Business

Glacier Grown Hemp

Kalispell resident Anne Sorensen turned her passion for raw and organic CBD oil into a business in 2019, launching Montana Pure Botanicals

By Maggie Dresser
Anne and Justin Sorensen, founders of Montana Pure Botanicals, an organic hemp oil company in Kalispell on March 30, 2021. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

A few years ago, Anne Sorensen started experiencing anxiety after her fourth son turned 2. She suspected her hormones and body were changing, resulting in this new ailment, but she couldn’t figure out exactly what was causing it. Her doctor couldn’t find the culprit either, and Sorensen took an alternative approach and saw a naturopath. Still nothing. 

“We’re super healthy,” Sorensen said. “We eat healthy and we exercise. We’re an active family, but I still couldn’t figure out where the physical anxiety was coming from.” 

Exhausting her options, Sorensen’s sister suggested trying cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, a substance found in hemp plants. Knowing nothing about CBD, she started extensively researching the chemical and learned it was gaining traction as a remedy for anxiety, chronic pain and insomnia. She came across studies conducted by Harvard Medical School and the National Institutes of Health, which showed promising findings for some conditions.

CBD wound up being the only solution for Sorensen. 

A maturing hemp plant nearing harvest at Montana Pure Botanicals in Kalispell on March 30, 2021. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

After researching CBD, Sorensen wanted a raw product because it had the most beneficial properties in it, but it was hard to find. 

Most products on the market are a CBD isolate, meaning all of the other compounds found in the plant are removed through a heating and distillation process that leaves residual chemical solvents and removes other important compounds. Distillation also reduces the CBD’s potency, which Sorensen says is the reason many people say they don’t feel its effects. 

“I couldn’t find the product I was looking for, so I said, ‘I think I can grow this myself and make it,'” Sorensen said. “I wanted a raw product and almost all CBD products that you’ll find on the market nationwide is a CBD isolate.”

Sorensen and her husband, Justin, soon started growing their own hemp, which became legal under the 2018 Farm Bill, and launched Montana Pure Botanicals. Since growing the plant legally is a new concept, Sorensen said there wasn’t much literature about the process, so she used marijuana growing how-to books instead. But she said it was tricky to make sure the THC level, the psychoactive chemical in marijuana, stayed below .3%, the legal limit. If the THC level exceeds that limit, the state of Montana considers it marijuana. 

Now on their fourth grow, Sorensen says they finally have their humidity levels, air temperature, light, soil and irrigation dialed in at their indoor grow operation after a series of trial and error. They also use a seed with a low THC level to ensure it stays below the legal limit. 

After 16 weeks, Sorensen harvests the plants and extracts the crude oil out of the flower, which has 480 different plant compounds in it, mixes it with a hemp oil and bottles it to sell. She doesn’t remove any of the other compounds, making it a full-spectrum oil. Because the oil still retains all of the other chemicals, the product tastes and smells like hemp.

“We hear all of the time that when people try isolates, it doesn’t do anything for them,” Sorensen said. “They’re either not getting enough, the potency is too low or they’re not getting what we call a full-spectrum crude oil, where you get what’s called an entourage effect.”

Montana Pure Botanicals’ CBD body balm, pictured at their Kalispell facility on March 30, 2021. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

That entourage effect is the result of those 480 compounds working together to create a more therapeutic effect, Sorensen says. 

Sorensen keeps her products simple, with the full-spectrum hemp oil mixed with organic cold-pressed hemp seed oil and equipped with a calibrated dropper to administer sublingually. It has the highest potency of CBD with 50 grams and is recommended for anxiety, pain relief and insomnia. 

With new studies emerging about the effectiveness of CBD reducing acne, Sorensen also makes a face oil with the same hemp base mixed with rose hip oil, witch hazel, eucalyptus and lavender.

Montana Pure Botanicals’ CBD face oil, pictured at their Kalispell facility on March 30, 2021. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Her third most popular product is a CBD balm, which also contains shea butter, beeswax from a farm in Havre and eucalyptus oil.

“They’re all really simple,” Sorensen said. 

With a background in finance, Sorensen was eager bring her passion project to the public. 

“It was kind of a personal journey and also believing so much in the hemp plant, I was so excited to start a business like this,” she said.

Sorensen originally planned for online sales only, but since the company’s presence has expanded on social media and through word of mouth, she decided to branch out and work with local businesses. Montana Pure Botanicals products are now sold in Sage & Cedar in both Kalispell and Whitefish. 

“It’s a really exciting time in this industry,” Sorensen said. 

For more information, visit www.montanapurebotanicals.com

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