Melanie Jean Bangoura is one of many Vermonters who utilize CBD and cannabis products for health and wellness reasons.
Today, she sells her homemade oils, salves and tinctures out of The Hair Loft in St. Albans, but starting this year her home-grown company Cannaflora and her CBD products can be found at the St. Albans Town and Fairfax Farmer's Markets too.
The St. Albans Messenger sat down with Bangoura to ask her how she got into the business of CBD products and why.
1. What brought you to the holistic health profession?
“I’ve done social work for non-profits and state governments my whole career, 25 years now,” Bangoura said. “And I grew to realize that we were just touching the surface of why people were coming to us: anxiety, depression and such. I just felt like there was more that we could do to help the underlying issues, so I started looking for a school that would teach me about healing and wellness...so I found Pyramid Wellness Center in Rutland.”
2. What types of holistic wellness training do you have?
“Massage, I’m a reiki master and teacher, yoga and meditation teacher training...I think calming the nervous system is probably the most important part. When your body is in a relaxed state, you body has the ability to naturally kick-in and heal. It’s designed to heal...my next challenge is hypnotherapy.”
3. Why did you find holistic wellness training to be your calling?
“I’ve been in situations where I nursed people back to health, and I know that the body has the inherent ability to heal. I wanted to find out what that was, how it happened.”
4. Why did you choose CBD as your medium?
“In massage school, you study herbs anyways,” Bangoura said. “And my son really suffered with attention deficit disorder, anxiety and depression. The school wanted him on a whole host of medications, but they just created a whole host of other issues...then he started self-medicating with cannabis, and I would ask him to do chores if I caught him. It turned out he was actually able to complete his chores, where he normally would not...and a neuropsychologist ended up recommending a medical cannabis card for him.”
5. How has CBD affected your life?
“I have interstitial cystitis, which causes inflammation in tissue between the organs,” Bangoura said. “Before, I was on tramadol to help with the pain. But I found that with CBD, I could take it and the pain would go away immediately and naturally without any negative side effects. But just because the pain goes away, doesn’t mean the root cause of your condition goes away -- I always encourage people to keep working closely with their doctors to make sure they stay healthy.”
6. Why did you choose to infuse oils with CBD for cooking?
“I realized that not everyone liked the natural flavor of CBD, so I started trying to make cooking oils that people could use with other flavors, and still get the benefits of CBD,” Bangoura said.
7. Why CBD right now?
“Actually, I planned on opening at the farmer’s market last year,” Bangoura said. “But then COVID hit, and I wasn’t able to. I have a whole room, and a big table dedicated to this craft. I’ve been selling my products privately to friends and customers for about two years now.”
8. How do you infuse CBD into your oils?
“You can soak them in warm oil for an hour, or up to five hours,” Bangoura said. “I’ve tried making CBD candies, but candies are so messy.”
9. What’s one of your favorite ways to use CBD?
“I love using the infused cooking oils on Brussels sprouts,” Bangoura said “It’s absolutely delicious, and you get all the natural benefits of the cannabis right in your food.”
10. Where do you get the CBD hemp to infuse into your products?
“Last year I grew some, and I work with a hemp farm nearby to get some locally,” Bangoura said. “But it is a lot of work both growing and infusing, and I don’t think I’ll grow it again this year.”