Side Hustle: Her Inner Chemist: Cammy Staker’s CBD Cream Takes the Edge Off Pain Management
Having started her career as an operating room nurse, Cammy Staker is familiar with helping patients with pain management. When she read about a drug treatment program that utilized cannabis to help wean patients off of heroin, that got her gears turning. After jumping some legal hurdles, her side hustle was born: Wasatch CBD Butter, a cannabidiol-based salve for pain relief that she formulated herself.
At the time of her light bulb moment, she lived in Utah, one of the hotspots of the opioid epidemic. She wondered how a service like that would work—and if it were even possible to create given her location at the time.
“A lot of people are looking for something that will help decrease or manage pain,” says Staker, who just moved to Bend, OR from California for a new job as an OR manager. “It wasn’t an easy thing to do, especially starting out in Utah because at the time cannabis was completely illegal.”
Staker immersed herself in research, getting a certification through the American Cannabis Nursing Association. Then she got to work contributing to the collective efforts to legalize cannabis in Utah, working with a group to help create a bill. Legalization never happened, but it did get the green light for medical use, which meant it was no longer considered a Schedule 1 drug (a substance or chemical with no currently accepted medical use and has a high potential for abuse). Hemp was still illegal to grow, but the CBD could be utilized as long as it contained 0.03% or less of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
This is when Staker tapped into her inner chemist and put all the research she did into use. Can she instead create a topical product for pain relief? CBD is a powerful pain reliever, but other cannabinoids need to be part of the formula, too. After some experimentation, she found a plant that is the closest thing to cannabis without being cannabis—brewing hops. Both plants are closely related, belonging to the Cannabinaceae family (a discovery made by scientists in 2012).
“I isolated the hops and that has a powerful muscle relaxant in it. When you drink beer, most people will get really tired,” says Staker. “I tinctured that, added it to the recipe, and did a lot of research on heavy carrier oils. That pushes the CBD and hops into your system, muscles, and joint spaces.”
Before she could sell it, she had to register the product in Utah so it could be tested to make sure the product worked for the intended purpose and contained less than 0.03% of THC.
“A lot of people volunteered to use the cream. Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients, people with arthritis, and people post-surgery (obviously not on fresh wounds, you never want to do that),” says Staker. “The conclusion was that it works well for arthritis, muscle pain, bunions, and that burning sensation that some diabetics get. But not so well on MS patients.”
Staker isn’t sure why that is. Pain from MS is extremely deep nerve pain. Plus, the actin and myosin muscles (they work together for muscle contraction) don’t work as well they should for those with MS. But one of her customers with MS kept using it and after about 4 weeks, it made a difference. Her hypothesis is that MS patients might not have the pain receptors to help with the pain, but over time it began to help.
It takes Staker about 4-5 hours to make a batch of 30 jars (30 oz.) every two weeks. When she moved to California, she continued the business and plans to revive it here in Oregon. Her clientele averages around 30-50 people.
“I’m not in this for a huge profit, I do it mainly to help people,” says Staker. “I always recommend people try different CDB products to see how well it works for them. For my salve, 60% of the time, people are telling me it works better for them.”