In life, the only constant is change. Philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus recorded the thought around 500 B.C., but his words ring true with particular clarity today, especially in the blossoming legal cannabis industry. Once vilified, the humble hemp plant is swiftly wedeling its way back to respectability. (George Washington grew hemp.)
A 2013 story by CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, titled Charlotte’s Web, explored its use as a traditional herbal medicine and introduced viewers to the Stanley brothers. They grew medical marijuana for cancer patients, before progressing into research on the potential health benefits of CBD and other cannabis compounds. Through them, middle America embraced the story of Charlotte Figi, a little girl with catastrophic Epilepsy who benefitted from the Stanley’s groundbreaking tinctures.
Less than a decade later, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are widely recognized in the treatment of neuropathic pain, muscle spasms, fibromyalgia, chemotherapy-induced nausea and more, and all but two of 50 states permit some medical applications.
The timeline matches Michael Reynolds’ involvement in the cannabis industry. He remembers watching that broadcast and thinking, “’Wow!’ It’s providing therapeutic effects. It seems like it could be safe and help people.” Intrigued about the plant and its healing effects, the native Marylander with a background in fitness and business sold half of his personal training company and headed to Colorado to learn about cannabis farming.
Love At First Sight
That’s where the magic started. There, “Farmer Mike” met Puerto Rican-born Ivelis Acevedo-Lopez. She was working for a separate cannabis operation but went to the same small-town church. Friendship quickly turned to romance as the pair realized how much they had in common, from their deep-seeded faith to a drive to help others through this burgeoning science.
“It was perfect that we met,” says Michael with a sigh. “We realized that we could be a great team.”
When Michael refocused solely on CBD and started Fuego Farms LLC in January 2018, he had Ivelis’ support as well as a strong network of friends and associates in the industry. “I switched over to CBD because I like the fact that people get the benefits from it but there is no psychoactive effect.”
Ivelis joined Fuego Farms as a partner soon after and they married in December 2019, applying her Master’s in Food Science to perfecting an array of products that taste good and get the job done. Now based in Frederick County, Maryland, Fuego Farms CBD is positioned as a family & American-owned CBD manufacturing and distribution business.
Consumers can access products online with free shipping or local delivery to select locations in the tri-state/DC area on orders over $50. There’s even a Free Fuego Club for those who want the latest news on products and exclusive discounts. The company’s Fire line of CBD products helps individuals mitigate common health issues, including stress-related ailments, with a variety of formats and flavors. There are oils, tinctures and infused body balms accented with notes of tangerine, cherry or lemon. Fuego Farms’ Terpene-Infused Iso-Dabs™ combines their award winning, 99.9% pure CBD isolate product with top-shelf, plant-derived terpenes in flavors like Wedding Cake, Sour Diesel, Grape Ape, strawberry, and cookies. Their tagline is “experience quality and taste the difference.”
Fuego Farms’ XS line is a direct extension of Michael’s fitness training background. It offers maximum strength products for maximum performance. He points to recent scientific research. “If somebody takes CBD immediately after working out, especially if it’s weight training activity, they can significantly recover faster. Faster recovery means faster results.”
Since the products are broad-spectrum or pure isolate, meaning they utilize cannabidiol with all the other compounds found in hemp, sans THC, consistent users won’t fail a general drug test for THC.
GMP Certified & Safe
It’s also important to note that Michael and Ivelis ensure that each small batch meets the highest industry standards, including Organic certified ingredients and CBD tested at the country’s most stringent third-party labs. Customers can even search Certificates of Analysis (COA’s) for a certain batch online, while partner Dr. Chintu Sharma of Arya Wellness Center in Silver Spring, MD, is on tap for medical input. One dollar from each product sold goes to fight the opioid epidemic through Fuego of Hope, particularly fitting since scientists now look to CBD use to support opioid addiction recovery.
Going forward, Fuego Farms is working on a new line of CBD-infused skin care products called Harmless Naturals that are easy on the skin and on the environment. Michael says they are open to expanding into processing and extraction down the road and have reached out to other local farms and related companies, but Maryland’s industry is still in its nascent stage.
Michael says collaboration is an important component of Fuego Farms’ commitment to growing an All-American company that adds quality jobs and supports other small businesses along the way. “That’s one of the things I love the most about (being a part of) FITCI. Everyone seems very welcoming and they come from all different professional backgrounds, but they’ve all made it to FITCI.” He says the attitude among members is inspiring. “Let’s collaborate and work together. Let’s help each other grow and succeed. That’s what life is all about. We are really happy to be part of the FITCI family right now.”
Looking back on his life-changing pivot from personal training to the leading edge of Maryland’s health-centered CBD industry, including a whirlwind romance, Michael says he’s happy with what they’ve been able to accomplish in a relatively short time and sees plenty of opportunity yet to come. “It’s been a wonderful adventure.”