It's Extracts, Edibles and Concentrates month here at The Green Fund, which means we'll be taking a closer look at the different ways in which cannabis can be concentrated and consumed.
To kick off the month we spoke with Matt Miller, a Californian professional skateboarder who recently began a CBD-extract company named 'MillerHealer.'
As we've talked about previously, the compound Cannabidiol (CBD) is fast becoming a key player across a wide range of industries, the least of which are wellness and athletics. In fact, the compound is so popular that Forbes estimates the market for CBD-infused products will reach $22 billion by 2022.
Alongside it's relaxing and anti-anxiety effects, CBD is best known for it's ability to relieve inflammation and muscle soreness.
There are very few sports which don't lead to inflammation and muscle soreness, and skateboarding is definitely no exception. Each year it's estimated that nearly 65,000 people find themselves in the emergency room of a hospital due to a skateboarding accident.
While CBD isn't exactly going to mend a broken leg, it will definitely help with more minor injuries, such as an overworked body or muscle fatigue. This is where Miller Healer comes in.
Miller Healer was started by professional skateboarder Matt Miller in 2018, and now stocks CBD salves, patches, tinctures and gummies. It was because of the intense physical nature of skateboarding that forced Miller to look for a source of relief.
On The Grind: Matt's Skating Career
Matt Miller began skateboarding at the age of 13, and within just two years he started receiving sponsorships from local companies. Twelve years later at the age of 25, Matt achieved every skateboarders dream: Going professional.
Miller rode for the skateboarding brand Expedition, alongside the notable DC shoes as his shoe sponsor, who turned him professional in 2010. Following on from that moment, Miller was able to design his own shoes, boards and clothing under the brands he rode for.
As ideal as all that sounds however, the world of skateboarding isn't always glamorous.
While professional skateboarders get to travel the world and do what they love for a living, this comes with the responsibility of filming video parts, doing autograph signings and skating at public events for their fans. The constant physical stress of skating can place a toll on the body of professional skaters like Matt, though they don't always get the luxury of time off.
"We wanted an extra strength brand that is truly effective, and that's what we did. Once I tried it, I thought, this is it. This is what we need."
– Matt Miller, Professional Skateboarder and Founder of Miller Healer
"When you skate for a living, sometimes you have these eight hour battles trying to land one trick, which can be so exhausting that you're unable to skate the next day. And that's when I realized that I am getting older."
"I'm 34 now and at this age you really feel it. I used to be able to just wake up and skate all day and now I can't do that. Sometimes I'm so sore I can hardly move for two days after a skate session. That's when I realized that I've got to do something," Miller said.
By an act of random chance, Miller had a friend who turned him onto CBD after witnessing his struggles in skateboarding.
"My longtime family friend reached out because they saw a video of me falling over and asked, 'what are you doing for pain? You're getting older you know.' I told her I was having ice baths. She then introduced me to a range of CBD products."
"I noticed that there was a difference, but not as much as I would like. And that's when we came up with Miller Healer."
CBD: Can it Be Done?
Miller was a self-described "late bloomer" when it came to skateboarding. The Californian didn't become professional until age 25, which is relatively late compared to most, who turn pro around the age of 18-19. This lateness led to entrepreneurial thoughts early on in Miller's career.
"I almost started multiple companies actually. I almost started a board company, almost started a hat company, an accessory company, all these things that I had opportunities for but which ended up falling through. And I've been doing that since before I even turned pro," Miller said.
This is unsurprising, as the entrepreneurial skateboarder is no new phenomenon. Due to the physical requirements of skateboarding, professional skaters often have to consider alternative ways to generate income as they get older. Though Miller mentions that his desire to remain authentic is what led him to CBD.
"I didn't want to start something just to start something, you know? I wanted it to have meaning, I wanted to be able to have just as much passion as I do for skating for the business," he said.
"I wanted to help people, I didn't want it to be bad for the planet. So when Miller Healer came about, even though it was a little later in my career, it was just perfect."
Miller Healer stocks a range of extra strength CBD products that can be consumed in different ways for differing functions.
"At Miller Healer we have sublingual tinctures, which is an oil you drop under the tongue that gets in through the bloodstream. We then have topicals, which are extra-strength creams and patches that you can use to isolate certain areas," Miller said.
"Say you have a sore shoulder, or any part of your body, you rub the topical CBD on it and within ten minutes, there's a substantial decrease in pain. Lastly, we also have some edibles for anxiety and insomnia."
Another big concern for Miller is the positive effect that CBD can have on users mental wellbeing.
For skateboarders, landing a trick can be as much a mental battle as it is physical. When jumping down a large set of stairs or trying to grind a handrail, anxiety levels can be high.
This is something Matt Miller considered deeply when creating his product range.
"I have anxiety. Everybody has anxiety. Everyone has moments of anxiety. So when it comes to our gummies, some people will try them with no knowledge about CBD or cannabis whatsoever, and often come back and say that they can't even believe how it makes them feel," he said.
"It doesn't get you high at all, it just calms you down. It's a really unique feeling."
When asked about his personal favourite method of ingestion, Miller said that different occasions warrant different forms of CBD ingestion.
"I use the tincture and the salve stick which is 1,000 mg and take those with me everywhere."
"Though when I'm skating, patches can be really helpful because they last for eight hours. So if I have lower back pain and I have to go skate all day, I put one on and that back pain goes away."
The Future of CBD and Miller Healer
Miller's skateboarding career spans nearly two decades, which has cemented his place in the skateboarding community. This popularity helped get Miller Healer up and running, as the professional skateboarder received help from his high-profile friends to push his new company.
"When I first started, I gave our products to a ridiculous amount of professional skaters. A lot of them went on to post it on their social medias which put us in the spotlight to a lot of people."
"Now, some really well-known individuals are mentioning us, or have heard of Miller Healer, which is pretty exciting," Miller said.
Now, thanks to the success of Miller Healer, you can find the professional skateboarder on television shows and at educational events, informing people about the benefits both physically and mentally that come with CBD. The educational side of his company is something Miller states he also wants to grow in the future.
"We're just going to be trying to educate as many people as possible. We're doing all kinds of events, expos, we're just going to be doing popups and all kinds of things to pull people in, teach them about CBD and help break the stigma."
While skateboarders often go on to create products or work outside the realm of skateboarding as they get older, Matt Miller is the first to enter the cannabis space. And with skateboarding's recent entrance into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, perhaps in future more skaters like Matt will be dropping CBD oil under their tongues before they step onto the board.