CBD Brothers Compassion Programme
Visit our GoFundMe Page HERE
One of the core beliefs of our company is that people should not be charged to maintain a quality of life – fundamental stuff like education, housing, and healthcare are basic human rights and not something that should be used as a tool for excessive profit.
I’m not talking about family-run businesses like ours which has a small share in the well-being sector. For us, it is essential that we can make a profit because this allows us to grow and invest in our company and further our goals and fulfil our obligation to people, a goal which we all work very hard to achieve.
Back in the early days, before the industry blew up and was diluted with trendy drinks and multi-million-pound marketing budgets; before CBD was being sold in every health store and garage, myself and the team would be offering cannabis extract, flowers and oils to people in our community that were looking for an alternative to conventional treatment and those who had heard the rumours on the internet about its health benefits and wanted to see if the stories were true.
For me, my involvement in care, palliative and supporting people with life-changing conditions brought me into direct contact with those who needed cannabis but couldn’t access it, so I did what I could to make that access as smooth as I could.
I won’t bang on about the early days, enough has been documented about that…
One thing we have always been conscious of is the fact that generally, those who have children with disabilities or illness or are disabled themselves are not in the high tax bracket.
I know this because Katie and I have a daughter with Down’s syndrome, and when she was born, we struggled with caring for her whilst trying to work and paying bills. She had the usual issues associated with people with Down’s, frequent hospital visits and check-ups made a serious dent in family income. Naturally, we got to know other parents who were in similar situations, fortunately, Matilda is on the upper end of the scale, however, we have friends whose children’s needs are far greater than hers and sadly, the help provided by the state is minimal. Even the parents who have sturdier bank balances still struggle at times. The provisions and support provided by the government are disgustingly poor – however, I’ll park that rant for another day.
The reason I mention this is because we found ourselves in the fortunate but scary position of being able to offer a small amount of support and relief to many of these people.
We were approached by parents in dire situations, from those whose children had life-changing conditions to those whose children were given months to live because of a terminal diagnosis.
We became, completely unintentionally, the go-to people for support for those who wanted to use extracts as part of their wellbeing routine. This came with its own problems, putting aside the fact we were not medically trained, the very scary task of being in many cases, a lifeline for desperate parents who see us as a last resort was very real and left us with no choice but to dig deep.
We had to learn what was best, we had to ensure that what we were providing was clean and of the highest quality with consistent and standardised cannabinoid content and we had to ensure that no matter what, we were able to maintain a continuous supply for as long as it took.
Fortunately, we were in the position where we knew our supply was consistent and high quality.
A plan was drawn up to arrange testing, supply, support, and funding and we set to work.
Testing equipment was a no-brainer, without testing we were flying blind, it wasn’t good enough to use guesswork, we had to be on point, accurate to the very last molecule.
This meant equipment and qualified people to run it. We already had an in-house expert who we tasked to help source and set up the lab. HPLC machines. Stage one was complete.
We had a very good supply, we have never compromised on quality, third-party testing had shown that we were able to keep a standardised supply coming through and we were able to test individual products, but we also stumbled across something we could do that was just as helpful.
As the company reputation grew, we noticed a very worrying trend. We were being visited by people with terminal conditions, mums, dads, and sadly lots of children. We always explained we were not medically trained but, people wanted support and advice from people with experience, so what were we to do?
What was concerning was that when people came to visit us they would often bring their own version of oil with them, something they had bought from someone online in a Facebook group. 9/10 it was for extortionate amounts of money, with promises of miracle cures and wonder results. Sadly, I have lost count of the number of times myself or one of the team had had to break the news to someone that despite what you read, cannabis is NOT a one-stop cure for cancer, that the promises that had been made to these desperate parents in exchange for lots of money were lies told by unscrupulous scumbags who see fit to prey on people at their most vulnerable.
(Before anyone gets on their high horse about the wonders of RSO oil, stop, we have more experience of that you could ever imagine. It’s a nonsense argument based on very little science and a dangerous fairy tale that has done long-lasting harm to our movement and we haven’t the energy to argue with you!)
Also, the bigger issue was the oil itself, having our own testing facility we were able to run analysis on these oils and see exactly what was being sold. Again, the number of times we had to tell people that their precious oil they had bought for thousands of pounds was nothing more than olive oil was depressing. It was becoming an epidemic, as the popularity of cannabis oil rose, so did the scammers. We felt we had to do something to combat this.
Naturally, we found ourselves testing for other compassion teams, people who mixed their own oil and anyone who needed our support in being self-sufficient.
We offered this service free of charge to those that needed it – anything we could do to help make things safer.
After a while, we had built up a big group of people whom we were supporting, we had people from all walks of life, creeds, colours and religions who had a mixture of conditions and ailments, from epilepsy, cancer, MND, Autism and because of this we felt that it was important to make sure that these people all had a connection to one another so, we went about introducing people to each other. We even held annual parties at the farm (pre-COVID) for our compassion people so they could get together, chat, exchange notes and build their own network of support. We have helped judges, police officers, famous singers, authors and artists, film and TV personalities, notable business people and even royalty. We can safely say that we have supported all walks of life in all corners of the world, a huge achievement which we are extremely proud of.
However, it wasn’t all good news and parties, we have said sad goodbyes to many people; stood at countless funerals of men, women and children who we have helped. It’s a heartbreaking thing to watch a small coffin be carried past by a distraught family…
Sometimes it nearly broke us but most of the time it just made us more determined to do our bit.
Finally, costing – the crux of the issue and the point of this post.
I made the decision very early on that we could not charge people for the help we were providing. How could we, our fundamental belief was that healthcare should be free, we felt guilty enough charging for our oils?
Maybe this was in part driven by this guilt but mainly because we had seen too many people ripped off and spent too long listening to people in total desperation trying to work out how they were going to pay for ongoing treatment that would provide them with a better quality of life. There is no greater feeling than being able to tell someone that they didn’t have to worry about the cost, that we would take care of it. So for the last 12 years, we have run a secret (sort of) compassion programme that has given lots and lots of people access to our extracts with absolutely no charge. When I say lots I mean we have helped thousands over the years, one investigation we participated in describes us as one of the largest free providers of these products in the country, a title we are very proud of.
However, the past year the demand has increased and with that the increased workload that has been going on in the background. To secure the supply and our company’s future we have found ourselves in need of your support so here we are coming to you cap in hand. What we are asking for is help from all CBD Brothers customers plus the 52,000 followers on our Facebook page and other social media platforms to help us maintain this support. To do this as transparently as possible we have set up a GoFundMe campaign that you will be able to directly donate to, monitor and watch. We have set a target goal of £30,000 which is our yearly expenditure for compassion, we don’t expect to reach this goal but if you’re able to help with this by chipping in then please do.
On top of that in the next six months we will be opening up the books on a tier-based system for those people who need support. This is a big task for our little team so please bear with us, we will need to ensure that the systems, checks and processes are robust and secure.
As an extra bit of transparency and so you know your donations are being well spent, we will be running monthly spotlights on some of our long-term compassion members who are happy to share their stories with you. These snapshots into real beneficiaries’ lives show how your support for us goes much further than just allowing us to buy new equipment for the grows and labs, it makes a genuine impact on the lives of people of all ages and their extended families.
I hope you enjoyed this post, the link to the GoFundMe is below, no obligation, we will continue to do what we do regardless.
With love, Ben and team.
Visit our GoFundMe Page HERE