Sometimes, in the course of our hectic lives, it’s easy to forget — or not even notice — the little things that make living in Frederick County great. In that spirit, I launched, “What I Love in Frederick this Week”: the best food, drink, shows, shopping, and events coming to the city. If you love something in Frederick, let me know. Submissions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweeted to @kamamasters.
This week: Wander, a new CBD shop in downtown Frederick
If there’s any indication that hemp has hit the mainstream, it’s a CBD boutique opening in the old Landis Jewelers shop downtown. The original store — the one with the tile pocket watch at the front entryway.
“When I first heard this was the space we were looking at, I was like, ‘Whoa, is that the one with the watch out front?’” said Simon Arendt, a Frederick native and co-founder of Wander Hemp Co.
After a long stint in California and Colorado — a trip out west that changed his life, he said — “it’s really cool to come back and see how much Frederick has changed.”
Along with the obvious transformation of downtown, Frederick can also claim an ever-increasing acceptance of all things cannabis. The city is home to Maryland’s first-ever licensed medical dispensary, plus two of the state’s 15 licensed growers. The Common Market was an early purveyor of hemp products.
The founders of Wander initially considered getting involved in the medical cannabis industry, said company co-owner Sage Winn, but decided to stick with hemp-derived CBD, or cannabidiol, a compound essentially made legal by the 2018 Farm Bill.
“We saw the Farm Bill coming a mile away, so we figured focusing on CBD was a way to take the first steps and start building a brand,” Winn added.
The non-intoxifying compound gets a pass under the new legislation, for the most part, as long as it’s derived from hemp plants with less than 0.3 percent THC — the cannabinoid in marijuana that can produce psychoactive effects.
Winn and Arendt are quick to emphasize that none of Wander’s products will make you high. Right now, the store only offers an oil and a balm, and both are made with a CBD isolate sourced from Mile High Labs in Colorado. Unlike full-spectrum CBD products, which contain small amounts of other cannabinoids, CBD isolate — just like it sounds — only contains CBD. For Winn, who’s skeptical that full-spectrum CBD has more potent health benefits, it’s a way to hone in on those reported benefits of the compound and maintain full control over what goes inside Wander’s products.
“Our thought is always, ‘What’s the most potent medicine we can offer someone?’” Winn said. “With isolate, I know it’s super pure and I can introduce other things into it.”
That philosophy is part of the reason I’m rooting for Wander. After all, if you’re going to try CBD, why not make it good CBD? Winn and Arendt — along with co-founder Chuck Banks, an Army veteran who moved to Frederick more than 20 years ago — are basing their brand on a small repertoire of products made with the highest-quality ingredients they can find, an effort made easier by the founders’ experience in the cannabis industry. Oh, and Winn’s background as a professional chef with restaurants including Woodberry Kitchen in Baltimore and Spruce in San Francisco.
“We noticed that it’s actually really hard to find oral CBD products that taste good,” Arendt said. “So, that’s a gap we definitely wanted to fill.”
Wander offers CBD oils in three different concentrations, all of which are intended to be taken orally. Winn blends the isolate with essential oils selected for their terpenes (aromatic compounds also found in cannabis plants), including lavender, grapefruit and lemon. The CBD is boosted with fractionated coconut oil, an ingredient that aids digestion and lengthens shelf life, plus cold-pressed sunflower oil from a third-generation farmer in Georgia.
You can also find CBD and lavender in the company’s topical balm, plus tea tree, eucalyptus, ginger and pink peppercorn — all known for their anti-inflammatory properties. Right now, those are the only two products that Wander is producing, but the founders have plans to add more over the next few months.
“We want to start making specific tinctures for pain and inflammation, stress and anxiety, and focus,” Winn said. “Plus indigestion, and a pet one, and another balm that’s going to have even stronger pain relief properties.”
The founders are putting a lot of stock in the still-fledgling research on CBD’s effectiveness for a whole host of conditions. But if you’ve already bought into the hype surrounding hemp, the company is a great place to source your products.