A Kansas City-based entrepreneur wants to prove how everyone — from athletes to individuals suffering from chronic health conditions — can benefit from CBD, he said.
Dan Huerter, CEO of Pure Spectrum CBD, helped launch the organic phytocannabinoid company in 2016 after learning how CBD had benefited patients suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and rare forms of epilepsy, he shared.
Pure Spectrum aims to highlight the importance of the endocannabinoid system, Huerter said, adding that CBD and more than 100 other cannabinoids work on the system that provides the body with homeostasis.
“When I learned about the concept of the endocannabinoid system … it clicked for me why CBD was helping so many different people in so many different ways,” Huerter said. “It wasn’t really CBD that was the key here; it was this system that we were born with, and that has just been neglected for decades. It felt like discovering a whole system, and the keys to the locks of that system.”
“This system governs every other system,” he added. “It acts as the conductor of the orchestra. If your brass section is playing out of tune, that might manifest itself into anxiety. Just getting everything working harmoniously together can solve so many problems for people, and CBD seems to have a large effect on that.”
CBD is to the endocannabinoid system as Vitamin C is to the immune system, Huerter said, noting that endocannabinoids are found in breast milk and result in the “runner’s high” felt after a workout.
Fittingly, Pure Spectrum has secured partnerships with professional athletes and sports organizations, including UFC fighters, the Crossfit Games, USA Triathlon, USA Weightlifting, and — most recently — the Kansas City Royals.
Every partnership connects to the company’s mission to show that CBD can be good for all bodies, even the healthiest ones, Huerter said.
“We’re really trying to tell the story that, ‘Even if you’re not struggling with one of these rare disorders or problems, we think CBD still can help you,’” he said. “What better way to tell that story than through some of the healthiest people. … This is for everyone. This isn’t just for people with rare conditions.”
Pure Spectrum’s initial foray into the world of athletic partnerships began with UFC fighters, according to Huerter, who noted that those relationships helped build the brand’s credibility.
“There were no third-party testing companies that would touch us at the time to prove that our products were safe and THC-free,” Huerter said. “Well, our proof was in the pudding. We had UFC fighters that were actively on fight cards, getting drug tested, and passing their tests.”
That credibility boost helped open the door to a partnership with the Crossfit Games in 2018, making Pure Spectrum the first cannabis company to partner with a major sports organization.
“Those athletes, their job is to operate at the highest level,” Huerter said. “They can help us tell that story: ‘I don’t have any condition. I’m just trying to optimize myself. I’m trying to get my body recovering as quickly as possible so that I can work out as hard as possible and bring myself to the highest level.’ That was where it started from — a want to tell that story.”
By 2020, Pure Spectrum had established the first partnership between a cannabis company and an Olympic governing body, joining forces with USA Triathlon before adding a partnership with USA Weightlifting a year later.
Earlier this year, when MLB began to allow its organizations to partner with CBD companies, Huerter said, he fielded inquiries from 10 to 15 teams within days.
Initially, Huerter took the meetings more out of curiosity than serious intent to establish another partnership, he said.
“I was like, ‘What are teams going to be looking for in a partner?’” he said. “I was just curious about that, so I started taking calls with all of them just to learn and hopefully be a resource to them so that if it didn’t work out with us, then they would at least choose a quality company.”
Though Huerter said he didn’t allow his hometown roots to affect his decision, the Royals stood out among other organizations, he added, impressing him in a follow-up meeting by recalling almost word-for-word his comments from a previous conversation.
“The fact that they listened that intently to almost directly quote me was like, ‘Wow, they’re taking it seriously,’” Huerter said. “‘This really means something to them. They’re really interested in natural wellness, as well as the holistic picture of wellness.’”
‘It’s already in nature’
In addition to securing partnerships and selling its line of topicals, edibles, and tinctures — for both people and pets — much of the Pure Spectrum’s focus is on education, Huerter said.
“I still have a lot of work to do when it comes to educating and helping people understand that CBD is not just some component of marijuana or ‘diet weed,’” he said. It’s really a supplement we can use because our body creates our own endocannabinoids that work on this system.”
Because research on the endocannabinoid system has been so limited, Huerter admitted, even the experts are still learning what possibilities could exist.
“There’s just so much more to learn and so many different ways to go with it,” he said. “I’m really encouraged and passionate to see how much of Big Pharma could be replaced with nature.”
Huerter described a personal “disdain” for the pharmaceutical industry, rooted in his own personal experiences.
At the age of 9, Huerter was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, which exacerbated into Crohn’s disease within a year, he recalled. By age 14, Huerter was taking more than 20 pills each day and getting weekly blood draws at Children’s Mercy.
However, after he began to take CBD, Huerter was able to manage his Crohn’s disease and now has not taken any prescription or over-the-counter medications in nearly a decade, he shared.
“I don’t even touch ibuprofen or Tylenol because I have that big of a disdain for it, and a theory that everything was already here for us — it’s already in nature,” Huerter said.
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‘I can’t get lazy — I can’t fall back’
Moving forward, Huerter hopes that Pure Spectrum’s line of CBD products will help improve the lives of others, just as CBD has done for him.
“Being able to manipulate that [endocannabinoid] system to provide a better life for people is just so intriguing to me,” Huerter said.
Knowing that additional research could yield new ways that cannabinoids can benefit people’s health excites Huerter even more, he added.
“This will continue to evolve,” he said. “This will continue to grow. There will always be ‘new-ness.’ We’ll continue to be able to be better and better based on what we’re figuring out. … I can dedicate my life to making people feel better naturally.”
Though he expects Pure Spectrum to remain focused on cannabinoid products “for the foreseeable future,” Huerter said he could envision the company evolving into a globally recognized natural wellness brand extending beyond hemp-based products.
Huerter also wants to continue pursuing more partnerships with sports organizations to enhance the credibility of both Pure Spectrum and the entire CBD industry, he added.
“To do a deal with an MLB team, that added a lot of credibility to us, but I don’t want to stop there; I want to keep going,” Huerter said, adding that he would like to see the NFL explore whether CBD and other cannabinoids could help reduce the effects of CTE and other degenerative brain injuries.
Ultimately, each time Huerter sees the positive impact CBD can have on someone’s life, he feels motivated to continue looking for new solutions.
“When you see the impact — when you can change someone’s life for the better that drastically — that makes it exciting to wake up every day,” Huerter said. “The more I can educate, the more I can get this message out there, I might come across more people whose lives are completely changed.”
“They can have a whole new outlook on life because of what I did, so it almost feels like a duty,” Huerter continued. “I can’t get lazy; I can’t fall back. I have a job to do, and that job is helping people feel better.”