As BLNCD’s co-founder and R&D expert, Andrea Frey has added insurmountable value to the development of some of BLNCD’s most beloved products. Aside from her crucial work sourcing and testing ingredients, Andrea’s passion for botanicals fuels her commitment to finding natural alternatives to the chemicals and additives that plague so many wellness products on the market. This is surely evident in the exciting new development of the BLNCD SLEEP CBD + CBN Gummies. We spoke briefly with Andrea about her journey developing this product from an idea to an expertly crafted sleep aid.
BLNCD: You had been a formulator for many years before launching BLNCD, what made you decide to start working in Cannabis?
ANDREA: Plants can heal us and my start in formulating came out of necessity. About 15 years ago I awakened to what was in our food supply and the everyday products I was using. I grew up thinking I had sensitive skin, but I realized it was the harsh chemicals that were the problem. This was well before the green movement hit the midwest. I decided to detox my life and started learning about plants and herbs so I could make my own products. I was also a recreational cannabis user, mainly for its relaxation benefits, and I loved the dispensary experience when traveling to legal states. For me, it was a natural progression when I saw hemp legalization on the horizon. It’s exciting to be able to create products with cannabis derivatives that go beyond what most people expect. It’s truly an amazing plant.
BLNCD: What are some of your values when it comes to sourcing and creating products?
ANDREA: We approach our ingredient sourcing with a mind-set that puts ethics at the forefront. Top-quality ingredients are what makes our products effective and special. Our hemp is certified organic, which means it’s grown without any pesticides and processed per USDA organic standards without chemicals. It was also important for us to become Leaping Bunny certified which means none of the ingredients we use are tested on animals. Beyond that, we consider many other factors such as the country and region certain plants are grown, sustainability, and how each ingredient is processed. We make sure the aroma, texture and other attributes are on point before creating products. Then we do a lot of in-house testing, always tweaking formulas along the way based on the feedback we receive.
BLNCD: You are a vertically integrated cannabis company, what does that mean exactly?
ANDREA: We are really proud of the work we put in to become vertically integrated. In the beginning, it was expensive and difficult to source quality, certified organic hemp distillate so we had to do it ourselves. BLNCD Naturals is a vertically integrated company, which allows us to control our hemp supply chain from farm to table. Starting with our farm partnerships with Midwest organic farmers and investment in our organic processing facility, we secure hemp, process it, manufacture most of our finished products in-house and then distribute those products.
BLNCDWORLD: What were some of the foundational questions that went into the development of the Sleep Gummy?
ANDREA: When you think about sleep, you have to consider all of the factors that cause people not to sleep. It’s a complex issue that can be a lot to unpack. Sometimes lack of sleep is due to temporary things like stress, pain, or the energy of a full moon and other times it’s a chronic issue with deeper roots. We had to think about how we could address sleep from different angles.
BLNCDWORLD: L-theanine is listed as a key ingredient. This is an amino acid, right?
ANDREA: Correct, L-theanine is an amino acid and also considered a Nootropic or a “brain booster” found naturally in green tea. It’s a superstar when it comes to combating stress, promoting relaxation and supporting sleep.
BLNCDWORLD: BLNCD’s CBD Sleep Oil has been a celebrated product on the market for nearly a year now. Aside from the obvious change in delivery system, what are some of the biggest ways the gummy differs from the oil?
ANDREA: Our sleep gummies incorporate CBD and CBN, like our sleep oil, but also include adaptogenic ingredients to support sleep with a different approach. People love gummies and can’t seem to get enough of them so it made sense to create them for sleep.
BLNCDWORLD: The gummy also has passion flower?
ANDREA: When I started putting together formulas, I knew it had to include passion flower. Passion flower is known to induce sleep but also helps with so many other things that impact sleep. It helps relax muscles and reduces anxiousness.
BLNCDWORLD: When is the best time to take the sleep gummy? Is it meant to be taken daily?
ANDREA: The best time to take a sleep gummy is about an hour before bed. This gives it time to activate and relax you to help you fall asleep and stay asleep. Our sleep gummies are meant to be taken as needed – for some users that may be daily and for others it may be on occasion.
BLNCDWORLD: There are no shortage of sleep aids on the market. How does BLNCD’s Sleep Gummy cut through the noise?
ANDREA: I think we’ve done a really good job of combining an effective ratio of cannabinoids (CBD + CBN) with a nice balance of sleep supporting adaptogens and nootropics that help you get a restful night of sleep minus the hangover or groggy feeling in the morning. We intentionally left out melatonin, it can be helpful for some but not everyone has a positive result from it. We also placed a lot of emphasis on the inactive ingredients (nothing artificial) and overall texture of the finished product.
BLNCDWORLD: Developing a new wellness product is undoubtedly a journey. What has been your favorite part?
ANDREA: We started sampling sleep gummy formulations at a time when I was not sleeping well at all. As a mom of a 1 year old, my sleep schedule had been flipped upside down for over a year and I was always tired. I relied on our Bliss CBD oil for energy during the day, but it was really frustrating not being able to sleep at night even though I was exhausted. These gummies really helped me. I was the perfect test subject!