Senior group relaxing in a hammock

Naturally Well

“Come on now

I hear you’re feeling down.

Well I can ease your pain,

Get you on your feet again.”

From Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb”

Karen Watts Nauman’s family had a history of mental illness, and she was suffering from endometriosis, a condition where the tissues that normally line the inside of a woman’s uterus, or endometrium, happens to grow outside of it. Painful periods and excessive bleeding are common symptoms of this disorder.

“At the age of 16 in 1975, I took my first puff and knew immediately that I had found my medicine. I come from a family with a history of mental illness and had high anxiety and depression. My father was bipolar, and my brother was hospitalized for mental illness for the first time at the age of 19. Cannabis helped me, and I enjoyed the feeling and energy it gave me, so I’ve kept it up regularly since then. I hated pain pills. It’s funny, my mom always knew of and understood my use but worried because it was illegal. Unfortunately, she passed away before I was able to get my California medical card.”

Karen is from Washington but lived in Southern California for 34 years. Her difficult health condition and life experiences did not stop her from having a successful career in the international film and advertising industries for 28 years. She was also a specialist in location filming in Latin America with her own company, Shoot Latin America, and now operates a digital marketing agency called WattsHappening.

Karen also found the love of her life in Jeff Nauman, a native Southern Californian in the point-of-sale industry. “My husband and I moved up from Long Beach, California, to Portland in May 2017, for a business opportunity for him, and a new career for me. I had interest in the cannabis industry, so I went to a Tokeativity Event in Portland and tried CBD for the first time, after being a Cannabis advocate and regular user for 43 years. But I had never heard of CBD and was impressed by it as an alternative, especially since many people just can’t handle the THC. When we started to learn more about it, we saw the crazy potential and the serious necessity for people our age to know about CBD and use it. We saw a huge difference in our health, with my husband throwing away sleeping pills after 30 years, and me being able to manage more comfortably a chronic IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) problem and bad anxiety. We decided to go in the CBD-only direction with an emphasis on education and selling high-quality Oregon products to seniors and our generation. In coming up with a name, my husband said, “Comfortably Numb!” We are old rock-and-rollers and had seen Pink Floyd several times, and we knew that this would resonate with our market and maybe spark fun memories of that time. Plus, the lyrics work, and the idea of becoming comfortably numb, to people with pain, is enticing.”

What started out as a venture in the cannabis industry soon became a mission for Karen and Jeff to help seniors like themselves find nature-based medications. Karen’s family have suffered the effects of pharmaceutical drugs doing more harm than good, especially to her sister, who passed away very recently. Cannabis medical research has always been held back and stigmatized due to a long period of disinformation and a negative association with the War on Drugs. It is now Karen’s mission to spread awareness for her generation.

“My family ended up being devastated by prescription and anti-psychotic drug use that was initiated by well-meaning doctors. My brother died at 61, and my sister just died at 63. After a battle of 8½ years of severe emotional illness, all the massive drugs she was given ended up making her a vegetable and killing her in the end. I couldn’t save her, since I didn’t get CBD to her until the end, but I am hoping that, in her honor, I can help others to know about a natural ‘Xanax’ instead of all the pharmaceuticals.”

Comfortably Numb can be reached through their online marketplace and on Facebook. The company also offers free phone consultations with the goal of educating people of all ages on the ABC’s of CBD. Their best-selling products are oil tinctures, pain patches and topical lotions. Karen recommends CBD for those suffering from chronic pain, inflammation, anxiety and sleeplessness. Infused teas, olive oil and other edibles are also available. For pet owners, they also sell various products, including dog treats. All products are third-party tested and organically grown in Oregon or Colorado.

Karen and Jeff are members of Tokeativity, working with Hollywood and Friendly House Senior Centers in Portland. They also extend support to Oregon NORML and attend workshops at the Commune Cannabis space and collaborate with the nonprofit Women of a Certain Age (WOACA) in their fundraising. Although they have only been in business for six months, they have had a fulfilling experience. Knowing that they improve people’s health and well-being with each transaction is more than enough to keep them motivated.

“We love getting phone calls from some of our technologically challenged seniors and getting their orders in. At times, we will do personal drop-offs for those that might have difficulty. One fun personal story is that I am now selling products to my cousin, whose husband and brother were cops when I was a pot-smoking teenager, who my poor mom thought for sure would bust me. Thankfully, it didn’t happen!”

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