Quality is bottom line for Port CBD company

Although product is unregulated, scientist who owns CBD by Design uses only organic hemp
Ozaukee Press staff

In the unregulated realm of CBD products, a Port Washington CBD synthesizer is going above and beyond to ensure its products are healthy, safe and effective.

Mitchell Nothem, owner of CBD by Design, started his journey to create quality cannabidiol (CBD) products in 2015 after his wife convinced him to try CBD to relieve pain from back and knee injuries and lessen anxiety which caused difficulty sleeping.

“I was just anxious, in pain and couldn’t sleep, but CBD has helped me in all those aspects,” he said.

While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not condone the use of CBD for therapeutic or medical uses, it is sold throughout the country as an anti-inflammatory, a way to reduce stress, a way to manage post-traumatic stress disorder and a treatment for epilepsy or seizures. Some CBD products are even marketed for pets to manage anxiety caused by separation or car rides.

After researching the nonphycoactive product, which is derived from hemp, Nothem said he learned that hemp could contain pesticides or heavy metals from the soil it is grown in.

“Once it’s in the hemp product, it will be in your finished product. You can’t refine it out,” he said.

To ensure he was receiving the best product, Nothem said he began researching CBD companies to determine where they sourced their hemp.

Nothem holds a degree in geochemistry and has held positions making active pharmaceutical ingredients, semi conductors, beauty products and plastics, He has also worked in the bioengineering field.

“As a scientist, I went on a journey to find a company that was completely transparent and that I could completely trust. At that time, there wasn’t really anyone in the market that could tell me where they grow their hemp or give me soil results,” he said.

Unable to find anything that met his standards, Nothem said he decided to design and build his own pharmaceutical clean room for concentrating CBD oil. Although he’s still awaiting Current Good Manufacturing Practice and ISO 9001 certification, Nothem said his facility was constructed within the strict guidelines the accreditation calls for.

Because CBD is not regulated by the FDA, manufacturers are not required to adhere to specific production standards.

Nothem said while creating the high-quality clean room wasn’t necessary, it is what has to be done to ensure a quality result.

With a clean room in place and having read “pretty much every published article from the early 1900s to present” on CBD production, Nothem, who financed the project himself, said the next step was to find a quality hemp source.

He found a hemp farm in Maryland that has been organic for over 100 years.

“It’s grown by the same people in the same soil with the same strains every year,” he said.

In addition to only using organic materials in his CBD oil, Nothem said he also differs from many CBD makers in his extraction process.

Rather than using a butane extraction method, which leaves trace amounts of the gas in the final product, Nothem uses highly pressurized carbon dioxide.

Nothem said using carbon dioxide allows him to extract more canabanoids than other methods, making for a more effective final product.

He said he also focuses on creating small batches of CBD, rather than cranking out as much as possible.

It takes about nine days for Nothem to convert 15 pounds of hemp flower into about two cups of CBD oil.

CBD by Design officially opened in April 2020, following nearly three years of research and development. Nothem said while his upstart costs were high, the business has been successful and has experienced a 400% increase last year.

Nothem creates a variety of CBD products, from tinctures to gummies to CBD infused cheese curds and guacamole. Nothem’s products can be found at One Wag Pet Supply and Eclectic Avenue in Port. He said he also has products at stores in Hartford and sells white label products that other companies market as their own.

With many companies cutting corners on CBD manufacturing, Nothem said he hopes one day CBD does receive FDA approval, which would require best practices in extracting the oil.

“There’s a lot of really great companies. A lot are doing the same things I’m doing as well, but there’s a lot more that are not doing such a great job,” he said.

Until the product receives FDA approval, Nothem said he is doing all he can to assure people his product is safe. He welcomes people to tour his facility and sharing information about his products.

“Full transparency is what we’re going for. It’s not scary, it’s helpful, and here is all the science and everything we do to make sure we have a consistent product every single time,” he said.

He said there is often a perception that CBD will have a psychoactive effect or that it is an illegal drug, and that he is happy for opportunities to educate people about CBD’s legality and benefits.

Nothem said he hopes to host educational talks at his facility, which he plans to nearly double the space of by renting the adjacent space. With the new space he said he is considering building a commercial kitchen where he could ramp up his CBD gummy production.



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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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