It was 1999 and I was in the 7th grade when I was first told that my birthday fell on a special "holiday". Discovering that my beloved birthday, a series of satisfying composite numbers, was also shared with National Weed Day aka 420, I had a lot of questions. The same series of questions that many adults still ask today - what is it, how do you use it, and will it make me high? Society, legalization, and legislation surrounding cannabis, as well as my own understanding of the plant, have changed drastically over the decades. Join me as I reminisce about my personal connection to CBD and how my curiosity transformed into lifelong enthusiasm and a small business.
In 2016, I stood in a line that stretched out the door and wrapped around the block at one of Seattle's first dispensaries. I don't remember what I bought, but I do remember thinking, "this business is printing money." The lines were long enough that we browsed a menu while waiting, but most of us in line still had so many questions. How do you infuse weed into a lotion? What's a dab, and how much is the tax!? I noticed poor branding, stereotypes, and confusing marketing and education, while not seeing much of myself reflected in these products. I didn't identify as a stoner girl; I was a career businesswoman with an entrepreneurial spirit. I was living in the first state to legalize recreational cannabis, a brand new industry that already needed a rebrand, and I saw a big opportunity. During this time, I transitioned into the cannabis industry with a focus in marketing and branding but I quickly realized it was time to do my own thing.
Uncle Ike's opening in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood in 2016, following the passing of i-502, which legalized recreational cannabis in Washington.
My interest in recreational cannabis eventually led to discovering how vast of a resource hemp and cannabis can be. The history is both fascinating and infuriating. The science is relatively new, although legalization has allowed a flood of new studies that have led to many promising discoveries. The 2018 Farm Bill authorized the production of hemp and removed hemp and hemp seeds from the list of Schedule 1 substances. This change in legislation did many things for both cannabis and hemp - the legalization of the parent plant, hemp, made cannabis much less restricted and more approachable for states that had not yet legalized cannabis for recreational use. Unlike cannabis, hemp would be an unregulated product and would not require a license to grow, cultivate, and process the plant.
From beauty to pain relief to clothing fibers and renewable building materials, hemp and cannabis have many uses. However, the prevalence of CBD (cannabidiol) going mainstream meant that consumers in every demographic were interested in the possibilities. Today, you can find CBD outside of dispensaries in legalized states. It's sold at local pharmacies and grocery stores, at farmers' markets, online, and in pet shops. It's can be used for pain relief, sleep and anxiety, and is a sought-after ingredient for skincare and body care formulations. At this time in my life, it was pretty typical to wake up with a throbbing migraine that would disrupt and take over my workday. On a whim, I decided to try a cream I had picked up at the dispensary, but my expectations were low. To my surprise, rubbing this cream on my entire face, neck, and chest really did help relieve the intensity of my migraine. Since then, I've embraced the pain-relieving possibilities of cannabis and hemp. Over the years, CBD has become my go to when I'm not feeling at my best.
Early prototypes of Mad Ritual Relief Rub
Mad Ritual launched with a single blend of what’s now called the Relief Rub in April of 2018 at the end of a 5k finish line in Tacoma, WA. Most runners had never heard of using CBD, let alone considered it a product they could use for training, performance, and recovery. These early conversations revolved around the legality of the product and the fact that it wouldn't get you high. Sampling has always been important for our product line, and showing up where people are coming off an activity that will leave them sore is a great time to have someone try a product that will relieve these symptoms on the spot. It all started with one blend that, admittedly, wasn't a perfect formula but worked, smelled good, and was fun to apply. Later, new scents including Lavender+Frankincense and Unscented were introduced. The product names, labels, and even the formula have gone through iterations, always with the goal of making the best CBD topicals on the market. 2020, of course, came and disrupted dreams, plans, and visions, but the benefit of being a small business is the ability to pivot when necessary and push forward. We introduced bath bombs during a time when people were home and desperate to feel better, seeking relief from the pandemic around us. We continued to perfect our formulas, operation and focused on becoming an e-commerce company.
Mad Ritual Co-owner, Amy Bragg Maddocks, featured in Marijuana Venture Magazine's 40 under 40 list in 2022.
Fast forward to today in 2024, and Mad Ritual has the same simple mission - to help sore people feel better, naturally! Mad Ritual means thriving in a world where the little things make the biggest impact and difference in our health and happiness. Rooted deeply in our core values keeps us focused- using simple organic ingredients that are vegan and cruelty-free, and blended together to address multiple symptoms of everyday pain and provide an alternative to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen. Our products are for anybody with a body, and we want to make sure as many people as possible can access and use Mad Ritual products. Being sore sucks but Mad Ritual is here to help bodies feel better naturally so we can keep doing the things that make us happy.
Amy keeping up with sidework before the Seattle Marathon in 2023.