Yes, there are professional snowboarders. Jealous? As a child, William Spilo loved to snowboard. He started at age 3, when many of us are still awkwardly navigating the world of walking. And like many youths, Spilo dreamt of being a professional snowboarder. But, unlike the majority of us, he was both talented and dedicated enough to realize this dream.
Being a professional athlete comes with perks. He’s traveled the world, riding in helicopters and gliding down some of the most beautiful mountains on Earth. As he put it, “It’s a great way to see the world with like-minded people, great culture… there’s so much intensity and camaraderie, it is extremely fulfilling and rewarding.”
But while being a professional athlete comes with many perks, snowboarding — like most sports — comes with the unwelcome bonus of profound damage to your body.
For Athletes, Bodies Eventually Break
For Spilo, his introduction into snowboarding’s effect on his body started at age 25 in Vail. That was the year he broke his back. He recovered, and spent the next 20 years as a big mountain rider and heli guide. But, the wear and tear on his body continued.
Both shoulders have been reconstructed. His face contains reconstructive plastic. His left knee has been rebuilt twice due to MCL injuries. Six screws and a plate are in his neck to avoid paralysis. He’s broken enough bones that it’s not worth listing them all here.
In order to control the daily chronic pain and inflammation, like most professional athletes, he took a steady regimen of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). Eventually, prescription painkillers followed as the pain increased and his job’s functional necessity stayed the same. And like everyone else taking these drugs to cope with their body’s aches and pains, undesired side effects came with them, namely stress and damage to your kidneys and liver.
Eventually, with cannabis legal in his home state of Colorado, he heard about the benefits of CBD. Once he tried it, he was “shocked at the efficacy of CBD for inflammation and pain.” But, he saw room for improvement in the products he’d used to find relief from the pain.
From Curiosity to a Company
A couple thousand miles north, in Seattle, his longtime friend George Wohileb had created Boutique Extractions, a company focusing on cannabis extractions in Washington’s burgeoning cannabis industry. The two had known each other since their time together in Vail in the early 2000s. Spilo was interested in creating a better CBD-based product. Wohileb had industry expertise.
At the time, the uncertainty and constant shifting of CBD and cannabis laws in both Washington and Colorado made the acquisition of funding difficult. Many-a-company has fought this battle. Rather than start with full-scale fundraising, the two decided to develop a product and see what the response was like. CBD — like so many of the cannabinoids beyond THC — was still relatively unknown.
They found a pure form of CBD and created a few samples. Spilo handed these products out to professional athletes he knew that struggled with the same chronic pain and inflammation that he had. The response was overwhelmingly positive, so they creating a Colorado-based company called CBD Luxe, focused on creating pure CBD products made from hemp extracts grown in the U.S.
Today, CBD Luxe has a range of products, including topicals, inhalers, pills and vape pens. Until now, the company has focused on delivering CBD extracts that contain no THC, but plans are in the works to expand their offerings to include THC in an inhaler combined with CBD extracts. While there are many CBD companies out there, CBD Luxe uses a bit of a different process to create their offerings.
On the cannabinoid side, they source their hemp extracts from USDA-certified organic hemp farms in Colorado. To enhance the effects of the CBD, they mix the CBD with terpenes and essential oils from all over the world. The goal here is to match certain terpenes with specific products, to enhance their anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, anti-nausea, or anti-anxietal properties. By doing this with terpenes that have been extracted via C02 processing and are then steam distilled, they’re able to deliver a product that is free of solvents, oils or artificial flavors.
“The biggest thing about our company is that it was founded for people, to help people,” Wohileb says.
A Medicine Capable of Transformative Results
And help it has. Spilio and Wohileb tell the story of an early customer in Minnesota who was struggling through a reality where their child was suffering from approximately 30 grand mal seizures every day. It’s a life that no parent imagines, and the difficulties, stresses and fears of a life like this are hard to comprehend for most of us. But using a CBD Luxe product, the family was able to reduce the number of seizures.
The father of this child is an Iraq war veteran. Like so many veterans, he was struggling with his own issues related to his experiences, namely PTSD and anxiety. Spilio and Wohileb say the success of CBD with his child encouraged him to utilize their products to treat his own symptoms. While it didn’t eliminate them completely, it helped significantly.
The difficulties of returning to normalcy for our veterans post-war are well documented. PTSD, anxiety and depression are all too common. Suicide rates are shockingly high. A recent study by the VA found that 20 veterans take their lives each day. While veterans account for 7.3 percent of the U.S. population, they account for 18 percent of all deaths by suicide. Many veterans find themselves on a cocktail of strong pharmaceuticals in an attempt to deal and function, leaving them in an altered state they’d rather not be in.
Positive for the People
The market for CBD is growing, as is research into how it can benefit individuals, and as a byproduct, society at large. Companies are pushing forward, despite what can be a somewhat uncertain future pertaining to changing winds of political climates and legislative agendas. As Spilo puts it, “I feel like at the end of the day, I’ve done something positive for people. If there is one person who can use their product and get off an opiate or other pill, that’s a real benefit… it’s something that means a lot to me.”
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