By Sharon Letts
Boston native, Ellen Markham, split her time between Portland, Oregon and Humboldt County in Northern California, before calling Humboldt home.
“Humboldt is where I feel the most at home,” she said from her home overlooking the ocean in Northern Humboldt. “I want to grow my business here.”
Like many medicine makers using cannabis today, Markham said she began making products for herself.
“I initially treated my own arthritis pain from old injuries and autoimmune disease with cannabis products made at home,” she shared. “Most of my professional career has been in the natural products industry as an educator and sales manager.”
Markham said she has always had a passion for plant-based medicines and natural approaches to good health, working first in the mainstream topical industry for companies such as ProGest, Frontier/Aura Cacia and Spectrum Organics.
“My years of working for manufacturers of topical hormone creams provided me with the knowledge base to create my own cannabis infused products,” she explained. “The burgeoning cannabis industry is similar to the early days of the natural products industry, in so many ways.”
Both industries are filled with propaganda, and consumers are confused as to what works and what doesn’t. This writer’s own mother used white distilled vinegar to clean windows until the industrial revolution added synthetics to the mix.
To cite history, when the Clean Air and Water Acts were implemented in the U.S. in 1973 and 1974, respectively, manufacturers were forced to change their formulations with much hesitation. For example, the popular window spray, Windex, created a more green mix, safer for the environment, but the cleaning products companies had already done a great job marketing synthetic solutions to the point that the average consumer didn’t believe natural formulations would work.
Today it’s a different story, and cannabis patients and their medicine makers have ironically opened the door, once again, for natural remedies to be accepted.
Committed to using healthy, natural and organic ingredients whenever possible, Markham said she has always thought of cannabis as medicine, despite the rhetoric of the past.
“I’ve been interested in higher CBD strains of cannabis for some time now,” she said. “Currently, I serve on the board of the Lost Coast Botanicals Cooperative, a Southern Humboldt [group], dedicated to providing high quality, organically grown CBD plants and medicine.”
The name of her company, Honey Bee Buzzed, isn’t about getting high, as the slang would suggest, as Markham is actually a beekeeper.
“I became a member of the Humboldt County Beekeepers Association five years ago, after moving my bees from Portland to Humboldt – in the back seat of my little sedan, I might add,” she laughed. “One of the many reasons I’m committed to using clean, organic ingredients – with no pesticides – is for the sake of the bees. They are responsible for pollinating such a huge percentage of the food we eat and their populations are dwindling.”
Increasing awareness of the plight of the honey bees and other pollinators is important to Markham.
“Raw honey’s anti-viral and anti-microbial properties are just some of the health benefits,” she added. “I use raw honey and beeswax in my products – the raw beeswax still has bits of propolis and pollen in it, and is highly beneficial – without the cannabis added. Add cannabis and you have a truly medicinal product.”
Currently her Honey Bee Buzzed honey/cannabis infused product line includes: infused honey, a eucalyptus and lavender infused bath salt soak, orange mint and grapefruit lip balms, a massage bar molded with a lovely bee comb design, and pain salve and tinctures. Other products in the making include low-dose CBD edibles – with honey added, of course.
California is still historic as being the first legal state for cannabis as medicine, since 1996. Markham’s products can be found in medical dispensaries throughout the state. If you are lucky enough to visit Humboldt County, visit The Heart of Humboldt or the Humboldt Patient Resource Center (HPRC) in Arcata for her products.
With California now empowered with its own medical regulations in place via the Medical Marijuana Regulation & Safety Act (MMRSA), and the State now legal for recreational weed – thanks to sole funder Sean Parker (Napster) and his Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) – Markham believes it’s a game changer.
“I share many of the concerns that others have about big business coming in and taking over the market, but right now I’m focusing on becoming compliant and getting the proper permits to operate under MMRSA,” she informed. “Humboldt is not only known for great cannabis, it’s also known for promoting healthy, handcrafted, boutique products from the garden. There will always be a place for small, niche manufacturers.”
Markham said she feels fortunate to be involved with a group of female cannabis professionals in Humboldt, planning for the future together. “We are in the process of planning a community kitchen,” she explained. “It will be a space for women-owned businesses in Humboldt County, so that we can build a sustainable future in the cannabis-infused product marketplace.”
With women historically practicing apothecary, the future looks like a healthy shade of green for Humboldt medicine makers – and the people they help.
For more information on Honey Bee Buzzed products, visit HoneyBeeBuzzed.com or GetSava.com for orders in California only.
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