Healing Harbors: Natural, innovative approach to healthcare
Two years ago, Stacy Moore was working as a home healthcare provider, caring for a woman in Harpswell who had suffered a stroke. The woman had been told she’d never regain mobility on her right side.
The patient was using a body cream containing the hemp-cannabis derivative CBD. After a year and a half of caring for her, Moore said, one day the woman moved her right arm upward.
Before becoming a caregiver, Moore had been in the military, and CBD was unknown to her. After witnessing her patient’s improvement firsthand, she got curious. Then she got busy.
After taking a class with Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine, Moore started growing cannabis, producing her own formulations and using her creams on her patient. They proved even more effective than than what she’d been using.
Encouraged, Moore began digging deeper, and dabbling with CBD, or cannabidiol, one of over 60 chemical compounds in hemp and cannabis. Of those, CBD and THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) are the most recognized, but unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning it won’t produce the high that smoking or ingesting marijuana does. And CBD has significant medical benefits, without side effects, said Paul Clark, a Topsham caregiver who joined Moore after she started her business in Harpswell, Healing Harbors.
Clark joined her after seeing how much the products helped his patients.
Next Clark’s friend Ashley Lenz, originally from Georgia, joined the team.
Now the three innovative young entrepreneurs are a force behind a rapidly growing industry that is changing the way many are looking at healthcare, both physical and mental, for people and their pets.
The partners chose to use hemp, rather than cannabis, due to its higher levels of CBD and much lower levels of THC – less than .3 percent. They are collaborating with several friends who are organic hemp farmers in Maine.
Being touted as a non-addicting option to opioids, CBD is being used in the treatment of a long list of ailments, including pain, anxiety and depression; epileptic seizures; high blood pressure; burns and sunburns; seizures and convulsions in epileptic patients; inflammation and skin ailments; and cell growth in tumors and cancer cells.
According to Moore, Healing Harbors’ Pet Anxiety Tincture has been proven successful in relieving pain due to inflammation, and anxiety in dogs. Danelle Gardner of Topsham said in a phone interview that she’s been using Healing Harbors Pet Tincture for her 12-year-old dog, who had been diagnosed with anaplasmosis. “She could hardly walk. I started giving her six drops a day, and within five days she was a different dog! Going down the stairs became easier again, as did jumping in the back of my car. She has started doing many of the things she was doing years ago.”
Darrell Gudroe, part-owner of Pharmers Market in Boothbay, the new store that carries all of Healing Harbors’ products, said one skeptic tried the tincture on his 10-year old dog. “Now the dog was and is acting, in his words ‘more like a puppy than when he was a puppy.’"
Lenz has been using the CBD tincture to manage pain. Before starting on the CBD regimen, she always experienced painful menstrual cramps. “I’d be doubled over with pain. I was using the CBD tincture daily to help with stress and anxiety.” Now, along with being stress-free, she’s also free of menstrual cramps.
Moore, too, has experienced the benefits of CBD firsthand. After being a Coast Guard helicopter mechanic, stationed in Kodiak, Alaska, for six years, she was suffering from seasonal affective disorder and severe depression, and was taking antidepressants. “There were days when I didn’t think I could get out of bed. Now I use no antidepressants, but just three drops of the CBD tincture, and I get up and feel like ‘this day is awesome.’”
Clark hopes people who may be skeptical about hemp-based products will try them. “We want to educate people about the medicinal benefits of the plant, and break down the stereotype. You’re not going to get high, you don’t have to smoke anything, but you might find some relief. Everybody I’ve given a sample to has said it worked great for them. It’s very easy to get behind the energy of that type of feedback.”
“Our products are alternatives to help support people’s wellness goals,” Lenz said.
The partners are working with physicians and veterinarians, and reaching out to local foundations and universities that may want to partner with Healing Harbors for research and feedback. And they welcome feedback and advice from the public, good and bad.
“People are reaching out to us, wanting us to make more customized products,” Clark said. “We want to take care of our community, and we know our community will take care of us.”
The business has moved from Harpswell to Topsham, due to a need for more space. The products have become so coveted, it’s been impossible for the three to keep up with orders, but that will soon be remedied. “We finally found a local manufacturer, and we’re working on research and development with him now,” Moore said.
Moore is grateful to Darrell and Sarah Gudroe. “They’ve really helped us explode in the way we have, and you couldn’t find better people to work with. They are super passionate about educating people about CBD.”
The partners also referred to a company in Unity, East Coast CBDs. The owner, Dawson Julia, specializes in helping with opiate addiction and other pharmaceutical drug addictions, with the use of CBDs.
Dr. Uma Dhanabalan, MD, MPH, FAAFP, MRO is a mentor of sorts to Moore, Lenz and Clark. A highly respected family physician, “Dr. Uma” earned a degree in public health from the Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard University. She’s also a cannabis therapeutics specialist, and her greatest passion is educating people about cannabis and the endocannabinoid system.
“If we take the time to meet with someone and educate them about things they don’t know or don’t understand, then they become the teacher,” Moore said. “We may teach one and they’ll teach 10. That’s a quote from Dr. Uma. Education is key.”
The partners stressed that before using CBD products, it is important to consult with a physician, mainly to be aware of inter-drug reactions.