help our clients, I think, attain maximum visibility.‚ÄĚ
Of course, Celeste Miranda, herself, has never been an ordinary woman, which made her journey towards CBD all the more extraordinary. ‚ÄúQuacked‚ÄĚ out on muscle relaxers to help treat her multiple sclerosis symptoms, she sought an alternative to reclaim her life.
‚ÄúAbout eight years ago I woke up one morning and I just could not feel anything from my waist down,‚ÄĚ Miranda told PotNetwork. ‚ÄúI could move, and I could walk normal, but I would scratch my leg, and I would see myself doing it, but I couldn‚Äôt feel myself doing it, which was a really weird thing; it was a trip.‚ÄĚ
One trip to the emergency room and 16 hours later, Miranda learned she had multiple sclerosis. The diagnosis included three lesions on her brain and two on her spine. Since then, she recalled, she‚Äôs been on two medications, one that almost gave her a rare brain infection and another that wasn‚Äôt strong enough. She‚Äôs had relapses.
It took some time and some tinkering, but with the help of her doctors, she finally found a medication that worked. ‚ÄúI haven‚Äôt gotten any more lesions,‚ÄĚ she noted.
Still, she was stuck in a cycle of taking muscle relaxers to control her spasticity, which left her mind foggy. That is until a client from The Cannabis Marketing Lab introduced her to CBD-infused gum.
‚ÄúI took it and started chewing the gum, and I would take it at the same time that I would normally have taken a muscle relaxer when I was starting to get spasticity in my legs from the MS,‚ÄĚ Miranda recalled. She tried the gum in spite of her skepticism at first.
‚ÄúWithin 10 minutes my spasticity went away completely ‚ÄĒ completely,‚ÄĚ said Miranda. ‚ÄúAnd I was just, like; this is a trip, this is weird, there‚Äôs something weird in this gum.‚ÄĚ
She immediately began to research CBD, looking into gummy bears, oils, and other products on the market. And, after a little experimentation with the right dosage ‚ÄĒ in the morning, a smaller dosage and a larger one at night before bed when her spasticity is worse ‚ÄĒ she‚Äôs completely off the muscle relaxers. It‚Äôs just monthly infusions of Tysabri, her multiple sclerosis medication, and her daily CBD.
‚ÄúI‚Äôm in the unique position where it‚Äôs like, you can‚Äôt tell me it doesn‚Äôt work because it‚Äôs me,‚ÄĚ Miranda said, eager to dispute any naysayers. ‚ÄúPeople can say, ‚ÄėWell, you know, it‚Äôs a placebo and we‚Äôre not sure, there‚Äôs not enough research.‚Äô Well, yeah, there‚Äôs never enough research on something.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúBut you can‚Äôt tell me it doesn‚Äôt work, and I know it works,‚ÄĚ she continued.
Unlike most conferences and trade shows, the CBD Expo Tour is an event, one that tours around the country from place to place bringing together vendors, speakers, and other industry experts in the CBD space. It‚Äôs an educational event that focuses heavily on the medical side of CBD.
‚ÄúIt was interesting, we sort of just stumbled on the idea for the CBD Expos, it really came to fruition, and it‚Äôs gone very, very well,‚ÄĚ Miranda told PotNetwork. ‚ÄúI‚Äôm very grateful for how it‚Äôs worked out. Our main goal was just to provide education to the people about CBD. There were so many questions and people are so confused about it.‚ÄĚ
According to Adam Headley, President of the MACE Media Group and right-hand man to Celeste Miranda, the CBD Expo found its beginnings in another event, the Terpenes and Testing World Conference, which took place in April of last year. Powered by Terpenes and Testing Magazine, the event had laboratories, testing facilities, and extraction companies along with grow operations in attendance.
‚ÄúThe people that were invited to that were innovators in the industry‚Ä¶ because Terpenes and Testing focuses on extraction, testing laboratories, and horticulture science,‚ÄĚ Headley told PotNetwork.
The success of that show led directly to the development of the CBD Expo Tour. It is described by Headley as ‚Äúnot your normal tradeshow‚ÄĚ the Tour headlines various major cities across the country, including Seattle, Denver, and Orlando. The next conference that‚Äôs coming up is in the Midwest, said Headley, in Indianapolis, a site chosen due to large CBD sales in the area.
‚ÄúWe took a poll of our exhibitors, we were like, ‚ÄėWhere are you getting most of your CBD sales from,‚Äô Headley said. ‚ÄúAbout 70 percent of them said Indiana, which blew my mind but it makes sense because the people there ‚ÄĒ it‚Äôs a blue-collar state. They‚Äôre working their bodies really hard, and CBD is needed.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúIt reduces inflammation in the body, and it helps with pain and anxiety,‚ÄĚ he continued. ‚ÄúSo, after planning this out, it just made sense to choose this region.‚ÄĚ
The two-day event includes exhibitors and speakers from a cross-section of the industry, with day one focusing on the basics, CBD 101, and day two delving into the medical side in a bit more detail, according to Headley.
