Full access to Entrepreneur for $5
Subscribe

Cornbread Hemp's Full Spectrum CBD Took Over Kentucky — the Rest of America Is Next

Founded in Kentucky, Cornbread Hemp is paving the way for cannabis acceptance in one of only 14 states where medical marijuana remains illegal.

By
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Never underestimate the power of clean ingredients. That’s the mantra of Cornbread Hemp, a rapidly advancing CBD company based in the heart of Kentucky. Despite what its name suggests, Cornbread Hemp doesn’t sell cornbread. Its name derives from the infamous “Cornbread Mafia,” a network of cannabis grower outlaws that once reigned across the state. Under the “Cornbread” banner, Cornbread Hemp made its mark as the first brand from Kentucky to carry USDA certified organic CBD. Its founders also maintain that its products are made from full spectrum, Flower-Only hemp — no unnatural or unwarranted additives, artificial flavoring or otherwise, featured in the mix. 

Cornbread Hemp

The CBD at your local convenience store looks dubious for a reason. Whereas most CBD brands try to conceal the earthy taste of their CBD with synthetic ingredients, Cornbread Hemp extracts from the cannabis flower alone. In a newly released promotional video, CCO Jim Higdon likened the manufacturing process of its competitors’ oils to that of orange juice, comparing “garbage” CBD, in Higdon’s words, to orange juice made from an entire orange tree put through a woodchipper. 

“The first thing consumers notice about Flower-Only after using whole plant CBD is the taste,” Higdon told Green Entrepreneur in an interview. “Whole plant CBD tastes grassy and bitter and requires cover flavors like peppermint to disguise the bad taste. Flower-Only CBD, on the other hand, tastes floral and earthy like cannabis flowers should taste. And while there’s no scientific research looking at the difference between Flower-Only and whole plant, we have dozens of reviews from customers who found Cornbread Hemp after leaving other whole plant brands behind.”

Cornbread’s latest offering is its first-ever CBD gummy which, like the oils that preceded it, is USDA organic, flower-only, and even contains 0.3 percent THC, the maximum allowance nationwide, thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill. Still, legal as it might be, the decision to incorporate THC at all was entirely the company’s decision, one that its leadership firmly stands by. Higdon clarified that THC was included to meet consumer demand.

“At Cornbread Hemp, all our products are full spectrum, which means we include as much THC as allowed by federal law,” he said. “This is vital to us because it’s what our customers are looking for in a CBD product. Not all CBD customers are looking for the most THC allowed by law. Some CBD consumers are looking for zero THC. They are not our customers.”

One concern unique to the gummies, however, is whether they’re compatible with a vegan diet. Fortunately, Higdon said the company thought of that, too, unlike some of its biggest rivals.

“Most gummies contain gelatin, which is made from animal byproducts, usually pork. We decided to formulate our gummies using apple pectin instead of gelatin,” he explained. “This gives our gummies a slightly different consistency and gives our customers the peace of mind that our gummies are 100 percent plant-based.”

As for his goals for the future of Cornbread Hemp, Higdon seemed ambitious and optimistic. Having pioneered the full spectrum, Flower-Only, USDA organic CBD formula in response to the low-grade “whole plant” options that permeate the mainstream, he has good reason to be. Not only did his brand introduce the first USDA organic CBD products from Kentucky, but it was the first to sell a Flower-Only product as well. Now 10 entries deep into its catalog, Cornbread Hemp’s mission is to deliver the “best CBD products in America.” You could argue it’s already accomplished just that in Kentucky.

That’s no empty promise either. Higdon is committed to delivering high-quality products to lead by example. When bigger brands see an emerging player like Cornbread raking in more sales by mid-June of this year than it did in the entirety of 2020, their instinct won’t be to return to business as usual but to ask, How can we do that? 

“It’s worth the time and effort to develop products with the highest standards in mind — even if that’s not where the market is at the moment,” Higdon told Green Entrepreneur. “Once we educate consumers, the market will move in our direction because we have a superior product.”

When asked about the prospect of other companies replicating Cornbread Hemp’s success with their own flower-only, full spectrum gummies, Higdon said he’s not too worried. 

“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” he quipped.

You can buy Cornbread Hemp CBD directly from its website starting at $35 for a 15-ml CBD oil tincture. The CBD gummies, its latest release, retail at $40, though you can save 20 percent when you purchase a monthly subscription.