How a Woman’s Unique Background Gave Rise to a Powerful CBD Pain Management Product
Every day for 15 years, Stacy Cason treated patients suffering from various medical issues, many of whom dealt with chronic pain.
“They were hurting, and often, the end result of that was turning to opioids,” Stacy said.
As an anesthesiology nurse practitioner, Stacy witnessed firsthand the rise of the opioid pandemic in the United States. The U.S. makes up just 4.4% of the world’s population but consumes more than 80% of the world’s opioids.
And it was witnessing that crisis and the devastating impacts on patients and their families that ultimately led Stacy to found her company. It focuses on providing products that support pain management in a natural, organic way without the dangerous side effects of opioids and even common over-the-counter NSAIDs like ibuprofen.
“I saw firsthand what opioids did to people and the chronic pain that leads to depression and lost quality of life,” Stacy said.
In 2018, Stacy founded Planetarie, the world’s first-ever USDA-Certified Organic CBDa manufacturer and distributor. Planetarie produces soft gels, muscle rubs, infusions, drink additives, salves, and more that leverage CBDa, the raw acidic cannabinoid derived directly from the hemp plant in its purest form.
Teachers, family, and friends identified Stacy from the start as a gifted and talented child. She started working at an office at just 12 years old and quickly learned she had a natural business sense. But growing up in a rural part of northern Louisiana with patriarchal norms deeply embedded in the culture put a college-bound Stacy on one of the only two culturally accepted paths: nursing or teaching.
“I remember having a discussion with one of my teachers about how I should attend Harvard,” Stacy said. “But, I didn’t know that I could. I didn’t believe that I could. I didn’t see it as a viable option. It was a very small, close-minded area.”
Stacy opted for nursing school instead, working in an intensive care unit before eventually moving to Miami. She married a U.S. Air Force officer and obtained a master’s degree in anesthesia from Florida International University. Stacy moved to Denver in 2012 and, in 2013, started attending classes at the University of Denver (DU) to earn her MBA while continuing to work in health care.
She graduated from DU in 2015. During that time, the constant influx of patients struggling with pain and opioid addiction wore on her, and, in 2017, Stacy let her medical license expire.
“I was getting tired — tired of watching people in pain and not being able to help them in a productive way, in a way that wouldn’t result in other conditions or addiction,” she said.
Stacy went on to earn a degree in Real Estate Management from Harvard University in 2018, ultimately going into commercial real estate development.
Stacy purchased a ranch in May 2018 and started growing hemp in an effort to make it economically viable.
“That’s when I was introduced to the fast-growing hemp industry,” Stacy said. “Growing hemp helped me learn about cannabinoids and how they are a game-changer for people suffering from pain, people like the very patients I encountered all those years working in health care.”
Stacy tapped into her entrepreneurial spirit and, like any successful entrepreneur, quickly learned how to pivot her business’ focus based on difficulties in the industry. When processing her hemp became an issue, Stacy decided she’d just process it herself.
“I quickly learned that I wasn’t a fan of using ethanol to process hemp,” she said. “Hemp is such a pure plant. It deserves to be treated as such.”
With that in mind, Stacy spent the next year developing a water-extraction method that preserves the hemp in its raw, living state to extract the more potent, more effective form of CBD—CBDa. It was the first time it had been done in the CBD industry, and Stacy was excited to sell the CBDa concentrate to other CBD brands.
“But quality wasn’t their priority,” Stacy said. “They just wanted CBD. People weren’t driven by the purity of it. They were opportunistic.”
When one manufacturer tried to insult Stacy by telling her, “You have purist, altruistic standards in your process,” Stacy knew it was time to pivot again to bring her commitment to healing without harm directly to the consumer.
“We care about quality and transparency, and not a lot of people in this industry do,” she said. “That’s what led us to bring everything in-house.”
In May 2020, Stacy launched Planetarie’s first direct-to-consumer retail line. Planetarie manages the CBDa production from start to finish, from plant to packaged product. Planetarie creates the formulations and manufactures the products that go directly into customers’ hands.
The company’s grassroots sales efforts quickly attracted athletes like Olympic Cyclist & Team USA Cycling Coach Chris Carmichael who commented, “When we advise athletes about nutrition, we recommend minimally processed whole foods and Planetarie’s game-changing water-only extraction process.”
And through the company’s Kindness Program, which provides discounts to patients with medical needs, others have enjoyed the benefits. For example, Jesse, a teen with Autism Spectrum Disorder, noticed a drastic improvement in his symptoms after using Planetarie’s water-soluble drink additive.
“He himself demands it every morning,” Stacy said. “It’s made a huge impact in his life.”
It’s stories like Chris’ and Jesse’s that get Stacy out of bed to face what is often a 14-hour workday.
“Hope. Hope is what gets me up in the morning—hope that today will be a better day, and hope that we’re making a positive change in the world,” Stacy said.