As for speakers, they, too, run the gamut.
‚ÄúWe have a lot of doctors who come and speak; we have a lot of business builders, there‚Äôs a lot of educators,‚ÄĚ Headley noted. ‚ÄúWe have people talking about how to run ethical and responsible CBD businesses. Then, we have people talking about manufacturing and education. Then, other people giving a consumer‚Äôs perspective.‚ÄĚ
One day, Miranda noted, she really hopes to have a representative from the Food and Drug Administration on one of her panels.
‚Äú I‚Äôm really looking forward, at some of our future conferences, to ‚ÄĒ we‚Äôre trying really hard to get the FDA at some of our conferences, to get the DEA, to get all these entities that have put up so many roadblocks, to get them there and sit up on a panel with me,‚ÄĚ Miranda said.
‚ÄúI think that would be one hell of a show.‚ÄĚ
These days Celeste Miranda is focused on the ramifications of the recently-signed farm bill, the blockbuster piece of legislation shepherded through Congress by Sen. Mitch McConnell which legalized hemp, and, consequently, CBD as well.
Unfortunately, almost immediately after President Trump signed the bill into law FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb put out a statement declaring the compound illegal.
“Selling unapproved products with unsubstantiated therapeutic claims is not only a violation of the law but also can put patients at risk, as these products have not been proven to be safe or effective,” Gottlieb wrote in a statement.
Immediately, confusion returned to the CBD industry.
‚ÄúI‚Äôll do my part and my best, and I think other people will as well, to really push them into a corner to say, ‚ÄėWhat you‚Äôre doing is making no sense,‚Äô Miranda said of the FDA‚Äôs position. ‚ÄúHonestly, I‚Äôm not changing anything on my recommendation for my consulting or my marketing clients; we‚Äôre moving forward. So that‚Äôs my recommendation right now.‚ÄĚ
The risks are there, she noted, but that‚Äôs always been true for anyone in the CBD or cannabis industry. Whether it‚Äôs a dispensary raid or issue with Facebook, the industry is still fighting an uphill battle.
‚ÄúBut with every day that passes and each day that goes, those risks get less and less and they get mitigated,‚ÄĚ Miranda said.
She continued: ‚ÄúI think people are a lot more comfortable with doing what they‚Äôre doing with the farm bill if what they‚Äôre doing is under the .3 percentages. It protects a lot of cultivators out there and it makes a lot of the white label companies, or whatever, buy from people who are protected under the farm bill, but that‚Äôs fine. I think that it brings in a level of not only responsibility but it brings in a level of testing and making sure that we‚Äôre giving the correct dosages and things like that, that we‚Äôre saying the correct percentages.‚ÄĚ
As for the FDA, Miranda has some thoughts there too. Within the year she thinks that the FDA will either change their position or, by necessity, put out a valid reason for their current position. What they‚Äôre doing right now, she believes, is untenable.
‚ÄúI think they‚Äôre barking up a crazy tree,‚ÄĚ she said.
Today, as more and more state governments explore cannabis therapy in lieu of opioid treatment and other prescription medications, Celeste Miranda still finds it unbelievable Standford was so closed-minded when it came to CBD.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a trip,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúThey should be ashamed of themselves.‚ÄĚ
Even as other patients began to also show promising results from the compound, in the end, truth lost out to power.
‚ÄúI mean, they didn‚Äôt say a lot when I first told them, but then they were listening and they were on board,‚ÄĚ said Miranda. ‚ÄúShe actually told me other patients were taking it and having amazing results, and that‚Äôs why she wanted to do this.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúSo then they were on board but then, I guess, man, the money talks.‚ÄĚ
But with the CBD Expo Tour, Miranda channels that former frustration into something positive ‚ÄĒ something more powerful than money.
‚Äú[I‚Äôm trying] to provide a platform for consumers to come in and judge for themselves, and that‚Äôs what I‚Äôm trying to do,‚ÄĚ she told PotNetwork, speaking about the Expo. ‚Äú…with CBD Expo we‚Äôre doing what we can for everyone to be able to make their own best-informed decisions on that.‚ÄĚ
And as far as the farm bill, she sees an even brighter future.
‚ÄúI think it just opened up amazing doors for the hemp industry and, therefore, the CBD industry and I think that business will thrive because of the farm bill,‚ÄĚ Miranda said.